Creativity with textile arts is a hallmark of Isa Stead, Mount Madonna School (MMS) parent, elementary science lab assistant and first grade dance teacher. In addition to sewing, dyeing fabric, felting wool, and spinning yarn, Stead creates weavings, small and large scale, and recently engaged with MMS preschool and kindergarten students and the public for a large, community “Dream Weaving.”
During a November “Radical Craft Night” hosted by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH), Stead took her loom, yarn and strips of blue, white and yellow cloth, and set up a “weaving circle,” inviting attendees to participate in the group weaving
“I felt like I needed to get out in the community with my looms,” explained Stead. “And given the recent political climate and post-election stress, I thought ‘why don’t we just weave our dreams together?’ I began the piece with my own contribution, a few cloth strips upon which I’d written phrases from Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”
Men, women and children, some first-time weavers, others more experienced, contributed to the piece, including ideas ranging from “We are all one” to feelings about dolphins and dogs.
Following that event, Stead was invited by MMS preschool/kindergarten teacher Hema Walker to bring her loom to the classroom as a guest presenter for a “wool circle” with the students. Stead visited the class, bringing her spinning wheel and loom (already set up with the Dream Weaving) and demonstrated how to spin wool into yarn, and then used some of the yarn to weave into cloth. Her presentation was part of a lesson for students about where clothes comes from and how cloth is made.
“After I talked with the students about my weaving in progress, I took turns and sat with each one of them and asked about their own dreams, hopes and wishes. Next, they would write out their dream on a strip of the cloth, or I’d help them to do so. Then, with guidance, they’d weave it into the larger piece. We weaved ‘picks’ back and forth, so that each ‘dream’ was visible and can be read and seen. Their sentiments included ‘I hope people never have nightmares’ to ‘I hope people always have friends’.
“The finished weaving is seven and one-half feet long,” commented Stead. “And from four-year-olds in the Pre/K to adults at the MAH, it was really fun to work with all of these different people,” she commented. “The kids were so excited to have a chance to be a part of it, and contribute their own hopes, wishes and dreams.
Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Director of Marketing & Communications,
Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.