Saturday, February 13, 2010

A tale of a mouse, snail, and hamster and other workshop stories

No-one had signed up for a class I was teaching on felting totem animals. Perhaps it was the long weekend, perhaps it was that people here don't really know how wonderful felting is, perhaps it's Sacramento, or time, or the economy. So, I thought I was going to cancel it, which was also OK, when I got an email from 12 year old Julia saying she and her friend wanted to come. I was impressed by her initiative and that she really wanted to take the class. Plus there's something so magical about teaching friends and Julia's mum ended up coming too, which made it even more special. We talked a little about totem animals and they each chose an animal. I had them write some qualities that they either felt their animals had or that they themselves wanted. Interestingly, most of the qualities that they wrote were qualities that they already had themselves. Julia ~ Mouse: shy, intelligent, resourceful. Nina ~ Rabbit: curious, playful, cuddly, loveable. Anne ~ Cat: fun, athletic, lazy (which Anne loves to be when she can), independent. They all also had many other qualities such as ~ smart, amazing, and fabulous!
I showed them some of my animals, and then introduced them to the needle, the roving (wool) and its different qualities, and some techniques. We then spent 3 very focused hours together. I was very happy to be their teacher. Julia had the simplest animal, plus she was just really fast, so she ended up making her mouse, 2 snails, a hamster and a finger puppet. I was amazed at how experimental she was and delighted with the results.

Nina worked slower and more methodically, felting densely and securely to make a lovely bunny which she held tenderly.


Anne's was also impressive and she too had great focus. Together they made quite the menagerie.

 From left - my beginning baby abonimable sowman (not quite a totem animal) Nina's bunny (the photo doesn't do it justice), my little kitty, Anne's big kitty, Julia's 2 snails, mouse, finger puppet, and wee hamster.

Because Julia finished way before the rest of us, I asked her to write a story about her creations. She asked the name of my pig and I told her along with the story of what "treyf" means (forbidden or non-kosher). Here is her story.

One day, Piccolo the mouse, Humphrey the hamster, and Arnold the snail took a walk. They heard an odd noise coming from behind a bush. "What is it?" they cried. They had never heard anything like it before. "Help!" they heard a voice cry. They cautiously peeked around the bush. They saw a little pink pig stuck in the brush. "Oh no!" screeched Piccolo. "Please help me!" begged the pig. The threesome helped him out of the brush. The pig told them that his name was Treyf. They all became friends.
The End.
Moral: Don't play in bushes :)


Zuzu's petals said...

WOW, I'm really impressed you got so much done! beautuful.

Julia Bayless said...

I had so much fun at this class! Thank you, Mira!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for teaching me how to make totem animals!! I had so much fun and I can't wait to make more!!! Thank you again!!!


Mira Reisberg said...

Thank you all for your comments. Julia and Nina (and Anne) - you were stunning students and a joy to work with. Receptive and open students like you are why I love teaching.

Pamela Holderman said...

Oh I would have taken your class and I would love to learn felting. These are adorable. Hey thanks for chiming in on the over 55 comments on Flying lessons. The original comments actually had me starting a little pity party and self doubt thing but I have rallied. Is that really how we are perceived? yikes...