Purls of Wisdom
In the year of our 10th anniversary at The Handwork Studio we have a lot of amazing accomplishments to look back upon. To me there is no bigger accomplishment and testament to our purpose than being able to watch a once tiny kindergartener become a mature, caring, and compassionate counselor.
Over the past few years as many of our campers start to age out of our programs we have created a next step to allow our campers experience with us come full circle. Now instead of coming as campers to The Handwork Studio, many of our teen and pre-teen campers will be spending a part of their summer vacation working with us. When campers reach the age of 12 they can begin to volunteer and starting at 14, up to 17 they are Counselors in Training (CIT's).
This summer we will have 23, 12-17 year olds holding down these positions, our largest group as of yet! They will be assisting in teaching our campers the same techniques that they had once learned when they went to The Handwork Studio; sewing, knitting, embroidery, crochet, friendship bracelets, etc.
Like a mother hen I swell with pride to see many of our CIT's and Volunteers exhibit confidence and leadership abilities, they are passionate about working with children, and teaching the needle arts, and genuinely fun, happy, caring people. I could not be more proud of this upcoming group of young people that are dedicated to helping us teach the next generation of needle-artists.
Bella has been with The Handwork Studio for 10 years. Above she is pictured as a Fashion Boot Camp camper in 2007 and in 2011 Bellas was a JR. Counselor!
How do the sayings go? No two chicken cubes are alike? Or, "Is a chicken cube but a chicken cube by any other beak?" These are deep questions we ponder at The Handwork Studio...
What I am trying to say, is that when ever we introduce a new project we have an example of what it will look like in the end, this is so everyone can see and understand what they will be making. After six years of running classes at The Handwork Studio, I am still amazed everytime in the way each person interprets the same pattern.
Over spring break camp this year our Curriculum Director, Melissa Haims designed one of my favorite projects of all time, Bouillon, the Cube Chicken. This funny creation is basically six squares sewn together to create its cube structure. What really makes this project interesting is that Buillion does not come to life until you add all the accoutrements. We provide a shmorgasborg of buttons, embroidery floss, wool roving, felt, etc., etc. and campers go to town. All of sudden our plain old cube starts taking on a life of its own. I will let the pictures speak for themselves to show what a little imagination can turn into.
After watching children come through the studio today, Wednesday Febuary 1st, in shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops I stopped thinking that Summer was so far away. In reality, just a few short months from now we will be planning trips to the beach, eating ice cream outside and of course for many kids Summer means going to Camp!
Now a days with so many camp offerings parents and kids have to make a lot decisions about where to go and what to do. With these endless choices you might wonder how does one make an educated decision on what camp will be the best fit? At The Handwork Studio we have found that camp fairs are a one stop shop for families to see a lot of different camps in the region and to get a more intimate look at them. Rather than tediously checking countless programs out online camp fairs offer the opportunity to speak first hand to the counselors and directors at each of their respective camps. Many even have visual aids, props and equipment to show and sometime demonstrate what goes on in their camp on any given day. Another perk of visiting a camp fairs is that they are free and can be a great afternoon or evening out with the kids. Many camps will offer a small activity or a give away that makes it fun for everyone.
At the Handwork Studio we love to bring kids in on the experience. When we set up our booth we bring many examples of projects that we could potentially create over the Summer and also offer kids to make a quick easy project on the sewing machine with one of our trained instructors.
Since we feel camp fairs are a fantastic way for families to experience us a big part of my job throughout January, February, and March is being out on the camp fair circuit. A few days a week I travel around NJ, PA, DC and MD region setting up camp fairs at schools, malls, hotels, pharmaceuatical companies and more. I truly find these fairs to be invigorating. One of my favorite things is meeting new families that are excited to learn about us because their child has expressed an interested in what we offer and of course it is great seeing alumni Handwork Studio campers visitng our booth with big smiles and a hug!
If you are interested in checking out one of the upcoming camp fairs that The Handwork Studio will be at feel free to check us out here to see where our next stop will be!
Parents ask us all the time when we run camp 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for approximately 20 weeks out of the year (that includes Winter, Spring and Summer break), Do they really craft all day?!?!?
The truth is sometimes we have to pry the knitting needles out of their hands at the end of the day. I will tell you nothing brings us more sincere happiness then to see a child who loves what they are doing. However, I must confess that we do not craft for the entire six hours. We do ask our campers to take a break to do things like eat and rest there hands. During that down time we like to read.
Over the years The Handwork Studio has accumulated quite a collection of story books that weave magnificent tales of silly sheep that won’t follow the flock, or a messy girl who has a room that looks like it is lived in by pigs, so of course she sews many pigs, and of a quilt that has been passed down from generation to generation.
One of our favorite stories is "Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep, A Yarn about Wool” by Teri Sloat and illustrated by the whimsical artist Nadine Bernard Wescott. This simple funny rhyming story has proven to be a must read for all ages in our camps.