Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shibori Dyeing on Silk with Children

Good Morning!

I have been gifted a teacher's dream! A group of 8-10 yr olds that are focused, interested and enthused about what we do in my classroom!
I had planned to follow the lesson plan for the younger children with this group but their maturity, interest level and focus made it feel like they needed to do more. I ended up adjusting my lesson plan to a lesson in Shibori dyeing on silk and used the real deal acid dyes and they did a stellar job. No spills, no messes, clean hands and clothes, and beautiful scarves to take home!
I began with safety issues and the differences between acid dyes and fiber reactive dyes. I only recently have gotten involved in more dyeing so have been learning along the way as well. They were asked to consider their color choices and how it might affect the patterns they would be creating as they experimented with color and unwrapped their surprises in the end. We were able to use the newly donated microwave to set the dyes which worked out perfectly! There were no disappointments on this day............
I have found that dissappointments come with expectations. Unless one is a master at what he does, expectations can often lead to unhappiness. That doesn't mean that we can not aspire to better things, but as we are learning, experimenting  and challenging ourselves with new tasks, we can not possibly know outcome. Instead, attempting to know outcome is what we strive for. It is often said that there are no mistakes in art. I believe that to be true. However, I do believe there are mistakes in technique.
The classes and lessons that I pass on in my classes are primarily about technique; learning how to use the tools of an art so that one if interested, might practice it. It is with practice and experimentation that we progress to become masters who might be able to successfully predict outcome. But, any artist will tell you that some of their finest moments have come with "'mistakes" for incredible outcome.
Shibori dyeing to achieve a certain pattern or outcome is all about practice. It's about learning how the dye bleeds into the voids when using different application methods, it's about learning to understand how colors react to one another. It's also about learning that sometimes less is more in the final design.
These students had a terrific time experimenting! They watched and exclaimed as they combined colors to create new ones. Several chose to create specific patterns with fewer colors while others were taken by trying as much colors as possible and you can see their affects in the photos.
A good time was had by all and their hope is to repeat this process again another day.
OH, so many lessons........ so little time :-)
Once our dye projects were completed, we returned to drop spindle spin practice and I have at least one student who has figured out this challenging skill. Dexterity is paramount. The ability to multi task by coordinating several things at once is not always easy. But, she is already with just a few hours of time, spinning a fine yarn and managing the feed without getting it tangled and has also learned to add to the roving without assistance. Brilliant! The others are coming along as well and I expect that within the next few classes will be in a similar place with it. The spindles will be available for practicing during luls in class or with extra time before class begins. I never had any expectation of teaching anyone to successfully spin on a drop spindle while here. I imagined no one would have interest enough to take it on. Glad to know I was wrong!

Until next time!

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