SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2013

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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Middle School Studio Lesson The Tradition of the Toran Victoria L. Gadecki I with mirrors as well. Most torans n India, decorative door hangings have a distinct shape to them—the top called torans serve as welcome section is a rectangle and the bottom flags. They hang above storefronts sections are triangles that hang down, and homes to bring in prosperity. representing mango leaves, which are People also use torans to announce quite plentiful the changing of People use torans to and revered in seasons, to celIndia. ebrate a birth, to announce the changing of honor festivals, seasons, to celebrate a birth, Understanding to welcome the to honor festivals, to welcome In class, I gods, and to welthe gods, and to welcome showed students come people into people into their homes. photographs I their homes. I had taken of first came across torans while in India. I also showed torans while I was touring the Calico them the torans I had purchased there. Museum of Textiles in Ahmedabad. We discussed the appliqué techniques Torans are made using a variety artisans used to make the torans and of methods including appliqué, compared and contrasted the two embroidery, paint on fabric, crochet, torans I had purchased. or beadwork, and may be decorated I discussed the purposes of torans in India and their history, then I asked students to think of other ways they could decorate their own torans. Designs on Paper Before allowing students to begin designing their torans, I displayed all of the materials on a table for the class to see what was available to use. I gave very few instructions so that students could be imaginative in their designs of patterns and use of symbols. I gave each student a 20 x 40" (51 x 101 cm) piece of white bulletin board paper to use to sketch out the outline of his or her toran. I also had several books on India and Hinduism available for students to look through in order to get ideas. I explained that typical rectangular torans in India are 8½ x 39" (22 x 99 cm) with several 7½ x 5½" (19 x 14 cm) triangular shaped pieces that hang down from the larger piece. Students drew their designs on their papers, some choosing to draw geometric designs, and others choosing to tell a story. Examples included drawings of Harappan seals, felt cutContinued on page 45. schoolartsonline.com 29

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