Felt Creatures Sewing Workshop
Close your eyes and imagine....It's nearly 12:30pm and class started at 11am. I am all set up at Sol Collective on 24 St near Broadway in Sacramento. There are five tables set up in the shape of a Cyclops smiley face. The fabric is laid out neatly at first, but we all know that isn't going to last long. This is an important step in the creative process, a lesson in fabrication and color theory. Spin around and pre-made patterns, inspired by the '90s cartoon Aww! Real Monsters, are available to provide a starting off point for the young artists. Pattern paper is also available for the adventurous ones to draft their own creations. Chalking and cutting station is next; age-appropriate scissors are available sprinkled with fabric chalk pieces just big enough to fit their little hands. Then comes the most time consuming and arguably most fun station, the station for decorating and hand-sewing materials together. We are all set up, let's go!
First, a young girl walks through the door. She is shy at first but is intrigued by the piles of stuffing, roles of fabric and variety of buttons strewn about. More are arriving, three more kids show up. Before you know it, they are instantly elbows deep in creation-cutting strips of fabric, threading needles and hot glueing eyes on. More kids trickle in and before you know it, the workshop is in full swing and at capacity! With fabric flying and scissors being passed back and forth, chaos swirls around the work space sprinkled with laughter and personified stories of wild characters.
To my surprise, all of the kids are patient with us adults. Sharing and cooperation are in practice. Aside from some minor frustrations, of needles running out of thread or uneven pattern cutting, everyone is energetic and deep in the creative process. Two young artists stand out from the crowd, a set of twins - brother and sister. It is astonishing to witness such extreme learning styles and creative approaches. Olivia, the sister, is quiet and focused. She's fast and listens very well. She wants to compliment her Breakfast at Tiffany's inspired room, and chooses a cream textured fabric and sticks to a modestly-sized, traditional, rectangular-shape pillow. She sews quickly and forgoes any embellishments. Her brother, Oliver, on the other hand...He picks up the raw pattern paper and begins sketching his own creature. Before long, a dinosaur bunny pattern emerges. His imagination is running wild with excitement and possibility. He races from one table to the next, unaware and unconcerned with anyone in his path. His mother reins him in and keeps him focused. Two hours later, his masterpiece- a dinosaur bunny with a cape, sewn on buttoned shirt and mismatching eyes is alive.
All hands are on deck, every adult in the house is diving in and facilitating. Music is blaring. Photos are being snapped. Videos being filmed. Social posts going live. Needless to say, this is quite the adventure on a Saturday afternoon. I aim to inspire the next generation in my craft. And am so happy to see young and old(er) coming together to create. Stay tuned for much more to come from collabs with Sol Collective and my youth engagement efforts.
In case you don't know, Sol Collective’s vision is to create a safe, creative space for the next generation and leave a legacy of arts, culture, and activism both locally and globally by serving as an incubator for community artists, organizations, and programs. Check out their variety of workshops all year long - Solcollective.org