Teaching new hands old tricks through the Artisan Series

SIX NATIONS — The second instalment of the Continuing Education Artisan Series at Six Nations Polytechnic began on Saturday, April 14, showcasing two classes for eager participants; one for ribbon skirts and the other for raised beadwork strawberry medallions.

The series will be continuing until June and is a collection of non-accredited workshops focused on Haudenosaunee raised beadwork, jewelry arts and textile arts to provide new learners an opportunity to pursue a new skill, or to expand their existing experience.

Nearly finished strawberry medallions can be made following the diagrams completely, or putting a twist on the design.
Participants in the strawberry medallion inspect the final product as they continue working on their own medallions.
Nearly finished strawberry medallions can be made following the diagrams completely, or putting a twist on the design.

Academic Development Officer Stevie Jonathan, who also served as the strawberry medallion instructor, explained that the concept for the series was given to her to bring to life.

“One of our development officers, Jenny Anderson had the idea when she first started working here,” said Jonathan. “I recently switched positions here at Polytech in August and she handed me the Continuing Education Artisan Series Portfolio, which I was really happy about because I personally like to do a lot of different sewing and beadwork.”

Jonathan then put the series into motion.

“It’s really turned into a passion project for me and I’m really happy with it and that I get to do it,” she said.

From the strawberry medallions to the ribbon skirts, Jonathan explained that the series also extends to wire wrapped stones, ribbon dresses, raised beadwork hummingbird shadow boxes, and beaded women’s sunflower yokes which will each be made throughout the series by the hands of participants.

Each of the series’ workshops also require a fee to be paid by each participant, and Jonathan said that the money goes straight into the workshops.

“Right now we’re just on a cost recovery model,” she said. “We’re just recovering the cost that we needed to develop the workshops, so that would be the products to produce the classes.”

This includes thread, needles, velvet, beads, sewing necessities and many other supplies to fuel the workshop.

But in regards to how well the classes are going, Jonathan explained that the teaching style with the workshops appeals to all types of learners; from visual, hands on, to auditory.

“The [participants] have a lesson plan that has the full diagrams in each step and I will do some hands-on with them, then I will move to the board to draw visuals as some of the students need it.”

Although the high winds of the previous week had some affect on the previous workshop, Jonathan said that she is very happy with how this one turned out despite poor weather conditions again.

“I’m really happy with it,” she said. “It’s very rewarding when the students by the end of the day are like ‘oh I’m so happy that the weather didn’t keep us from coming.’ I’m really happy with it.”

You may find more info or register online at https://www.snpolytechnic.com/artisan, by phone at 519-445-0023 ext. 268, or in-person at the Six Nations Campus Reception Office during office hours.

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