Chief Joseph Elementary School Story Quilt Project

Project Goals

The 4 second grade classes would use stories and art to develop an understanding of home, the commonality of what means home across cultures, and the diverse experiences of people across cultures in developing a sense of home. 

Pretty awesome goals...The project did not go quite as planned but still was a worthy effort and had some amazing results and the goals were achieved.

Brooke was the lead teacher.  AFH followed her lead. She  wanted the visits to begin in mid March and the quilts done in April. We negotiated to start sooner however given scheduling concerns the visits were limited. 

Paule M (a artisan refugee)  made an initial visit and immediately engaged the students. Her conversation of having to leave the Congo, leave friends, come to America at 14, speaking no English, wondering about Boise caught their attention. Paule is an excellent and convincing speaker. The curiosity was intense and one could "feel" the students begin to think - to ponder the reality that the sense of meaning of home does not vary much across the cultural road - however the experience of it does. 

Gwen Smith innocently volunteered to help - given some changing priorities in my life, Gwen became the lead. Unquestionably her skill, talent, and experience made this a miracle in real time. Through March and April Gwen worked with the children/teachers to create the story blocks. Joan Cloonan attended many of the classes to photograph the project. The four teachers (4 classes) developed complementary work in the classroom. This varied by classroom. The lead teacher, Brooke Knutson set a great standard with multi cultural books on quilting and home - classroom  discussions - and a deep interest in the subject. 

And the story blocks were complete.  Gwen Smith did the quilting and you can view a very interesting video of her completing the quilt on her quilting sewing machine.


Click on this link to view the video.