P is for Pay it Forward exchange

Jude over at Spirit Cloth was inspired by Heather who was inspired by…………and so on, to send a little something handmade in the spirit of “making” , something which many of us share.

I’m going to participate but in a slightly different way………

There are so many other things to make note of here I’m not sure where to begin. I’ll try to stay focused but you may need to indulge me in a bit of rambling.


Did I mention that Mondays in the 4th grade room have begun? We’re practicing drawing for the month of October which really means we are learning to see. It seems that we always have to spend more time than I would like overcoming the widespread misconception that some of them are “good” at art and some of them are not. We talk a lot about how we all see things differently and therefore we all re-create that image differently in our work. So many kids will come up to you in a class like this and ask “is this good?”. I am getting better at answering this question and it usually involves asking them back a question such as “what do you like about it”, or making a statement like ” I see you figured out how to ……… in this piece”.
Last Monday I brought in 3 white objects, a white rectangular box, a full roll of white paper towels, and a tall cone made of white construction paper. We hung black paper behind it and arranged the 3 objects in a still life on a table draped with black fabric. I brought in a clamp on light to add some dramatic directional light, pulled the shades and turned off the lights.

Each student was given 2 large sheets of manila drawing paper (the school was “out” of white drawing paper!) and a thick black crayon. A large sheet of paper hung off to the side with 3 words written on it: perspective, contour, shading. We talked about these 3 words, their meaning and how we were going to apply them to our work. Penny & myself roamed the room working with students and helping them see as they practiced transferring the image they saw on the table to their paper in front of them. Among other things, we asked them to look for:
-the point closest to them
-the point most distant
-the darkest area
-the lightest area
-the largest object
-the smallest object
-the spaces between objects
-the directions which lines moved

About halfway through, we had them trade places with someone else to “discover” a new perspective and create a new drawing. During this melee, the light was knocked over and the light bulb broke which led to turning on the lights and an opportunity to draw the objects with just the overhead lights on.

One of the most interesting things they discovered was that even though no one in the room could actually see both ends of the roll of paper towels, most all of the students started out their drawings as if they could. We talked about how our brain can sometimes trick our visual system into “seeing” things based on past experiences with an object. We all KNOW the paper towel roll has a hole on both ends so we are relying on that knowledge instead of what we are actually observing .

So here is my invitation:

“I will send a little handmade gift to everyone who goes out and teaches some kind of art or craft to children (other than your own). You can take up to 6 months to complete this task. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return (in addition to paying it forward by teaching a child) is to leave me a comment on this blog about your experience or a link to a post on your blog about the experience.” For some, this may seem daunting, but it’s really not. It doesn’t have to be a class of 32 for an hour on a Monday. That’s just the way I do it. You figure out what works for you in your environment.

Trust me, you won’t be sorry. You may even find it hard to quit!

Won’t go into detail now but the final stages of show preparation are in full swing. Packing the car next Wed., leaving for Houston on Friday. Started an Etsy shop for shibori images (it’s working but needs tweaking and the rest of the images need to be uploaded-not sure when that will happen!) An online class at Joggles starts Nov. 14th when I get back from Houston.
I’ll be missing two upcoming Mondays as well as the homecoming game………part of the business of craft.

14 thoughts on “P is for Pay it Forward exchange

  1. juanita sim

    Hi Glennis. Your invitation is very timely. Last Friday I was talking to my daughter’s teacher about quilting and he asked me if I would come into the school and make a quilt with his students. There are eleven kids, ages six to eight in his classroom and we agreed that I’d come in every other Monday morning to work on it. I think I’ll get each student to create several hand-made fabric squares using one surface design method for each square, such as batik, stamping or shibori. Each square might take several mornings to finish since I’ll want to leave ample time for designing, prepping, dyeing and over-dyeing each piece. When there are enough squares completed to make a small quilt top the students can decide how they want to put them all together. For the moment, that’s my plan. Does this project sound overly ambitious to you? I’ll post about it on my blog once I get started.


  2. jude

    i have inquired about teaching hand stitching to a local art club in a nearby school, it hasn’t been approved yet, i am hoping….. great approach to the challenge, this is real giving!


  3. shiborigirl Post author

    yay!!!!!! more teaching artists!
    juanita- eleven kids sound manageable. they are a bit young. i did this in a class of 24 second graders some time ago. we did a four patch where i provided an array of fabric squares and they chose fabrics, stitched them together and we backed and tied the mini quilts. i think I did the bindings for them….
    sewing was a definite challenge…lots of help needed for threading needles. they will love making the fabric! ambitious is good! you’ll figure out the rest- can’t wait to hear more!
    jude-if they don’t “approve” you, have them give me a call! they don’t know how lucky they are about to become!!


  4. Emily

    I am in. I love to teach crafts. I have taught many a child/teen/young adult how to knit, crochet, embroider, quilt, etc. They haven’t just been my own children (2 and 7). I would be pleased to teach more and pledge to do so! What a terriffic slant to the pay it back. I love the creative vibes and good intentions here. Thank you for your kind offer of a handmade gift. I have been virtually in awe of your work since I checked out your site via Jude’s great site.
    If you could use some silk kimono linings for your work I would happily send you some. Your kindness is inspiring!


  5. tik-tiki

    Although I am not a professional art teacher, I am going to start trying to teach drawing from next week at a school for very marginalized children. Your “ramblings” are just the ticket for me! I will post something here or on my blog. Thanks again.


  6. shiborigirl Post author

    wow! one day and now there are twice as many who are joining the pay it forward exchange! please forward me your addresses so I can add you to my list! (glennisd(at)mac.com
    Houston calls- back to packing the car!
    It will be good to get out of the ash blanketing all of southern California!


  7. Anna Moore

    I will be teaching silk painting to class of 8 at Fourth Street School in Arlington, TX. I have been teaching my 2 kids and offered to tech my sons’ class how to silk paint for art’s sake. I have enough small frames and 11″ silk hankies, egg carton palettes and seta silk for them to use. This is a school for mostly ADD/ADHD kids who are being taught to mainstream and I hope this will help build confidence, self-esteem and a love of art.
    It will be fun.


  8. shiborigirl Post author

    Anna- that sounds like great fun and also very challenging! Can’t wait to hear how it all turns out! My experience with kids and art over the past 10 years in public school is is that all kids benefit greatly from learning art concepts and using their brains in a different way that they are used to. Kids tagged with the ADD/ADHD moniker are often kids who are better at learning through modes not generally practiced in public school settings. One of my sons was one of those kids and I have seen many others as well. Art can truly open doors for kids. Thanks…5 special gifts to ponder making………this will be fun!


  9. Ravenhill

    Hello again! I keep eying your gorgeous silk ribbons and shibori silk. I have a real thing for silk… I have bought a good number of kimono and have several linings that are quite blotchy from age. If I sent these to you would you be able to use them? I am not interested in doing any dying myself as I am highly sensitive to chemicals. I would love it if they could be put to use! Let me know if you would like to have them. If so I would be glad to send them to you!


  10. shiborigirl Post author

    Kristin- it’s NEVER too late to teach art to kids-consider yourself in! (left you a comment on your blog as well) thanks for the link to your daughter’s blog with the photos- they must have had fun choosing the colors!
    Ravenhill- sure- send some along. I’d love to try some overdyeing and texturing of the linings- I recently did this with a stash of silk tie fabric I was given. had to do discharge with them since the colors were so dark. they weren’t too interesting to me colorwise but they took the texture readily.


  11. Talina

    I teach art everyday! I teach regular high school girls the art of movement.. I teach colorguard/ winterguard.. Breaking down the walls and teaching them to see things from a different perspective is the hardest part of teaching any type of art…

    Great post!


  12. Pingback: Just another Monday in the 4th grade classroom « Elementary Art Exploration

  13. Pingback: Paying it forward… « Elementary Art Exploration

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