From Hand to Heart: Creative classroom collaborations through crafts with Class 6 of Welham Girls’ School

As the students of class 6 entered the classroom for the third Flow India module of the year, their excited buzz turned to curious whispers as they saw piles of fabric, needles and threads, glittering buttons, sequins, and ribbons waiting for them in the room!

Humans learn about the world through our senses and molding material using our hands allows us to form a relationship with our environment and other people who are part of our community. Our traditional craft practices have risen from this symbiotic relationship and these skills and designs have been passed down from one generation to the next to keep our rich heritage and all of our cultural identities alive. Flow India’s From Hand to Heart project introduced the class 6 students of Welham Girls’ School to the wonders of handmade crafts and creative practices that bring our community closer together!

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By designing and making fabric learning toys for the very first time and gifting them to the young children at the Purkal Young Learning Centre, students used creative expression to reach out to new friends and build collaboration within their own groups. Through interactive learning sessions with the professional crafts women at the Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti students learnt about the intricacies of working with our hands in groups and opened their minds and inspired them to take a critical stand on handicrafts in India.

Students were also introduced to quilting as an art form in which women have always taken great pride. It is beauty, patience, skill, and love in a utilitarian object. Quilts are representative of home economy and recycling as many quilts were pieced with bits of old clothing and other linen. A quilt was often a collaborative work by a community of women. They are symbolic of a more communal way of life that is becoming unknown to modern generations.

20170128_125423A community quilt for the school was the ideal way for the young juniors to reach out to and communicate with the school community (seniors and faculty), whether to co-create a quilt of stress-busting activities that everyone could share with one another during the exam time, to express a collective love for desserts and patch together their favourites, or to call out to the community to list their strengths and weaknesses to create a pool of skills they could help each other build.

Understanding how something is made and why it’s made that way, is more vital to modern life than ever. Craft is a language of material, provenance and making. It is learning the value of things. The Hand to Heart project was a valuable learning experience for all of us and has given us so many ideas about the creative world around us! 

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