Was it challenging? YES!
Did we accomplish lots? YES!
Did the Children like it? YES!
Did we all work hard? Definitely YES!
It was my first experience with teaching fiber art for a full day. I can honestly say that we all found success! Although there is always something that you might change a second time around, our week together worked out great.
The focus for this camp was felting, though I added some dyeing, weaving and knotting into the pot for a bit of diversion and added interest. The challenge was to keep the children interested and working hard while maintaining our goals and still having fun.
The KAF program required that multiple projects be completed with one major project finished before the week was up. Our week began with wet felting balls and geodes. The challenge here is for them to learn how much pressure they can apply to the wool to felt it as quickly as they can without creating folds or mis-shappen balls. As the spheres get firmer, they learn that they can apply more pressure without damage to the ball that they are creating.The children were very intrigued with the random geode designs that they created after we cut the balls open to reveal how the colors they mixed, formed a pattern. Enthused about the possibilities, they felted these little gems as long as I let them! Here are some student samples...
Next they were introduced to needle felting; a dry felting process that is done with coarser wool and special barbed needles. My children ranged from 7 - 14 year olds. As a children's art teacher, one of my biggest challenges is to teach the younger children that our tools are not toys. It is hardwired into their brain that if it exists, it is meant to be played with! Needle felting needles are not only very sharp but they are also fragile. Needle Felting is done on a foam pad so that the needles have a soft surface to go through protecting their ends from snapping should they hit a hard surface. It is also important that the needles move in an up and down motion without bending them in any way while they are pentrating the fibers or the foam. Well, let it serve to say that we went through many needles and that I constantly was finding myself reminding the children to store their needles in the foam for safety. Having said all of that though, there was no major blood loss and the children loved doing this!
We began with flat shapes using cookie cutters as a pattern. They later embellished them with eyes and other appropriate additions. Once they got the hang of the flat work, I moved them on to a 3D design of a fish. This project taught them how to add different body parts to achieve their desired design goals.
My plan was for them to take the sum of all the parts that they had created and turn them into something. I had made mobiles in my science class in high school and decided this was a perfect way to incorporate all of their creations into one. Not only did it make sense but this gave them a chance to think about design and balance. They each did a great job of creating a unique piece that I was quite proud of! As you can see from this photo, they were too! This child incorporated some braiding that he did in the after care program into his final piece.
Ok, so that brought us to mid week. Yes! All of that work in just a few days. The next days would be as productive but moved back to wet felting. Our major project was to make a felted puppet. Using a resist method and surface design, students each created very different creatures! Though they quickly learned that wet felting a larger piece takes a lot of "elbow grease", they managed to work it through to the end! Here are photos of some of their work.
And finally, a few other things that they created...
Kool - Aid Dyed Rovings Felted Bird Ornaments Felted Snakes
Now I am working in earnest on the Fiber Center Exhibition at Fryeburg Fair from OCtober 4 - 11th and the Bermuda Fibre Festival planning which will take place from November, 12th - 22nd.
Off to work!
Finally, after their puppets were done, students spent the last afternoon creating wet fetled snakes and Little bird ornaments. We also took the time to photograph their work and to let them know what a terrific job they did during camp week. I was rewarded with hugs from teh lot and even heard a remark from one that this was the best camp they had ever been too! A definite feather in my cap!
Here are a few more photos of the some things they created during their week with me :-)