Artist Amy Meissner works with Ellinore Higgins, 7, during an embroidery activity for kids Saturday, Dec.8, 2018 at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Artist Amy Meissner works with Ellinore Higgins, 7, during an embroidery activity for kids Saturday, Dec.8, 2018 at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Art with a point: Kids sew at Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum

Artist featured in exhibit lead the course

Nearly 20 children younger than 9 clutched threaded needles, but there wasn’t one wet eye or pricked finger.

The Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum hosted a youth art activity Saturday with artist Amy Meissner, whose work is featured in the exhibit “Inheritance: Makers. Memory, Myth.,” which will be featured through Feb. 9. With plenty of supervision, children made their mark on embroidered donated antique doilies, dresser scarves and other cloths.

“Little kids are really surprisingly nimble and dexterous,” Meissner said. “These are old skills, and there’s reasons they have endured.”

“This is better than playing video games or messing with phones,” she added. “(The work) is frustrating, it’s not perfect, but it teaches them the will.”

The workshop was part of a series of youth art events held at the Andrew P. Kashevaroff building Saturdays after First Friday events.

Once children selected a cloth, they used a combination of drawing, tracing, and needle and thread to make unique keepsakes. Making use of the old cloth, which was crowdsourced over a year, was an integral part of the workshop.

Meissner said it allows children to connect with past generations, touch delicate materials they might not normally be allowed to handle and conserve materials.

“A lot of times this kind of stuff is hands-off for kids,” Meissner said. “The other thing I like about it is the intergenerational aspect of it. There could be four generations in here right now. The idea of giving something a new life is also pretty important to me.”

In some cases, the intergenerational connection was more than implied by the old cloths. A handful of parents were on hand to watch and assist with the artwork.

Most of the pieces in the morning workshop focused on animals and basic shapes, and felines were especially popular.

Solei Jordan, 5, worked on a blue cat with help from her dad, Sam.

Oscar Lamb, 6, worked on a cheetah who was surrounded by a large, green triangle.

Ona Eckerson, 5, also made a cat-centric design.

Eckerson said she was inspired by the bird that was already embroidered on the cloth.

“He’s going to catch the bird and eat it,” Eckerson said. “It’s a wild cat. How else would it eat dinner?”

For some of the children, the workshop wasn’t their first time working with needle and thread.

Lamb said he’s sewn a pillow before, and Eckerson had worked on a needlepoint bird at home.

“This is easy,” Eckerson said confidently.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


On a Eckerson, 5, works on embroidering a cat onto vintage cloth Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 during a youth art activity at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

On a Eckerson, 5, works on embroidering a cat onto vintage cloth Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 during a youth art activity at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Sam and Solei Jordan, 5, work together Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 during a youth art activity at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Sam and Solei Jordan, 5, work together Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 during a youth art activity at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

More in Home

Juneau Assembly members and other visitors examine a meeting room formerly used by the nine-member Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development on Monday, April 8, which is about 25% larger than the Assembly Chambers at City Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Of three possible new City Hall buildings, one stands out — but plenty of proposed uses for other two

Michael J. Burns Building eyed as city HQ; childcare, animal shelter among options at school sites.

The Boney Courthouse in downtown Anchorage, across the street from the larger Nesbett Courthouse, holds the Alaska Supreme Court chambers. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska judge strikes down state’s cash payments to families using correspondence school programs

Decision will become a ‘hot-button legislative item’ in final weeks of session, lawmakers say.

Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, speaks to members of the Senate majority caucus’ leadership group on Friday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Schools, university and projects across Alaska are set to receive money from new budget bill

Alaska Senate sends draft capital budget to House as work continues on a state spending plan

A fenced lot proposed as a campsite for people experiencing homelessness located next to the city’s cold weather emergency shelter, in the background, is also next door to a businesses where extensive construction is scheduled, thus prompting city leaders to rethink the proposal. (Photo by Laurie Craig)
Indefinite ‘dispersed camping’ for homeless proposed by city leaders due to lack of suitable campsite

Proposed Rock Dump site is next to long-term construction, more costly than expected, report states.

A statue of William Henry Seward stands outside the Dimond Courthouse in downtown Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau man convicted of sexual abuse of 15-year-old girl more than four years after incidents occur

JPD: Randy James Willard, 39, sent explicit videos to and engaged in sexual contact with victim.

Capital Transit buses stop at the Valley Transit Center on Thursday. Two bus routes serving areas of the Mendenhall Valley and near the airport will temporarily be discontinued starting April 22 due to lack of staff. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Capital Transit temporarily suspending two Mendenhall Valley routes due to shortage of drivers

Officials hope to fix situation by July; extra tourist buses also scaled back due to fleet shortage.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, watches as the tally board in the Alaska House of Representatives shows the vote against House Joint Resolution 7 on Thursday. Eastman supported the amendment. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House votes down constitutional guarantee for Permanent Fund dividend

Guarantee had been discussed as part of long-term plan to bring state expenses in line with revenue.

Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer and co-chair of the House Finance Committee, speaks Thursday on the House floor about the state’s operating budget. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House passes draft state budget amid warnings that state spending doesn’t balance

Changes during floor debate include $9M by Rep Andi Story, D-Juneau, for youth reading program.

Most Read