Monday, March 5, 2018

Pieces of Peace

Do you remember that song?  When I was a young girl, my mom would play that song on the piano while my sister and I would run about.  The lyrics and notes became part of our background and part of our subconscious.  I don't think I realized how much that song impacted me until recently.

A month or so ago, Rio's teacher asked me to help her school family, The Dolphins, out with a project.  Each family consists of about 13 kids from all grade levels.  They meet several times a week to learn life skills, to create community, and to celebrate each other.  I love this aspect of her school, and she does too.  So, back to the project.  Every year, each family creates an art project for their annual auction fundraiser.  Her teacher knew that I dabbled in fabric, so she asked if I'd be interested in helping out.

I sat on it for a while, trying to figure out what would be fun for the kids, simple enough for ages 4 - 12 to work on, would be desirable for the auction, and would be meaningful for their family.  Finally, I thought that a fabric mosaic would be perfect.  The next step was to figure out what image we wanted to create.  We toyed with a dolphin (their family mascot), a hand giving the peace sign, rainbows, the list goes on.  We landed on the traditional peace sign and the kids chose blue/turquoise for the actual sign and rose gold/pink for the background. 

I had a large amount of extra firm interfacing that I thought would be perfect for the project, so one evening Brent and I set out to create the image.  Brent is incredibly helpful in projects like this and I love when we collaborate creatively together.  We hit a few speed bumps in the process when it came to our markings, so we ended up cutting out the sign and placing it atop a full, uncut piece of interfacing.  I LOVE the 3-D effect that 'oops' gave us. 
I pulled out a good handful of fabrics close to their selected colors and cut out rectangles for them to use; smaller ones for the peace sign and larger ones for the background.  After getting some opinions from my quilt guild, we went with a glue stick to let the kids adhere the pieces to the interfacing.  It took them about three short sessions to get it all covered. 
Once I got my hands back on it, I slowly quilted each piece separately, making sure the fabric pieces weren't folding as I stitched over them. 
Next, I added bias tape to the edges of the peace sign.  When I started, I foolishly thought that I'd apply it just as I do a quilt, but once I hit the inside parts, I just couldn't get the binding to fold correctly, so I scrapped that method and simply zig-zag stitched the binding down as close to the edge as I could.  Then I went back over the other edges and zig-zagged so all of the bindings matched.  I am still determined to figure out how to do binding in the manner someday, though!  Finally, it was time to attach the peace sign to the background.  Since I left the 'sticky' side of the interfacing on the BACK of each piece, I first just ironed the backing fabric (more on that in a minute) onto the background piece and then I ironed the peace sign onto the front of the background.  Make sense?  Then I slowly stitched around the edge of the peace sign to secure it down completely, showing a faint outline of the peace sign on the back of the hanging.  The last step was to attach the binding to the background, which I DID do like I do a quilt, adding three loops so the piece can be easily hung up. 
Since their family mascot is the dolphin, we wanted to have the backing fabric with a dolphin on it!  Finding that fabric though, was NOT easy.  I looked through hundreds of novelty fabrics and this was the only aquatic fabric that I could find that had dolphins on it!  I love it though because it represents how peacefully they live together with everyone else, just as we should strive to do. 
The timing of this project comes when our country is in the middle of a heated conversation about the safety of our children in their schools and the accessibility of weaponry that we have.  As a parent of a school-aged child and as an educator, I have very strong opinions about this topic.  My answer is in within the project.  More peace.  More togetherness.  More community.  More projects.  Guess what I think there should be less of.  This project reminded me that we need to listen to our kids more.  They will guide us if we will open ourselves up to it. 
So I return to the song, which continues to play in my head, and I recommit to its message:  Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.  And you.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...