|“My Dream, My Future”
Gesso Transfers on Canvas, Marker, Embroidery floss; 9’x5.5′, 2014
Each square made by an individual 3rd-8th grader and assembled by Ben Panter
Despite my lack of expertise with a sewing machine and having never actually made a quilt before, I was able to construct this finished product from all the individual tiles made by 3rd through 8th graders. I am ecstatic over the final result. At the start of the process I was nervous about how it might turn out and how to control all the variables involved (elementary students… enough said). So I decided to focus on two things to put all my other decision making in perspective. First, I wanted to let the students explore with processes they otherwise may never experience, which I did with gesso image transfers and embroidery. Second, I wanted to give the students as much creative control as possible. After all, when this project is over and all that’s left of it is this quilt hanging on the wall, they don’t want it to be a reminder of me, it needs to be all about the students and their dreams, including all their quirks and beautiful irregularities. That meant a lot of letting go on my part, but at the end of the day it now completely resembles them. Looking at the finished piece I think it offers a wonderfully insightful glimpse into a child’s mind. They are so easily shaped by the environment and surrounding culture, and yet there is no limit to the potential of dreams .
Soon I will be installing the finished piece in the main hallway of the school where it will stay for the foreseeable future, however there is a chance that it will be displayed as a part of another arts event that is coming up. I’ll be sure to spread the word if that is the case.