Art teaching insights from Jaime Hilaski

Schoolcraft’s Artists of the Week Oct. 10-14 included (clockwise from the top) Sienna Lego, Jason Rathburn, Caleb Aethyr, and Heidi Sheen .

By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

An interview with Jaime Hilaski, Schoolcraft art teacher

Some background from Jaime: This is my 10th year teaching in Schoolcraft. I teach the following classes: 6th grade art, 7th grade art, at the High School level Art I, Art II, Portfolio, and Yearbook.  

How do you guide young artists?
I believe that students should be able to explore their own artistic style and voice. I try to give student choice in the medium and subject matter in many projects so students can make decisions based on interests, past experiences, and confidence levels. I believe the art room should be a safe space and my hope is that students find art as a way to relieve stress and find a new passion. 

What skills do you teach?
At the high school level, students are introduced to various mediums such as clay, graphite, colored pencil, acrylic and watercolor, charcoal, collage and sculpture. Within each of these mediums, students learn foundational skills to build their confidence so they can make choices throughout the year that encourage their own growth in a medium or technique. 

What do students enjoy most?  
I have found over the years students love anything with clay and papier mâché. They also enjoy printmaking by carving rubber blocks to create their designs. 

Have your students entered competitions?
We have been a part of the Vans Custom Culture Contest four times. This is an art competition where selected schools are given blank pairs of Vans shoes to design to specific themes. The last time we were in the competition we made top 50 out of 500 schools. I also have students participate in the KIA High School Area Show. 

What is the most rewarding part of teaching art?
It’s the relationships I build with my students. I have the luxury of being with many of them from 6th grade to their senior year. I get to see their growth and their successes. In the art room, students open up and share a lot of emotions and storytelling in their pieces. I feel lucky to be able to be here to support them in their journey.

Breaking up is hard to do

By Marilyn Jones, Schoolcraft’s Poet Laureate

That was the title of an old song
Her boyfriend had moved on, you see,
The singer was crying the blues
But Honey, there are more fish in the sea.

I broke up with pantyhose
They made my legs look smooth,
To get a sleek look, I wiggled and squirmed
It took lots of effort to get in the groove.

Now we wear knee-highs with slacks
They tell me that bare legs are in style,
Don’t forget to shave your legs
If you are planning to beguile.

I left Toni … the guy with the home perms
Girls had to have a curly hair style,
Now, all ages brush it out straight
No bobby-pins or rollers, make me smile.

Grandma had a mending box
To buy new, we didn’t have the means,
She could have saved herself the trouble
Stores now sell holes and rips in our jeans.

Is your ironing collecting dust?
Thank goodness for wash and wear clothes,
On Tuesdays I used to iron all day
What will they think of next … who knows?

When’s the last time you made donuts?
Rolling the dough, cutting the holes?
Now we just drive to the bakery
And purchase a bag of delicious rolls.

So many necessities have disappeared
Yes, breaking up is hard to do,
But one thing I’ll never relinquish
Is my lasting friendship with you.

Schoolcraft Library calendar

Kirk Bergland, quilter.
  • Tuesdays, 10-10:30 a.m. Tot Time, 18 to 36 months.
  • Tuesdays, 11-11:30 a.m. Story Hour for all ages. Registration required. 
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2-3 p.m. Book Club, “The Diamond Eye” by Kate Quinn.
  • Wednesday Nov. 9, 5:30-7 p.m. Open House for local quilter Kirk Bergland.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 7, 1:30-3 p.m. Book Club, “Switchboard Soldiers” by Jennifer Chaverini. Also, our yearly White Elephant Party during the same hours!!  Bring an anonymous gift wrapped for the holidays!  Snacks provided.

Quilter Kirk Bergland, joining us Nov. 9, was born in Burbank, California and grew up in Van Nuys. His needlework hobbies began in his teens with beadwork he stitched on native American costumes and moccasins. The art of quilting was soon to follow.

Shortly after he married his wife Kelly, the couple moved to Santa Clarita, California. Kirk joined the local quilt guild. Along with creating award-winning quilts and coordinating events and promotions for the organization, he began teaching math concepts through quilting at his children’s elementary school. For many years, Kirk devoted two Fridays each month to third through sixth grade classes. Affectionately known as “Mr. B,” he worked with each class as they designed and stitched their creations. The quilts were then presented to their teachers for classroom display.

Kirk and Kelley moved to Schoolcraft nine years ago. He has spent those years showing and sharing his work. He is lovingly finishing a quilt his wife’s mother started, as well as working to complete a LARGE pile of UFO’s…unfinished projects. 

Kirk’s work is quite varied in style, color and pattern. Each piece tells its own story. Kirk says, “Whether stitched by hand or machine, it is love that holds a quilt together.”