Ren Salisbury, 9, of Steuben assembles quilt squares on a sewing machine during a meeting of the Art Club organized by Schoodic Arts for All. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE WEAVER

Art club has boys quilting up a storm

GOULDSBORO — Hunter Davis, 10, of Winter Harbor carefully fed his fabric through the sewing machine, stitching a strip of colorful quilt squares together.

Beside him, Ren Salisbury, 9, of Steuben was joining his strips together with straight pins.

What is noteworthy about this Schoodic Arts for All after-school class is that all of the students are boys. One recent afternoon, there were seven of them humming away at their sewing machines in the Combs Studio in Prospect Harbor.

“It’s kind of a mystery,” said Anna Woolf, who organizes the Art Club for Schoodic Arts for All based in Winter Harbor. “Something struck them about quilting and using those sewing machines. Because they could choose to do it, they wanted to do it.”

The Art Club is a yearlong, after-school art program run by Schoodic Arts for All for children at the Peninsula School in Prospect Harbor.

Matt Stoddard, 11, of Gouldsboro listens to pointers from the resident artist for the quilting workshop, Signe Kaleel of Milbridge. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE WEAVER
Matt Stoddard, 11, of Gouldsboro listens to pointers from the resident artist for the quilting workshop, Signe Kaleel of Milbridge.

This school year, the organization also will offer after-school art classes for two months at the Ella Lewis School in Steuben.

Schoodic Arts for All draws its students from the Maine Sea Coast Mission’s EdGE program, which offers after school activities in several communities.

Each hour-long class is offered once a week for four weeks. Each class is led by a visiting artist, in this case Signe Kaleel of Milbridge.

The November class was on using clay. Woolf, who taught the class, said the children — a mix of 15 girls and boys — learned how to use a pottery wheel and then made slabs of clay from which they cut out Christmas ornaments.

When there is a little down time, the children are encouraged to write on a board what classes they’d like to take.

Sewing was one, hence the quilting. Coming up soon will be knitting and photography.

“The kids that come for Art Club are very enthusiastic,” Woolf said. “One of the things I find they love about it is they get to choose whether or not they come.”

If the boys were at all self-conscious about sewing, they gave no evidence of it at a recent class.

“I like it because it’s fun and it’s easy to sew,” said Ren Salisbury, whose straight pins were meticulously lined up across the fabric.

Teddy Dickson, 9, of Gouldsboro said he would likely put his finished pillow sham on his bed or the family couch.

“I really like getting something done and doing it practically all by myself,” said Dickson, his hand hovering over a pin cushion.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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