The Black Butte School District might be one of the most far-flung of Jefferson County, but the students there are getting in on the act of the county library district's Community Read. For the past 10 years, the library district chooses a book for county residents to read and hosts a number of related activities.
This year features two books by Oregon author William Sullivan. "Searching for Coyote" recounts his journey backpacking across Oregon. "Cabin Fever" is a memoir of the adventures the author and his wife experience as they build a log cabin by hand in a wild and roadless area of the Coast Range.
Sullivan is also known for his hiking guidebooks.
One of the ways that Community Read connects with the wider Jefferson County community is by inviting quilters to create quilts inspired by the chosen books. Carol Dixon, Black Butte School lead teacher, is a quilter as well as a creative teacher of language arts. She was contacted by the Jefferson County library district and invited to involve her students in Community Read by way of creating a quilt based on scenes revealed in Cabin Fever.
The school is at capacity with 24 students, fairly evenly divided between two classrooms. The "olders" are students in grades 4-6. The "youngers" are K-3. The art for 12 of the quilt squares was created by pairing an older with a younger. After reading the book to the students, Dixon presented a selection of scenes to the olders and had them choose which one they would work on with their younger partner.
"It was a lot of fun working on the quilt. I especially enjoyed working with a kindergartner," said sixth-grader Tasman Rheuben.
"Almost all picked different scenes," said Dixon.
The double-ups were resolved with a bit of negotiating.
One scene depicts the effort of rowing across the river while towing a steer. The steer ended up swimming ahead and towing the rowboat. Another scene shows a beaver raiding Sullivan's underwater "refrigerator."
As the pairs of students collaborated, the olders interpreted the ideas of the youngers and came up with drawings that Dixon translated into fabric. She remained true to the pictures, transferring color, quirks and personality from paper to fabric.
"I love how the quilt turned out with all the pictures colored into fabric. It's beautiful," said fifth-grader Jessi Glanz.
The finished quilt will hang in Madras at Art Adventure Gallery for the month of April. Sullivan is slated to visit the school on April 22 and hike with the students.