Gudrun Koller’s Angel Tapestries
The children themselves brought me to it ten years ago through the initiative of a young boy: “There was a dead man in front of our door. The police came. Please draw me an Angel; I want to embroider it.” In the school these children have so many lessons of “instruction” and little time for digestion. In order for the parents to be able to work, blocks were set up with afternoon child care, because the maximum time for lessons for first graders was eighteen hours. So instead we work – usually daily – on these embroidery pictures. The picture’s design is put on burlap with wax crayons and then stretched onto a wooden frame. The work can then begin with thick embroidery needles and many colors. The children are free to choose the kind of stitches. Since embroidery is not part of the school curriculum at this age level, I have to pay for all the materials myself. Actually I came to this project because I was desperately looking for something meaningful for the children to do on these long school days. Otherwise they often get bored, aggressive, and difficult. With an artistic activity like embroidery they become quiet inwardly, and a very beautiful atmosphere in the classroom is created.
Zelihe, Kosovo, 8 years old, 1994, The Angel Protects
Zelihe lives with her family in the political asylum home. They have been turned out three times. Much protection is needed.
“The Angel protects the mother. The Angel child protects the baby. The house protects. Sun and moon protect. Even the dog helps.”
After many years, when father and child bring the embroidery to the exhibition, he thanks me for my work: “Zelihe learned a lot from you. Now we have immigration papers and we can stay.”
Faton, Kosovo, 8 years old, 1997, Flower-Angel
My Angel has a sun-heart and mighty wings. He takes the light to the flowers. He touches them with his shiny legs; he does not need arms.
Manuela, Italy, 9 years old, 1993, All Roses and Seven Angels Protect the God-Child
Manuela’s little sister says: “You have to make a bed for the baby; his mother cannot hold him all the time.” We make it.
Miguel, Portugal, 8 years old, 1992, Mary with the Little King
Mehmet, Turkey, 7 years old, 1997, Michael with the Dragon
This Angel has four wings– two above and two below. “When Michael thrusts his sword into the head of the dragon, he gets a second head at his tail.” The Angel does not look at the dragon.
Sabrina, Switzerland, 9 years old, 1995, Angel-Voyage
The child is in the dragon ship. The dragon spits fire. The Angel gives the child a red rose. Then it is not afraid anymore. The stars show the way in the night.
Paul, Guadalupe, 8 years old, 1990, The Face of the Angel Is Invisible.
It is too light. The heart is also light. The conquered dragon slinks away.
Angelo, Italy, 7 years old, 1997
My Angel has fire in his stomach. He is fire.
“A Gallery of Gudrun Koller’s Tapestries” is reprinted with kind permission of AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America). It was published in the Waldorf Journal Project #5. To see the full journal, just click here.