Auspicious Stitches is one of our longest running classes. It is more of a workshop really, an open time when local and visiting fabric artists come together to be creative. The group represents a broad spectrum of knowledge and skill levels. They work on collaborative projects chosen democratically and individual projects that we provide or that members bring in. Last month we felt especially fortunate to be together again after Hurricane Sandy blew through the city. One of our regular stitchers Rikki Asher is a professor at Queens College and she let us know about over 100 children and their families who were staying in a makeshift shelter in the basement of the college. Rikki wanted to have her art teacher students in training bring some fun projects to the kids and the Stitches class was more than more than willing to help. Even though the kids most basic needs were being met by the shelter, Rikki realized it could really help to give them a chance to focus on a creative project. Rikki was inspired during the last project we did to make felt animals puppets and so she decided we should prepare materials for the kids to make their own puppets.We had tons of left over felt scraps that were perfect and so everyone worked to make examples and prepare the pieces the kids would need. Those Stitchers who wanted to worked on preparing the materials during their class time for three weeks. Each week Rikki would come back with feedback and we would tweek our preparations to best serve the kids. The last day Rikki shared the good news that all the families had been placed in temporary housing and they had left the makeshift shelter. She also brought photos of her students working with the kids and shared great stories about all the wonderful experiences they had creating puppets together.
This partnership which grew organically out of a clear need turned out to be meaningful and fulfilling for everyone involved. It was truly the best of all worlds; the Stitchers had an opportunity to spend their class time preparing materials for kids in need, the teachers in training had the chance to practice their skills and serve children, and the kids had a chance to get their minds off their immediate situations and focus on getting creative and sharing stories with each other and with their families. Thanks to everyone who had a part in the project. I hope we find more opportunities to work together to help out in any ways we can.