Creating Community

Hi, my name is Anna Reyner and I write a monthly post for our Art & Creativity in Early Childhood Education blog.  When I was asked to write about one of my favorite products, I immediately thought of Button Up Fabric Quilt (CLASQLT)squares, and you'll see from my prior post (from June of 2011) below just how and why I love them. I love collaborative art projects, and these fabric squares make it so easy to work together on a project that promotes community and true collaboration.  I've also made a "real quilt" once, the kind you spend hundreds of hours sewing together, and while I was very proud of the finished product, I had that "never again" feeling about the amount of time it took me.  Button up quilts may not be QUITE as traditional as hand-sewn quilts, but remarkably they will stand the test of time just as long, and will look just as wonderful hanging on a wall.

Check out my post from June 2011....

quilt #1
quilt #1

Check out the HUGE community quilt made by American Idol fans in North Carolina last month, using our “Button Up” Canvas Quilt Squares! I'm sure they helped Scotty win the big competition! Barbara Wolfmueller of DSS donated these no-sew fabric squares to help her local community celebrate local hero, Scotty McCreery who went on to win the celebrated singing competition. As you can see, there's NO END to how many fabric quilt squares you can button together. Families and children came together to support Scotty by creating a colorful “fan club quilt” with Colorations® paints and markers.

quilt #2
quilt #2

In this next fabric quilt, art teacher Marianne Richmond had school aged children design a Community Quilt using the same button-up quilt squares. If you look closely, you’ll see this quilt combines plain canvas squares with “Picture Quilt Squares” that have an insert for a 4 x 6” photo or poem. Both these fabric products come in a set of 12 squares and cost less than $1 a square.

quilt #3
quilt #3

Marianne asked children to work in pairs and design one quilt square with their partner, using a combination of fabric paintsacrylic paints and permanent markers. This way they got to share ideas and collaborate in two different ways: first with their buddy, then together with the larger group.

quilt #6
quilt #6

This last quilt example is from a Baby Shower. During the baby shower itself, each participant created a square using fabric paints and collage materials. I painted these “Picture Quilt Squares” ahead of time and inserted poems and quotes about babies to match the party theme. I later buttoned these in with the rest of everyone’s finished artwork. Printing out poems and quotes, or having children write their own poetry on 4 x 6” file cards, is a good way to give your quilt a unified theme.

quilt #4
quilt #4

Check out this close-up of the same quilt…pretty sweet, don’t you think? Imagine….all these fabric quilts are so diverse, yet they are created on the same set of no-sew quilt squares. Don’t forget, they come in bothplain canvas and picture insert versions, which you can easily combine to make a quilt of any size.

quilt #5
quilt #5

Let’s close that thought with one last look at the quilt, created by Scotty’s loving fans in North Carolina. It’s a pretty great example of how creative collaboration builds community. I hope it inspires you to make an easy, no sewfabric quilt this summer.

Materials you will need: Classroom Canvas Quilt, set of 12 (CLASQLT) and/orClassroom Picture Quilt, set of 12(CLASPIC)Colorations® Permanent Fabric Markers - set of 24 (FABCLR) Colorations® Fabric Paint Set - set of 6 (FABPAINT) Colorations® Acrylic Paint Set- set of 8 (CACRYLIC)Assorted Ribbon Remnants - 25 yards (RIBBONS) StampersColorations ® Stamp PadsColorations® Tacky Glue - 4 oz (GLUEIT)