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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Elementary Studio Lesson The Silk Road to China Angela Winters M aking connections across Preparing Frames I built reusable wood frames using the curriculum enriches inexpensive 1 x 2" (2.5 x 5 cm) pine, the learning experience screwing corners together for easy and creates a memodisassembly and storage. The wood rable event for students. I wanted my frames can be stacked with ease and students to have a hands-on experido not take up too ence with silk, resists, dyes, and Students blended a variety much floor space in the artroom. They the batik process in of art techniques along also allow for easy conjunction with with new cultural and drying of the fabric. their studies about historical knowledge to I stretched 21" (53 ancient China. We began with create original works of art. cm) finished hem silk fabric hankies a field trip to the over the wooden frames using thumbChrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, tacks around the outside edge. Virginia, to see the Ancient China exhibit. We began our journey at a Creating Designs handwoven silk kimono that was on Students began the design process by display. We discussed the silk-making developing life-size line drawings of process, dyeing, weaving, design, and insects or butterflies. They used markconstruction. Students also observed ers to plan the placement of the lines textile designs from other cultures to be waxed. Students then transferred and time periods to gain an overview their drawings to the stretched silk by of the possibilities using silk, resist, simply placing their marker sketches and dye. under the stretched silk. Students drew over their lines onto Cold Wax Batik Since safety in the artroom is a priority, the silk using a cold, water-based liquid wax in a fine-tip applicator bottle. I decided we needed an alternative to (The cold wax eliminates the possithe traditional hot wax batik process. bility of burns and can be rinsed out After some research and experimentawith warm water.) While the resist tion, I developed a simplified cold wax dried, I demonstrated a variety of techbatik process for the elementary classroom. I found affordable silk, resist, and niques for dye applications including dye supplies online and frame materials use of warm and cool colors, color mixing, and wet blending on the silk. from the local hardware store. 32 May/June 2013 SchoolArts Kenneth Delai ne. I also demonstrated textural water effects as well as the use of salt, droppers, and spray bottles. Dyeing the Designs We covered the tables with newsprint and students began applying color to the silk using dye brushes. The dye application took two class periods; one day for the background and one day for the design. Most students applied the background colors using wet blending techniques. The dyes must be steam set, so this was the only part of the process that students were not able to complete for safety reasons. With the help of parent volunteers, I used an inexpensive handheld steamer to steam the silk on the wood frame. The silk was then removed from the frame and the wax resist was rinsed out by running warm water through the fabric and gently rubbing the wax out of the silk. The wet silk was placed flat on clean paper and air dried on a drying rack.

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