Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 3, 2004

Lester Prairie artist enjoys teaching with textiles

By Heidi Stutelberg

From teaching students about paper mache to sewing Renaissance Festival costumes for family and friends, Ann Jorgenson has developed her artistic talent into a diverse range of textile art.

Jorgenson volunteers as the art club teacher at the Lester Prairie Elementary School.

During this past school year, she has taught a class of up to 20 students, grades four through six, a variety of art projects, from paper making to finger knitting.

At each class, which has been meeting twice a month, Jorgenson brings a project or two for the kids to try.

“Kids are so fun,” Jorgenson said, adding that she really enjoys teaching that age group.

The students give her surprises, such as the when she wasn’t sure how the boys would react to the finger knitting project. “It was really fun for the boys as well as the girls,” she said.

Some of the boys felt they couldn’t put it down once they got the hang of it, she said.

Jorgenson has also volunteered in her daughter Kathryn’s classes, now in second grade, and with art adventures, a one-month educational art program sponsored by CAPP and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

She brought posters of works of art, from oil paintings to wax carvings, to the elementary classes and discussed them with the students.

Jorgenson also brought an art project for them to do as well that taught the students even more with a hands-on approach.

She’s been able to expose the students to a variety of artistic materials through the Art Adventures program and the Art Club.

This past week, Jorgenson’s art club project was paper mache.

The kids enjoyed the mess, tearing up paper and getting their hands into the gooey paste that she made.

“Sometimes there’s a lot of cleaning,” Jorgenson said about the art projects.

This summer she is looking forward to designing more Renaissance Festival costumes, since she and her husband, Jim, work and take their daughter, Kathryn, each weekend to the festival.

For the past several years, the couple has been working for a toy maker at the festival, which is where Jorgenson and Jim first met about 12 years ago. Since they both enjoy woodworking, Jorgenson and Jim make wooden toys, swords and shields and help sell them at the festival. In previous festivals, Jorgenson has played the part of a gypsy, and has sold clothing and art at the Renaissance Festival.

When Jorgenson isn’t volunteering in the community, she’ll be teaching herself hardanger embroidery, crocheting, as well as experimenting with paper making, stained glass, hand-spinning wool, weaving, making jewelry and knitting.

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