Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 1 at the Steiner Institute, Autumn

So...I left my family bright and early Sunday morning to travel to Easton, Massachusetts, to the Creating Festivals with Children workshop (aka Felting through the Seasons).

When I walked into the classroom for the first time, this was the first of about a dozen nature tables that was setup around the perimeter of the room. Our teacher, Celia Riahi, has been an in-home Waldorf preschool teacher and taught at Waldorf kindergartens in both Manhattan and MA for more than 30 years.

The first day we focused on autumn and we were able to see and explore some of the items on our teacher's autumn nature table. She also talked about several autumn projects to do with children, including:
  1. thinly slicing apples sideways across the middle so that the star shows through, then cutting out the star with a star shaped cookie cutter and drying the apple slices for stringing or attaching to a wooden dowel as a wand
  2. wrapping wool around a small stone and felting, then sewing streamers to the back of the ball and needlefelting a star to the front of the ball to make shooting stars
  3. dipping leaves (or even small branches with leaves) into melted paraffin or beeswax to preserve longer on the nature table.

The following pumpkin was felted over a plastic wiffle ball then the top cut open and the holes cut to make him a jack-o-lantern. She told us a small story she wrote about the mouse and the pumpkin.

In my garden grows a pumpkin
orangy and gold.
Along came a little mouse
so the story goes.
Nibble, nibble went the mouse;
'til the pumpkin was a house:
two small windows
and a door
and lots of feathers on the floor.
There the mouse slept well, I know,
even when it began to snow.
(or "even when the cold winds blow"
if you live in a non-snowy area, like me)

The Autumn Prince was our main project for today. We made him by first felting the ball head, then wrapping a small layer of felt over a pipe cleaner for his arms. Then we wrapped many layers of wool around his head and arms, layering down to his body. After the body was the right size, we chose autumn-colored roving to make his clothes. I also chose to add an acorn decoration to his shirt, and some of us (including myself) chose to make a cape for his shoulders. Mine is gold with layers of orange, green and red sparcely on top and leaves adorning the edges.

Another huge component of this workshop, for me, is the wonderful food served here. Nearly all organic and many local foods make this a feast for the eyes and the palate.

Breakfast: fruit salad, granola, yogurt, whole grain bread with almond butter and blueberry jam

Lunch: veg chili over brown rice, garden salad, beets and carrots

Dinner: living lasagne, garden salad, green beans with slivered almonds, quinoa

Next up, we'll be discussing winter festivals tomorrow. I'll keep you posted as I can. :)


  1. So glad to hear you're having fun! It sounds like a fantastic workshop for getting your creative juices flowing.

    I love the acorns on your little man's shirt. I also loved the first picture of you and your daughter.

  2. That looks like so much fun! I can't wait to see all you've learned (although I still think that maybe the felting needles are not my calling...) Enjoy!

  3. How exciting to see the photos of this seminar so quickly after your arrival, yay! It looks like a wonderful place to be! I can't wait to hear more : ) What a great birthday gift Joy!

  4. Your Autumn Prince is wonderful, Joy. I have tried a number of times to do 'posable' arms, just can't get it right *sigh*... their hands end up HUGE! Yours looks great, can't wait to see what you do tomorrow.

  5. How wonderful Joy! You must be in your element... Such wonderful ideas... The nature table ideas are lovely, I love the pumpkin and your Autumn Prince is so beautiful! Your food looks so stunning too. Enjoy, I can't wait to hear about winter.



  6. oh wow!! so much to learn! thank you so much for sharing it all with us! i can't wait to see what you learn tomorrow!! <3 i hope you're havign a great tiem and enjoying your wonderful birthday present!

  7. Thank you for sharing what you're learning at the workshop. It looks like you're having a wonderful time and learning so much.

  8. Can I just come for the food? That looks divine!

  9. So glad you're having such a great time! I'm sure everyone is doing fine at home. :)

  10. Joy, this is just fabulous! What fun this must have been. I went to a waldorf conference in California in the fall of 2007 and it was one of the best things I've EVER done for myself. I am sooo pleased you were able to attend this one! :)


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