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Jellyfish, orcas and sharks! Oh My!

Janet Osborne’s Manchester Elementary School third-graders show off their hand-drawn art next to a table of completed quilt pieces. - Aaron Burkhalter / Staff Photo
Janet Osborne’s Manchester Elementary School third-graders show off their hand-drawn art next to a table of completed quilt pieces.
— image credit: Aaron Burkhalter / Staff Photo

Click here to see a slideshow of the students’ artwork

Students of Janet Osborne’s third grade class at Manchester Elementary worked amid piles of fabric, sheets and scraps of every color littering the tables. On two large tables shoved together, a grid of their hand-drawn artwork shows what will eventually become a quilt.

Long-time quilters Sarajane Rants and Madeleine Fraley are working with the students to create a large, colorful quilt showing different creatures from the Puget Sound.

Rants enjoys building quilts with the students, and wanted to build something based on a documentary she viewed, called “Return of the Plankton.”

Each student took on a different animal, so when it’s all pieced together the quilt will have everything from orcas and sharks to jellyfish and geoducks.

Students first drew their animals on sheets of paper, then took sheets of adhesive-reinforced fabric and cut shapes to match. The drawings, fit for a refrigerator, are spruced up with designer fabric, fit for a gallery hanging.

Rants and Fraley spend several days each week working with the students, and once every square is completed, the two will embark on piecing each piece together to make a larger display.

It’s not the first school-based quilt project for Rants, but she said it’s the most ambitious. She’s trying out newer, interesting fabrics, and taking on three-dimensional displays as well.

The jellyfish’s tentacles ripple across the quilt square, and some of the plant life has plumes made from old costume material.

Manchester Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Lightbody said the quilt will be hung up at the school, but may first go on display elsewhere.

“It might be borrowed by environmental agencies or friends of Puget Sound so they might enjoy it and share it with other students,” she said, suggesting the Poulsbo Marine Science Center as one of the agencies. “Something along those lines would be fun.”

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