In late April I had the wonderful opportunity to return as Artist in Residence to The Great Oak Middle School in Oxford CT. For five days I worked with 6th, 7th and 8th graders to design, print, weave and bind small books. Our goal was to create two printed sheets of paper inspired by Adinkra images of West Africa that would be cut into strips and woven together to make the cover for a book. Prior to my coming to school, Karen Giannamore, the art teacher worked hard with the classes to help them generate wonderful stories based on a choice of writing prompts. These stories were printed on paper to be inserted as the text for these handmade covers.
When I arrived on Monday, we jumped right into designing the stamps, and printing two sheets of paper per student. I just love the bright colors and the bold designs that the students came up with. After everyone had printed two sheets, we then cut them into strips to that they could be woven together to make the book covers.
The printed and woven strips were then laminated to make a durable cover for the books. We then sewed the previously written and printed stories inside these gorgeous covers. Each student also illustrated their story and added reader’s questions as well as notes about the author. These books will now be shipped to a school for the deaf in Wamunyu, Kenya through a program called Kenya Connect.
We understand that the students in Kenya are learning to read and write in English so these handmade books will add over 120 new books to their school library!