A class project involving a quilt made of hands has brought outbursts of creativity, a time of excitement and a sense of community for the students of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center’s Project Success Program.
Bringing the quilting class to Project Success students for the third time is The Hands of Children, a project conducted by volunteer quilters to share the art of quilting with youth in the region, according to Pamela Coaxum, project coordinator and volunteer quilter.
“In our classes, children learn about quilting and the sizing, color and construction of fabric,” Coaxum said. “They also learn different ways to lay out fabric squares to make a quilt.”
Participating in the quilting project for the second year is noted multimedia and fabric artist, quilter and SIUE alumna Edna Patterson-Petty, who earned a bachelor’s in art and design in 1984, and a master’s in art therapy in 1988.
This year, Patterson-Petty and Coaxum are leading the children through an exercise of making their handprints on individual fabric squares. Petty will then sew the squares together and complete the quilt. The finished product will be on display in the SIUE East St. Louis Center Director’s Office.
The previous quilts that The Hands of Children coordinated with Project Success students included the first “hands” quilt in 2015 and a “fish” quilt in 2016.
“Art is a good way for children to express themselves, to take what is inside and bring it out,” said Patterson-Petty. “This exercise has also brought a sense of camaraderie. Students are talking about the project together and some are helping others.”
“A sense of community is important for all children, especially those in the foster care system,” said Amy Wilkinson, Project Success program director. “Art therapy is a good way for the children to express their emotions and feelings, to support one another, to increase socialization skills, and for them to be positively impacted.”
The Project Success Program is a comprehensive after-school tutorial enrichment childcare program, which services children 5-14 years of age. The program is funded by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and provides services to children living within the St. Clair and Madison counties.
—- Fabric artist alumna shares joys of quilting with ESL Center students —