Montana Arts Interscholastic Workshops

I volunteered to give felting workshops at the Montana Arts Interscholastic at Glacier High School this past Saturday. In my previous post, I showed you all the wool I dyed for the classes. I had 39 students signed up for a total of 3 classes and the possibility of having 15 students per class for a total of 45. So I made up about 50 packets so I was sure to have enough and give the students a lot of color choices.

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Friday night, I decided to go over and check out my class room and take over all the piles of equipment and supplies. And here is what I found. The room was set up for the “Dance, Dance, Dance Extravaganza. There were only 3 tables in the room. Hmmm…

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I couldn’t find anyone to ask so I just put my supplies under the tables. I decided I would just come an hour early to make sure that I could get everything set up. The first class was scheduled for 8:00 am Saturday. So an early morning for sure.

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Luckily, when I came in on Saturday, the class room was set up with three rows of tables and all I needed to do was set up a station for each student. I set up 15 stations because I wasn’t sure how many students I would have.

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Each station had a towel, stair tread, sheer curtain and a resist all piled up. They also had a bottle of soapy water and a little dish of extra soap.

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I had a demonstration desk set up for me. This is a new high school and the facilities were really nice with lots of space. There was one sink but I brought tubs to fill with hot water half way through the class for the students to use. So I got all set up and had plenty of time to relax a bit before the students showed up.

One of my concerns about the whole set up was that the students would be late. The class time was only one hour and forty-five minutes so it was going to be tight to make a felt phone case over a resist with people who had never felted before. The students spent the night before sleeping on the gymnasium floor and, yes, they were late. I was supposed to have a full class of 15 the first session, but ended up with only 5. The main portion of missing students turned out to be a school that at the last moment canceled all their students due to a school violation. Sadly, one student caused the entireΒ school to miss out. So instead of 39 students, I ended up with only 23. But we forged ahead.

Dennis was the photographer and assistant teacher. Most of the photos are of layout and rubbing. Once we got into the felting and fulling portion, we were rushing to try to get all the students far enough along that they could finish fulling at home. So we didn’t get any photos of the finished cell phone cases. The students all had another class to attend and we only had 15 minutes between sessions to clean up and set up for the next class. But they all seemed to enjoy the class. I even had a couple of students come up after class and ask where they could take more classes and get the supplies. So I may have converted a few into fiber addicts. πŸ™‚ It amazes me though that some of the students were just “worn out” after rubbing and couldn’t believe how much work it was. But every one of them had a phone case that was felted before they left. They still needed to shrink them down and I hope they will take the time to keep working on it.

I thought you might like to see my finished class samples that I made during each class. They still aren’t quite dry so you can’t see the silk noil embellishment very well, but now I have 6 phone cases to sell. πŸ™‚

It was a good experience and I enjoyed it. I think it would work a bit better with a slightly longer class session but they cram it all into 24 hours (there was a class session Friday night that I declined to teach) so I guess they do well to get four almost 2 hour sessions completed with over 200 students involved.

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18 Responses to Montana Arts Interscholastic Workshops

  1. Lyn says:

    You put in a lot of work but it showed in the results! It was an incredibly short teaching session so you did well to organise everything to fit.
    I bet the students enjoyed making something with their hands because so much of life is ‘virtual’ now, and it would be good if the young people who asked about further classes did take them up.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Lyn – the students did seem to enjoy it mostly. πŸ™‚ I hope that there is some follow up with my friend Paula’s classes.

  2. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    Great job with the organization Ruth! That was a tough schedule to keep. I’m sure the students have a new appreciation for handmade goods and as you said hopefully they will follow thru with finishing their projects. It’s good to know a few were interested enough to ask for more information. I imagine students today don’t have too many opportunities for such hands on tactile experience. Perhaps this will open up an new teaching opportunity for you as well. πŸ™‚

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Marilyn – it was a pretty quick turn around but it worked out OK in the end. I may be doing another teaching session at the school. They are supposed to contact me.

  3. Teaching is tough. It requires supreme organization and forethought. You can always count on the unexpected, no matter how prepared you are. You pulled off quite a marathon. Hopefully, these students will take away and experience that they won’t forget when they get older, and will pick up where they left off.

  4. luvswool says:

    Kudos to you for pulling off a well-organized teaching opportunity at the high school! Introducing fiber arts to young people is a real positive in this increasingly techno world of ours.

  5. Vicki W says:

    Looks like it was a fun day. Too bad the other kids missed it. I remember in high school English some kids from my class ruined band trips until after my class graduated!

  6. Looks like you did a great job and made some converts. Kids seem to really enjoy doing hands on things. the ones that found it hard to work for so long will hopefully now appreciate hand made things better. They can grow up to be the buyers.

  7. kwinter12 says:

    That’s some schedule, teaching kids who’d never felted before to felt round a resist! And hopefully it will give them an appreciation of the work that goes into wet felting. πŸ™‚

    • ruthlane says:

      I knew it would be tight but I thought it would be better to have something functional instead of just making a flat “felt picture” or some such. I do know that most didn’t realize how much work it would take.

  8. Nada says:

    I’m glad everything went well. You spent so much time preparing for the class. Even though you were expecting more students I think it was better that only five turned up – you could devote more time to individuals. Recently I held a felting workshop for 12 participants in a very small teaching room and I wished there were only half of them.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks – yes, fewer students is easier for sure. I had plenty of space though. It is really hard to teach in very small spaces.

  9. zedster66 says:

    Great job, Ruth! It looks like you put a lot of thought into it as well as all the work preparing supplies. I hope you get to see some of the kids’ finished cases. Yours look great πŸ™‚

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Zed – I do try to plan and organize ahead of time. That makes the day of much easier. I doubt I’ll get to see any of the kids’ cases but they were looking good when they left the class πŸ™‚

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