Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Apron pockets and creativity

In our Make Welcome sewing class this morning, we were taking a second go at sewing a simple apron pattern. We sewed these aprons last week and it went well, but it was a learning experience. Slow going. Lots of questions. This second time gave them more practice with the pattern and greater confidence in their sewing. What also happened is that their creativity flowed, their own ideas came out, and they designed and executed their own plans.

It's a simple apron, but the opportunity to design pockets the way they wanted seemed to be real victories for a couple of the women. One of them kept smiling and saying how happy she was today. Another worked quietly, diligently, with little instruction, figuring things out and expressing when it was time to wind up class, both pleasure with her project and disappointment that she wasn't quite able to complete it today. She'll finish her ruffle edged, rounded pocket first thing next class.

Another student, a dear Eritrean woman with the most beautiful hands, struggled a bit to finish up her first apron from last week. Her hems weren't terribly straight, her edges not quite lined up. She doesn't like to pin and doesn't seem too concerned with detail, but when she finished, her delight was palpable. "For me?! I keep??!!" she asked, glee apparent in her treble, chirping words.

I get to be the teacher. I get to bring (so much donated) fabric each week, to decide together with our other teachers what projects we will tackle, what skills we will focus on. I get to watch light bulbs of inspiration and creativity shine brightly as women gain confidence and skills and dare to try something different, to experiment with their own ideas and bring them to completion. Today it was apron pockets. Where will their creativity shine next?!

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