A fiber gallery is a very tempting place for children (for adults, too, but that’s a different story). Small kids who come in with a parent (or other adult) are suddenly surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colors and untold numbers of textures that just invite little fingers to touch.
But that’s the problem. Those little fingers. We love ‘em, but they are often sticky from the latest lollipop, cookie, or frozen treat. We don’t want to be the ogres who keep saying, “Please, don’t touch that, sweetie.” Nor do we want the adults who are with the kids to have to police them every time they reach for a nice, soft rayon chenille scarf.
The solution? Our Children’s Touching Basket.
Many gallery members have contributed lovely pieces of cloth to the basket, and as soon as a small child comes into the gallery, we direct the young visitors to the basket. If the gallery member who is on site at the time isn’t otherwise occupied with customers, he or she will generally talk with the child about all the wonderful fabrics in the touching basket—a crinkly piece of shibori silk, a shiny piece of taffeta, a brightly-colored handwoven cloth, a soft felted cloth—telling the child how it’s made or what it’s used for.
In addition to the fabrics, we also keep an outline of a quilt pattern in the basket.
Children are welcome to take a copy of this quilt outline home with them so that they can color in their own pretty quilt.
Parents are happy to have their kids entertained (and educated about textiles!), and we’re happy to provide the kids with a productive way to keep sticky fingers off the delicate textiles in our gallery.
Come visit us in Studio 18 in the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Oh, and bring the kids, too!
by July blog editor Ruth Blau