The Student Newspaper of Suncoast High School


Nine students use their artistic talents to promote social change.

October 21, 2020

She pounded, she pinched and she pressed. 

“Okay, that’s done,” Senior Danielle Nelson sighed. Nelson molded the first earring for her handmade clay earring set. 

She grinned. She was content with whatever progress she made, and so she subconsciously mumbled, “Now what if I sell these?” 

Unbeknownst to herself, this random thought would eventually blossom into what is now called Patchwork Artistry.

Patchwork Artistry (PA) is an art project created by Nelson, who came up with the idea on a whim and invited her friends to help make the idea a reality. PA consists of nine IB students: Nelson, Mahia Ahmed, Christina Chen, Julia de Jong, Alisha Mangar, Brianna McCalla, Victoria Perree, Julianne Rebosura and Elizabeth Tischuk.  The team creates a variety of art pieces, from clay earrings and keychains to embroidery and postcards. 

The girls take time out of their day to make these creations, and then sell them to accumulate funds that will go towards the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). PA is dedicating their efforts to the ongoing Yemen Crisis, in hopes of using their art to raise awareness and assist in relieving the effects of the political crisis on the Yemen population. 

The process for each team member differs depending on the type of art they make. Rebosura, who specializes in drawing, takes digital commissions, and does not have to worry about shipping and handling. Meanwhile, De Jong makes differently styled bracelets, and mails them to clients. 

The diverse forms of art produced by PA are a result of the great teamwork the members have. They all share a cordial relationship, which increases productivity. 

McCalla said, “For me, it’s easier to communicate with people I know, so collaborating with this group of peers [has] definitely made this easier.”

PA was a personal feat for each member and a pleasant experience to add to their lives as high-schoolers. 

Perree remarked, “This feels like an extension to our friendship, and another added experience that we can share.”

The ladies of PA work extremely hard and invest their own resources into making good products. They pay for materials and shipping, yet they still enjoy the process. They constantly remind themselves that their efforts are for a good cause. 

“Something as simple as a friendship bracelet can help spread awareness about a topic,” Mangar said. 

Though the gesture is simple, the process is not. They are often met with a busy schedule and every artist’s worst nightmare: artist’s block.

“Artist’s block can hinder creation due to a lack of motivation and a feeling of unhappiness,” Chen explained.

Mangar added, “Since school started, it has been so much harder for me to find time to make quality products.”

The quality of the art depends on the mood of the artist. Quality is chiefly critical now that the creation of art is for business purposes, and there is more pressure on the artist, since making the art is not just for self-satisfaction. PA is the girls’ productive hobby, but they must take into consideration that their art is a product this time.

“I always take into account the interests of the audience when creating my own art,” Tischuk said. 

When making art in a business manner, artists have to align their artistic vision with the public interest’s before starting any project. 

“There’s more planning involved when making a product versus a drawing that’s just for myself. In a way it limits my creativity but I’ve learned more about what kind of art other people are interested in,” Tischuk continued.  

The girls’ intention to redefine art not only as a creative process but also as a driving force for raising awareness is commendable too.

“Art can communicate a message in a palatable way,” Chen explained. “Directly exposing injustice or other dilemmas of the world may be too much to take in at once, but using art to portray these issues can show a new perspective.”

The members also decided to use PA for an International Baccalaureate (IB) requirement, their CAS project. CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) is a mandatory component in the IB program in which students document various experiences that involve use of creativity, physical exertion and community aid. The CAS project is a special experience in the CAS component whereas IB students collaborate for a unique project that benefits the community. The CAS project only lasts for a few months, but the PA team plans to continue the project.

McCalla remarked, “It’s all for a good cause and this is my way of helping others.”

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