I had the day off today so I packed up my beading supplies and headed off to Nate’s middle school to give a talk on beadwork. His art teacher is new a sent out a letter asking parents or other relatives to offer to give talks and demonstrations on various forms of art. I was the guinea pig.
I spoke to all of her art classes, not just Nate’s. Girls are naturally drawn to my work because of the jewelry aspect of it. I drew the boys in by talking about how I came to start beading, which included the story of shooting my buck, and how I wanted to decorate the antlers. One young man’s hand shot up in the air and I answered, “It was a five point.” He didn’t even get the question out of his mouth.
Even those young men and women who acted disinterested were out of their seats just as fast as those that asked questions and were attentive to touch and examine my beadwork and the components I had laid out. They especially liked the antique beads and how miniscule they were in comparison to the other beads I had there. I had also taken the 100 year old French steel cut beaded purse that I’ve been trying to work on restoring.
A young man was sitting in a front seat, looking very dispassionately at me the entire time as I explained the significance of the beaded purse. I walked over and asked that he hold his hands out, which he did with some reluctance, but as I placed the heavy piece over his hands, his eyes lit up and he smiled, definitely in spite of himself.
I have to say, they were all very respectful and even the boys were inquistive, especially when they were allowed to touch and handle the pieces. Nate even rubbed his head on my shoulder a little to show his pride.
I’ll be going back in a few weeks, before the end of the nine weeks, to help them make their own polymer clay pendants. A lot of the kids are really going to miss the teacher and taking art, as they are only allowed to take it for nine weeks, which I believe is an atrocity. Some of those kids, and you can tell which ones, despite their flippant attitudes, truly enjoy art, if not just the acceptance of the art teacher for their individual gifts and abilities. It may be the only class where they’re graded on how far outside the box they can travel.
Never doubt that teachers work very hard on very small budgets, so if you have a child, volunteer to help your child’s teacher in anyway you can. Its very rewarding.