Make A Wish Project

I have been recently contacted by the "Make A Wish Foundation of Connecticut" to assist them in a project to make a Sensory Room for a very special child. It is their mission to provide this little girl with a room that is filled with textural objects that will help her to connect to her family and others in her life. She has been challenged with a disability that makes this difficult for her make these connections.

The foundation did a Google search for Textile Artists and my name came up. My task will be to make tactile figures that can be mounted onto her wall that represent her with her mother, father and sister.

I have enlisted some help from a few fiber art friends to complete this task in the next couple of months. I will be documenting my progress here:

We are Creative Fiber Art. We have been together for more than 6 years now and meet for special projects and travel to exhibits in our region for better understanding of Fiber Art. Eleanor, Judy, Janice, Sharon, Cher, and Cheryl.

This begins much like making a mural. I am starting with dad who must be about 30 inches tall. I will have to draw my figure in approximate proportion to the human body, even though it will look more like a cartoon. Good thing I saved all those drawings from my skeletal anatomy class for artists. From my drawings I can make a cartoon from planning paper to cut out my pattern . This will go through several stages before I pass it on to my partners.

Dad figure is now put into proportion, being 30 inches tall. He is on my planning paper at this point and that makes it easier to make adjustments before any fabric is cut. The addition of clothing for this figure will make him much more substantial. One more figure will be traced onto a more stable paper that can be placed onto fabric and cut out, once all final adjustments are made. But for now, I will be moving on to the Mom figure who will be drawn onto the planning paper. Even though this will be cartoon figures, I want them to be somewhat realistic to the actual people. That is the whole idea for the Sensory therapy. So that the child can connect to her family in time.

This is the next stage of the planning for the family project. The father figure is about 30 inches tall, mother about 27, sister about 18 and wish child about 15 inches tall. From here, I will be making patterns from freezer paper, which will be much more sturdy. There may be more adjustments.

I have now made templates from freezer paper that can be ironed onto my flesh fabric. I cut this out for the next step. Painting the faces on to the mannekin.

The faces are of father, mother, sister and Wish Child. I was provided with photos of this family to get the general sense of how they looked and dressed. So, this is my cartoon type faces that will be fused to the already cut out mannekins. They will soon be ready for my team to work on dressing them. We have scheduled an all day workshop for this project in August.

Final prep before the workshop. I fused the faces onto the mannekin and placed a cotton backing behind the figure. This will hopefully give the image more tactile depth when we sew the clothing onto it.

The figure with the front and middle are now placed on the stabilizer. I use black peltex for this. Peltex is sort of like a very stiff but flexible felt. It is acrylic. I use it for many projects with my textile art and know it's properties. This will make everything sturdy and can be glued to a final substrate at the other end of this project. My team is now back from vacations and we will start on this next week. The final step will be done by myself and another fiber artist. We will make hair out of yarn. This project can be seen on Off The Wall Fridays

Creative Fiber Art is a group of 5 fiber artists who work together on projects and travel together to exhibits and other art events. I am a member of this group and was so grateful to get their help in completing the Make A Wish Project. We meet at a members house where we have all the room we need to arrange our elements. 
Sharon is our youngest member. She is also our driver when we go on road trips. I knew she would be a big help because her specialty is making clothing. She was attracted to an extra small infant dress that seemed to be just the right size for our Make A Wish child. I think it was the bright yellow color that attracted her. 

Cheryl volunteers at a thrift shop and brought most of the items we used for this project. Especially the denim baby trousers. These had to be augmented to fit our mannekins. 

Janice decided to dress the mother figure and found a very feminine pair of baby jeans. She matched it up with a pink blouse. 

Eleanor is our host for this event and makes sure we have everything we need to start, before she starts working on the sister mannekin. She decided to make her a ballerina. 

I'm Judy. I was the contact person for the Make A Wish Foundation who designed the project and made the mannekins. I am now supervising the project and taking photos. 

Eleanor is doing the machine work, while the rest of us are hand stitching. 

Sharon is really enjoying working on this little girl. 

She decided to make some boots with buttons on them 

And here she is. All ready for the hair. 

Cheryl has brought a small belt with a buckle on it. She cuts down the jeans for the father figure and places the small belt in place. She redesigns a small baby shirt to fit. 

Dad is looking good and Cheryl makes some boots out of leather scraps. 

Waiting now for his hair. 

Sister is sporting a pair of bloomers,  just waiting for her Tutu. 

A tie dye tee shirt used with a Tutu skirt.

The next step will be done with Linda. She is an expert quilter and does a lot of knitting. She will help me make hair from yarn.

The Setting
Artists painted the walls of our sensory room and our figures will be part of this scene. 

This is the final member of my team, Linda. Although I know quite a bit about mixed media fiber art, I know nothing about knitting and yarns. Linda knows how to make it happen. She knits a foundation strip from some very special yarn that is made from tough acrylic fiber. This yarn is used to make little scrubby washclothes. It has ultimate texture and will hopefully hold up to a lot of touching from a small child. The main goal of this whole project is to make the dolls textural and sturdy.


This is our "Wish Child"



Father is a New York Yankees fan. Can you tell?

Creative Fiber Art making our presentation at the Ozak Piecemaker's Quilt Guild. 

As I mail off these figures to the "Make A Wish Foundation," it is our hope that this project will, in some way, help a family in need of support. This post can be seen on Off The Wall Fridays

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