Deep in the heart of textiles

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A day camp offering lessons in the basics of sewing has been gaining in popularity with youths at the Bosque Arts Center this summer.

So many young students applied to enter the camp that two sets of classes were added for the week following the initial run.

Six students – five girls and one boy – attended the three-day camp that started on July 11. About 12 students – split evenly into separate morning and afternoon classes – are expected to attend the next camp week.

During the first day’s session, the students learned basic skills – choosing fabric, pinning, cutting fabric, reading a pattern, and stitching on the sewing machine.

The next two days, the students put these skills to work, each session becoming increasingly difficult and fun.

On Wednesday, pillows roughly a foot in length and width were created from scratch and accessorized to fit the students’ tastes.

“Sarah made a butterfly. Sophia has her name. Abigail cut out flowers and layered them to give them dimension. Isabella made two matching pillows for her grandmother. Rebekah made herself an ‘R’ that she hand-stitched laboriously,” Anne Parkin, the longtime sewing instructor, said.

“It took forever!” Rebekah Tyler replied.

“And with all of my girl fabric, Gareth managed to find Batman,” Parkin noted.

This class – a mix of elementary and middle school aged students – also produced washable surgical masks for the staff of a local veterinary clinic.

On Thursday, the students turned it up a notch, making a tiny animal doll, a challenge since it requires finer cuts and stitching work.

Parkin provided about several bins and bolts of the fabric, some of which was donated from her fellow textile-craft artists and experts.

Sewing machines were borrowed from a mix of sources, some from students themselves and others from Parkin and members of the BAC’s new Quilt Guild. The machines ranged from basic electric models to sophisticated computer-driven ones, which gave students an idea on the impact technology has had on the craft.

The classes were assisted by the president of the Quilt Guild Bill Pugh and his wife, Nancy.

Bill Pugh – who also stood ready to repair the sewing machines if need be – noted that it was important to the club to foster the next generation in the textile arts.

Among its other volunteer projects, the Quilt Guild has assisted the BAC’s Quilt Show held annually in June.

The Quilt Guild formed in January of last year; it currently has about 28 members and is actively looking for new recruits who are also members of the BAC.

The guild membership meets for business on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. and, for special group sewing projects, on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 10 a.m. at the BAC.

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