Friday, 30 May 2008


Sometimes we can't help but feel sorry for the kids that spend summer days in small, hot, overcrowded rooms learning about fractions.

Today we revisit an art project that we once did years ago, when the children were little and liked eating glue and sticking sequins on their noses.

I unroll long lengths of broad, white satin ribbon, squeeze out the glue, spread out the sparkling sequins and add felt tips, the sewing box, the tub of odds and ends, beads and buttons and sticky jewels, all this to the mix, then we hunt down seed heads, petals, bits of twig, anything that might catch our magpie eyes, and we set to work.

On each long length of ribbon we follow an idea of a journey or a moment we have lived and we tell it through pictures. We spend a morning sewing and gluing and sticking sequins on our noses, and then, as the result unfurls, we have long, proclaiming banners. Each banner is a length of a picture story: about the day we watched the birds fly off from Suffolk, or the bright balloons we blew up huge for Squirrel's party day, or the fish we watched from the bridge streaming and streaking along, pink and gold.

When we're happy with our picture stories, we sew the finished telling onto long branches of trees; we hang them in the garden and they flutter and tell us back of times that we have loved to be free and able to choose our own paths.

And that's why we think of children, dressed in black and grey and white today, bending over fractions and worksheets, filling in blanks with numbers to which someone already knows the answer, right or wrong. And with the world and all its stories calling, some of those children won't want to be at school today.


Brad said...

I want to be 8 again today and come and learn with the little grits rather then being all adult like and working.

I posted some Goatie pics for you over the weekend - come see their starting to get tamped down behind other posts.

sharon said...

What a lovely idea. I'm saving that one for if I ever acquire some grandchildren who want to play in Gran's craft stash (which is quite considerable and would appeal to many a passing magpie).