My elementary art students have begun a major project that will become their Mothers Day gift. They are learning the art concepts of line, pattern, texture, density, emphasis, rhythm, repetition, contrast, and variation through an embroidery project. I have only my sample to display, but the students are creating knock-em-dead pictures. We painted with plain old watercolors on muslin after tracing our drawings with fine-point pastel Sharpie pens. They are just beginning their stitching under the guidance of their classroom teacher. Since the project is a gift for their mothers, the boys are as gung-ho as the girls. The children find stitching a nice way to start or end a school day. I do, too!
Chain stitch, blanket stitch, Lazy Daisy, French knots. The big lure of embroidery when I was their age was the delicious names for the stitches. There was something mildly Parisian and risque in being able to stitch French knots. I related it to the rare event of having a babysitter when my parents went to see "Irma LaDuce" at the movie theater.
In Mrs. Alschwede's third grade room our "library corner" was devoted to the Childhood of Famous Americans book series. I read oh so many biographies of Quaker children saying "thee" and "thou", wearing gray, rolling hoops, and embroidering samplers. We recorded our wholesome literary endeavors IN CURSIVE on big index cards in blue ink. This was such a feat that I saved the index cards for nearly forty years. I remember so clearly Mrs. Alschwede's big nose and the fact that she commuted from Valparaiso, Nebraska to teach us beginning multiplication, and to read aloud about Howard Carter's discovery of King Tut's tomb on the day Kennedy was assassinated.
Third-graders rode a school bus to the Bennett Martin Public Library downtown for a field trip. The library was very new. The librarian helped us get library cards, and showed us where to find more wholesome juvenile biographies to check out. I know I chose Abigail Adams and "Jane Addams of Hull House". We tried to write our names in painful pencil cursive on the skinny lines of the book card. The librarian stamped the due date. Ca-chinga went the stamp. Ooh. I can smell the purple ink.
© 2007 Nancy L. Ruder