Devonna is a teaching fiber artist from the Eastern Kentucky region who, as a child, saw many quilts being made and used. She appreciated the beauty of the quilts, but didn’t develop a desire to learn this art form till later in life. Devonna was taught traditional quilting techniques from women in her community and this gives her a unique perspective in teaching all ages how to quilt. Through her work as a teaching fiber artist with Promise Neighborhood, a federally funded grant administered by Berea College, she has done residencies in elementary, middle and high schools, teaching students the elements of quilt making and completing projects that reflect this traditional art form. Devonna is also a University of Kentucky Certified Master Clothing Volunteer and has extensive training and experience in teaching students of all ages sewing projects and clothing construction. Devonna will work closely with the classroom teacher to design a project that reflects the unit of study and grade level.
Potential Residency Project
My residency projects incorporate the four artistic processes (create, present, respond, and connect) in a hands-on project resulting in an individual work of quilted art by each student. We begin with a PowerPoint presentation to introduce students to traditional Appalachian quilts, allowing them to respond to exemplary works, make authentic connections to their own families and communities, and begin envisioning their personal creation.
A five-day residency project for fourth grade and up engages students in creating 12-inch stuffed pillows with a pieced top. Each student makes a pillow using a sewing machine that I furnish and teach how to use safely. The student is introduced to terminology commonly used with sewing projects, i.e., grain, straight of grain, and right sides of fabric. They use a combination of squares and triangles to piece the pillow top, incorporating math, color theory, and traditional quilt patterns. When the pillows are completed, we plan an exhibition to present the work to the school and community before the students take their work home. Writing critiques of their own and their peer’s pillows brings the artistic process full circle, back to responding and connecting, but now with more understanding of the art form and its aesthetic and processes.
A 10-day residency project for sixth grade and up allows each student to create a small, embellished landscape as a wall art piece using design processes and traditional quilting techniques. This project can be integrated with science or social studies to promote environmental literacy, helping students make connections between visual art and issues of importance to them and their communities. During this project students will learn quilting terminology, i.e., appliqué, batting, backing and fabric selection for landscapes. This project uses both sewing machines and hand sewing. We conclude by having students write artist statements to accompany their landscapes in an exhibit presenting their art to the school and community.
Other one- to four-week residencies can be customized to meet your classroom goals.