Following the success of S~’s free-form quilting and the positive feedback from her family, I was excited about a new project based on a rudimentary paper weaving. This particular morning however, S~ didn’t get out of bed till late, and when she finally did arrive, she went back to sleep again. (If this were middle school that might be a problem, but at her age, S~ is entitled to her rest.) It also gave me a chance to work exclusively with J~.

I started out by showing him samples I had made several months ago. (Click on images to enlarge):

He liked the palette of the middle piece — which is not a weaving but an abstract illustration broken into partial strips — and decided to work with other b&w pages from a paper collection based on animal hides. After tearing them into strips, I assisted him in threading the fragments through slits in a blank sheet of paper. Another layer was formed by colored vellum that remained from the holiday wish holder project,  and charcoal gray metallic paper scraps provided a third. At every step, I raised the question that confronts all artists working in this manner: “Do you want to stop here or continue?” J~ declared the piece complete once gray and gold dots were put in place. It is now hanging in his room next to a Phillies baseball poster:

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S~ awakened around the time that J~ was leaving for lunch. In addition to showing her what we’d been doing, I found another sheet whose strips were close together. (It reminded me of one of those old-fashioned, wiry, hard-boiled-egg slicers.) As S~ looked on with rapt attention, I demonstrated various techniques that could be used to turn it into a paper sculpture: folding, bending, curling, crunching, drawing lines, and adding bits of paper. The resulting abstract piece was put together in a quick two-minute improv that S~ completely understood and appreciated “This is extremely interesting,” she said in her labored voice, “I love it.”

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Later, when I brought her to lunch, she thanked me for “[my] ideas, [my] help, and [my] sharing.” Next week, I hope it will be she who shares her ideas and creativity.

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