Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Weaving with Children 5 - 7 yrs old

We are now in week 4 of classes and everyone seems to be settling in. It always takes a few classes for us to get to know each other so that children can focus on their work.
Last week we dyed yarns with Kool -Aid which they began weaving with this week. The 5-7 yr old group was given a cardboard circle loom which they warped on their own pretty well. I asked them to follow my step by step instructions and found that their biggest challenge was making sure that their first warp thread cut the circle in half which makes sure the center of their weaving is in the center of the circle.
Usually if left to their own choices I find that instead of students choosing complementary colors to weave with, that they choose colors that they like with no regard for how they look when put together. I like to give hte children choices but I am often heart sick when they do a great job with the technical part of their projects but end up with a caucophny of color that is more distracting than atracting. I of course always complement their work as wonderful in spite of their color choices! Since the yarns they were weaving with were dyed with a limited number of colors, I put out a variety of warp thread colors that would go well with all of the yarns that they had. It worked! They got to make a choice that I too would enjoy :-)
The tricky part of circle weaving is the center but once they got that taken care of, they all managed to finish their pieces enough so that with a few extra minutes in class with patient parents, we were able to get all but one tied off and ready to be taken home! Yeah!
I quite enjoy the 5 yr old class falling on the day after the 5-7's. I like to have them do the same projects if possible and I am able to  assess that easily after the 5-7 yr old class does their project. It was obvious to me that the 5's would not be able to deal with the fussy center of the circle weaving as a first weaving project. We also have only one hour in class and whenever possible, I like to have them complete a project in one session. I knew that the circle weaving would be too agressive for the little ones so I chose to do a simple weaving on a frame loom. No need to warp it. I did that for them ahead of time. I simply wanted them to begin to understand the concept of over and under to create a cohesive piece using the yarns they had dyed in a previous class. This groups attention span is short. Not having the older children in class as role models for focus, attention and discipline, seems to make a difference. They feed off of each other's energy which isn't always directed at their work. In spite of that, they do great work when they do focus so I k now they are gretting it. Getting them to work at it is sometimes another story. We did not get our weavings finished in one session but they all get it and are doing nice work!
Next week is a school vacation week so there will be no regular KAF classes. 1/2 term csmp will be in session and I will have a week off to spend extra time working on my own artwork for my upcomming show at the Elliot gallery in March.
Until next time.........

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