SchoolArts Magazine

October 2017

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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44 OCTOBER 2017 SchoolArts T he use of embroidery and other sewing techniques carries a cer - tain nostalgia—a remembrance of simpler times (some of you may remember as a child watching your grandmother embroider for hours). As a high-school art teacher, I began using thread as a medium sev- eral years ago. I wanted something new—something different, a medium many had never even touched. Throughout the past few years, this project has become a favorite of my AP students. When I introduce this lesson, I encourage students to have an open mind and consider the rep- resentational qualities of the thread. Students are instructed to create a portrait and incorporate thread into some element of the piece. Communicating with Thread Students are given a variety of exam- ples and options for their portraits. They can use the thread as a direct medium to create the portrait or use the thread more indirectly. Thread can represent so many different emotions and ideas. For example, leaving the thread loosely hanging off the surface can convey a sense of instability or fragility, whereas if a student chose to use the thread in long, angular stiches, it may create shape or a sense of movement. Students may also choose to build up multiple layers of small stiches to create value and depth. Surface Choice Students must also decide on what kind of surface they want to work with. Many decide to go the more traditional route and use a quilting hoop, while others use canvases or paper. I challenge them to choose a surface that will further reflect their concept. Encourage them to go to the fabric or craft store, roam the isles H I G H S C H O O L Mary Musick THE POETRY OF Thread Left: Paige W. Fabric-wrapped canvas, oil paint. Each color of thread sewn to the face represents a personality trait. Right: The student mentioned in this article decided to use the back side of her canvas (left) rather than the front (right) for display.

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