Pathways to Knowledge was conceived and facilitated by Valerie Stein and Debie Frable, and created by staff, students and parent volunteers who worked from February to July, 2006, to make it a reality.
Here is the whole story:
Pathways to Knowledge: an all-school community project
Soundview School, Lynnwood, WA
Valerie Stein and Debie Frable, designers.
January, 2006-July 2006
The Pathways to Knowledge project started when Debie Frable, art teacher at Soundview School, and Valerie Stein, feltmaker (and librarian at Soundview) got together and started discussing all-school art projects.
Stein had facilitated many community weavings at various events, but had long dreamed of a project using felt. As it turned out, this was an idea which allowed for an amazing range of skill levels to participate; kids from 4 years old to adults in their 70’s were able to contribute significantly to what has became a very beautiful piece.
Frable and Stein taught art classes from 3rd grade to 8th grade how to make the soft “prefelts” from which shapes could be cut. Older students then helped younger ones to cut leaves for the tree and created the trunk and other components. In addition to cutting their own leaves, staff were invited to create the stones for the pathways leading to this tree. Parent volunteers and others crucial to the Soundview community also cut leaves for the tree. Several felting parties were held to complete the felting process. The piece is now ready to be finished and backed, and will hang in the school’s library, a focal point for the Soundview community.
The symbolism which is represented in the tree is that knowledge grows as we work and learn together; the pathways are the ways in which the Soundview staff leads its students to that knowledge, and through this experience of travelling the path, everyone grows – students, staff, and families.