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Students Collaborate to Create Quilt Project

Photo shows a paper quilt made up of squares created by all students at Grand Ridge

A huge, colorful quilt graces the hallway at Grand Ridge Elementary School, where students (and even some staff members) had the chance to create a piece of the collaborative art project. Inspired by traditional quilt patterns but made out of paper, the project was created by Grand Ridge’s more than 600 students, and pieced together by volunteers. 

“Late last year, our Art Committee was trying to find a collaborative art project to show how we are coming back together again this year after the time spent apart or in virtual everything,” said Tara Sengamalay, parent and PTSA volunteer. Sengamalay had seen a similar project on an art blog that she follows, and made a note as inspiration for future projects, she said. 

The quilt project was displayed at Blakely Hall and is now back at Grand Ridge. 

Fellow Grizzly parent and PTSA volunteer Janan Guillaume said that since the start of the school year, they have focused on making sure that art is part of the students’ experiences even when volunteers were unable to go into the classroom. "This has been accomplished primarily in the form of grade-specific projects done each month with the teacher learning the way,” Guillaume said. “This collaboration piece was a wonderful way to bring all of that energy and creativity together around the same project to kick off the New Year. And the outcome was incredible.” 

Sengamalay said she thought this project would be a great one because it would be relatively simple and most classrooms already had scissors and glue on hand. The PTSA ordered origami paper with different colors on each side. Students were given two to three sheets of the colored paper and one white square to create their “quilt square” on. Drawing inspiration from the blog post, they featured quilt artist Libs Elliott for the students to learn from. 

Then, Sengamalay and another Art Committee Volunteer, Kathryn Pilapil, sorted the squares by color and worked to create a gradient. All of the student art is interspersed in the finished product. 

“As you can see there are all different interpretations of the quilt square and all abilities of cutting shown,” Sengamalay said. “I honestly have no idea how much time it all took, but it was quite a bit more than I had anticipated.  Kathryn and I spent the better part of a week meeting for several hours at a time to put it all together for the final product.” 

“I don't want to speak for the entire group, but I am pretty proud of the way it turned out.  I think everyone was pleasantly surprised by how vibrant and impressive it looks when it is all put together,” she continued. “Of course, with all first-time project attempts, we learned some lessons along the way (should we ever do it again), but as we hung it at school and saw the kids' faces looking for their little part of a big, beautiful puzzle when they walked down the hall, I think the collaboration project worked really well!”