Seven students joined museum staff for seven days for an intensive learning experience in July. From Field to Fashion was a summer learning camp for Junior High students of Nacogdoches Independent School District. A cooperative project funded with a grant from NISD, the camp gave students time to learn and practice textile production skills from early East Texas, including carding, spinning, weaving and dyeing of cotton and wool fiber. Students commented on how they not only learned a new skill, but also the importance of practice and perseverance:
I enjoyed it because I got to make my own yarn. The hardest part of spinning is connecting another piece of wool to the piece you already have. –Karen
Yes, I do think I might do this again because not always will you have someone to do it for you. I noticed that you have to be patient to be able to do something like this. –Andy
Over the two-week period, students explored the museum’s textile collections, kept an interactive journal and watched a demonstration by a local spinner, Kathy Clay. The hands-on experience was enriched with excerpts from 19th century diaries and other primary documents that relate experiences of early Texans. Check out the students’ daily blog of activities, including video diaries and movies.