Collaborative Quilts by the Students of Dorothy Habecker
A quilter and teacher of young children all her adult life, Habecker decided twelve years ago to combine these two interests in her classroom. Each year thereafter, her students had the memorable experience of creating a quilt together. Gradually, their work evolved in complexity, and over the years they designed and created traditional pieced quilts, an embroidered heart quilt, a tie-dyed quilt out of fabric they tie-dyed themselves, and a keepsake quilt made from fabric recycled from their ‘old' clothes. Each child designed and hand sewed at least one block, a grandmother volunteer stitched the quilt together, the children quilted the layers together with embroidery floss, and Habecker completed the quilts by finishing off the edges. Perhaps best of all, they kept all the quilts in the classroom, where the children stretched out on them to rest and read books! The craftsmanship is clearly that of young children, with irregular stiches and blocks that can vary in size. This adds to the spontaneity and vibrancy, as do the bright colors the kids chose and assembled in unexpected ways.
Visually joyful, the quilts are a testament to children's abilities to engage in a large, complicated art project that takes weeks to complete, and to work collaboratively as a classroom community.