Beautiful Oops Fabric Project

At the first gathering of students in Amelia Bacon’s after school fabric arts class, she read the book, Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg.  She told the kids that “oops” was going to happen in our class and one of the rules is that they wouldn’t be throwing projects out and beginning again.  At the time, Amelia doesn’t think her students knew what she  meant.

Their first project involved weaving fabric into cardboard and then mixing their own paint colors to paint the cardboard. They will be adding some painting with1-IMG_0104 gadgets next week but that project just involved some work to figure out weaving and some thinking to mix colors.

The next project was school glue batik.  And the oopses really began to happen. One girl was making scallop-like lines across her fabric and then the lines became less regular and she turned to Amelia and said, “I want to start over.”  Amelia just put her hands up in an “oh well” type of message and said, “Remember I told you we wouldn’t be throwing things out to start over.  Figure out how to make your oops beautiful.” (And she did, here is the final result.)erika

Another younger student was painting blue stripes carefully over the batik lines and then dipped the sponge brush into water to clean off some of the paint.  He didn’t realize how much water those brushes hold and when he put it down on the fabric, his blue went everywhere.  Amelia could tell he was dismayed as he went and got a load of paper towels to stop the flow.  Shy by nature he wasn’t sure how to express his disappointment or ask for advice. 1-IMG_0110

“You just encountered an oops,” she said to him.  “I think you’re really going to like how it turns out.”

At the following session Amelia put their dried batiks on the wall and asked who experienced a beautiful oops. Almost everyone could point to something as an oops and tell what they had done or not done about it.  And as they moved on into another hour involving painting on fabric, she heard several say, “oops!”  And one of them added, “but I will make it beautiful!”

For more information, visit Amelia’s site here.


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Beautiful Oops! The book that inspired the program

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Barney Saltzberg Barney Saltzberg captivates audiences at schools, libraries, and bookstores where he draws pictures, plays his guitar, and talks about the creative process behind books and songs.

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When you think you have made a mistake think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful!