Healthy Bodies = Healthy Minds!

North Carolina fiber artist, Peg Gignoux, recently completed a week-long Arts Residency with Cavendish Town Elementary School's Kindergarten, First and Second Graders.

The textile arts residency was designed to get students involved in an integrated arts activity in which they celebrate the multiple ways that Healthy Bodies = Healthy Minds, a theme being featured at CTES this year. The students, under Peg's guidance, each created a beautiful quilted fabric place mat that shows a plate filled with their favorite healthy foods.

The residency began with Peg presenting the students with a large, fabric book that was created by her students at Elon College for CTES.

The fabric in the book was hand dyed, cut and pieced together into delightful pages illustrating the original story Finishing Touches. The story is set in the Vermont landscape, in a garden in which Herbi, a chive, is anxious to sprout from the earth to nourish the growth of humans as a finishing touch on a baked potato. It is beautifully done and is of heirloom quality.

Upon viewing this, the students were then inspired to design and create their own fabric place mats.

Each child was given a fabric mat and chose a fabric plate on which they could place their favorite fabric vegetables, fruits and cheese they chose from the "market" set up in the classroom. The layers of fabric were ironed and quilted, resulting in artistic, beautiful reminders of the healthy foods they should be eating.

Peg and the students also discussed what vegetables and fruits grow in our area and read books about how daily exercise plus good eating habits make children strong and ready to learn.

The Healthy Bodies = Healthy Minds theme sprouted from the Farm-to-School program that is being initiated at CTES. On a regular basis, students and staff are being offered for lunch locally-grown food from the school garden and donated vegetables from generous community gardeners. The school has also started to invite local, guest chefs to cook and serve new and exciting food to the students as part of their lunch offerings.

This Textile Arts residency was funded with mini-grants from the Arts in Education division of the Green Mountain Festival Series.

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