SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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36 MAY 2019 SchoolArts T extiles are all around us. The craft of making them and the functionality of using them can provide both a challenge and an opportunity for the art teacher. Almost any student can find an access point for creating a functional object. The ubiquity of textiles pro- vides comfort for the reticent student and a challenge for the confident. Start Small If you are new to textile media, weav- ing on a frame loom is a great lesson to begin with. I taught this lesson to an after-school group of six- to twelve- year-olds. The goal was to introduce students to weaving, enabling them to make a functional piece they could invest in. I developed a project that would require a small amount of weaving and wouldn't be overwhelm- ing to first-time weavers. Why Weaving? Weaving is an ancient craft with mod- ern appeal. It facilitates the develop- ment of focus as well as fine motor skills. The repetitive process of weav- ing is not only soothing and creative, but good for the mind, too, as crossing midline stimulates the brain as the shuttle passes from the right hand to the left and back again. Rhythm and timing in a textile project are often very different than in a drawing or painting lesson. Weaving also pro- vides students with an experiential understanding of how textiles were made in the past and into today. Providing Context I introduced this project with a slide- show of traditional weaving around the world. Then I brought the focus back to students' experiences with textiles and weaving. We looked at physical examples of textiles and talked about how they thought the clothes they were wearing were made. Many students loved sharing their family history of textile skills. I learned whose grandmother sewed and whose mother couldn't sew on a button. With older students, I would suggest continuing this discussion as it relates to the sustainability of the textile industry and environmen - tal issues. 1. Preparing the Loom For younger students, I warped the looms before they arrived so they could begin weaving right away. Stu- dents first explored color combina- tions with short pieces of yarn woven into the warp. 2. Plain Weave Using their chosen color designs, stu- dents started a necklace with plain weave (over, under, over, under). To avoid draw-in (the sides of the weav- ing shrinking inward as they weave), students learned to avoid pulling on the yarn and to leave a small amount of slack in the yarn. 3. Finishing Off the Loom When the weaving was completed, the project was removed from the loom and the extra "tails" of yarn were Carrie Miller The repetitive process of weaving is not onl oothing and creative, but good for the mind, too. A L L L E V E L S TAKING ON TEXTILES

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