As a native New Englander, I usually mark the beginning of summer by the weather. Yes, the calendar might say “June,” but if the temperature is still in the 50s most mornings, it sure doesn’t feel summery to me.
In contrast, my boys have long measured the arrival of summer in “camp counting”… how long before we finally get to go to camp??? Because for them, summer doesn’t start until they are happily reclining on a cot surrounded by mosquito netting, with the smell of wood smoke lulling them to sleep by the shores of a woodland lake.
Our youngest has been packing his footlocker for the past few weeks with what he considers to be camp essentials: playing cards, flip flops, comic books, and flannel pajamas. I’ve been stealthily marking his shorts and t-shirts with his initials, in hopes that at least some of them will make it back home at the end of his six-week stay. At 15, this will be his final trip to camp, and we are both feeling a bit nostalgic.
No more camp songs or long canoe trips on the lake. No more hot dogs and s’mores by the open fire. No more poison ivy (Yay!), lanyards, or tie-dye … I will miss his hastily written postcards (Send more cookies!), and he will miss the care packages sent in the return post.
But while he is gone on his last camping adventure, I plan to start a new tradition. I’m calling it “Camp Quilting Arts” and inviting a few friends over to my studio for a week of play just like we did at summer camp many years ago. This time, we won’t be earning Girl Scout badges or braiding friendship bracelets: we will be using this issue (June/July 2017) of Quilting Arts as a guide for a curriculum of adventurous exploration.
We’ll start with creating intentions for the week and embellishing mini prayer flags as guided by Karen Michel. Next, we’ll dry tea bags to use in creating Libby Williamson’s miniature stitched books and banners. After that, we’ll move on to dyeing, stamping, and printing fabrics with the skillful guidance of Rose DeBoer, Lynn Krawczyk, and Susan Purney Mark. Lastly, we’ll use fabrics to make blocks for a group quilt. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I think we’ll all be inspired and invigorated, even without the hot dogs and s’mores.
Tell us about your own artful adventures this summer on Facebook and create along with us at Camp Quilting Arts! Join the fun by leaving comments below and uploading pictures to our member galleries. That way, we can all be “Happy Campers!”