Shirley Lavine has been an Artist in Residence since the program started four years ago. She has kids that have gone through camp as well as a child on staff this year.
Four years ago a new program started at Greene and I was honored to be invited to participate. The Artist in Residence Program, a weeklong “workshop” utilizing the unique talents of individual artists who are a part, in one way or another, of the Greene Family Camp community. The artists work with the Melachim Art Limud (Limud is their education hour) and have taught things ranging from paper making, crocheting, quilting, painting and tie dying – to name a few. We strive to center our lessons on Jewish or camp related themes. The Artist in Residence also helps out in the other art classes throughout the days and may even help around camp in other areas, if needed.
I am a painter and a quilter from Houston and love spending a week at camp in the summer. As a former TOFTYite (Now NFTY-TOR), this environment brings back so many memories – mostly of singing “We Want A Camp”, before Greene was even here. To actually be at this camp and to experience what my own kids have been through is such a thrill.
When I work with Melachim on a project, it is amazing to see how the group works together making artistic decisions and then watching them implement the skills they have learned. The first 2 summers I spent here, I brought my love of quilting to the kids. They learned an applique process with fusible web (iron on material) and made individual, small quilts of their own. They learned the process of fusing, along with layering fabric, batting and backing, the main elements of a quilt. They learned to hand quilt the layers together with needle and thread. Their personal creative designs made each quilt unique and they got to take them home as a keepsake.
Last summer, however, we did a group project, one that was to be displayed at camp when completed. I wanted them to create a large pictorial quilt. The class decided on a camp theme and then implemented a drawing. They worked together over the course of a week. We also welcomed other campers to join the project. The kids chose fabrics from the fabric bin and then cut, pinned and glued those pieces onto the colored and drawn background. Another class learned a printing technique and printed on fabric, which became the border of the quilt. Rabbis then added their thoughts and helped add the Jewish theme by suggesting blessings that fit the mural perfectly.
I feel my job here is to teach the class technique and let them do the rest. They are creative, collaborative, considerate and curious. My time at Greene Family Camp is rewarding and I love it here! Thanks for letting me work with your kids! Please look for the hanging quilt next time you are at camp. You are sure to be impressed.