Friday, April 30, 2010

Felt Planets & Purses!

Week three of the term has children settling in from the Easter break and a little more focused than they had been. Progress was made by all!

Our Solar System group of 5-7yo made great strides this week and are nearly finished felting their planets! It has been fun to see the way the various planets look. Using a bit of research from the net, I designated colors to be used to represent each planet and we are creating them in proportion to one another as best we can. The children are having a good time making comparisons in size from the littlest Pluto (yes I know this planet is under discussion) to the size of the sun. Of course it isn't possible for us to make a realistic proportion of the sun to the other planets; for our purposes it is simply the biggest of our felt balls.The
children are anxious to see their planets strung on their mobiles and I need to find a way that I can suspend them in the classroom so that they can easily tie them up. That will be a challenge.... we'll see if I can make that work! If not, we will have to string them on the tables and live with that.... Not a bad lesson for them to learn - you can't always get what you want, so you make do with what you have!
The photos are of the materials and lay out for a felt ball and our version of Saturn created by using heavy colored paper with a center hole cut in it, and friction fitting it over the felt ball!

The 5 yr old group did some stitching this week. I created some animal shaped sewing cards with punched holes in them from crafting foam. They stitched to their ability; some better than others.But, they had a chance to try it out and help develop their fine motor skills and dexterity. Two of the children finished their sewing cards and moved on to the cardboard basket project (the second photo). I wasn't very concerned about how well they finished their work. I was most interested in them understanding the concept of stitching and how two objects are bound together with yarn or thread. The cardboard bowls were patterned from colorful and bright holiday gift boxes as seen in the first photo of my class sample and materials.

All were pleased with their accomplishments. I find myself saying this alot, but I know I always get a  great sense of pleasure when I make something and I think they do too even if it isn't perfectly executed. They are still proud of their work! I often hear that they have taken their projects from my class to school for show and tell :-)

My older group began working on Nuno Felted purses this week. We are using habotai silk scarves which I cut up to create a flap top purse and straps. I am anxious to see how they turn out! My class sample looks really fun and I think they will be happy with their finished project. So far, we have laid out the fiber, wet it out, and began rolling it. I am glad that we have a break in the rolling between classes since the Habotai needs more rolling than the chiffon to help the fibers migrate through the fabric. I was very impressed with their energy and enthusiasm for the rolling part. I was expecting some whining but I heard not a word! They are a very focused little group who seem to enjoy anything I throw at them!

Until next time.......

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Children's Fiber Art Classes at KAF

Week two of the spring term is behind us already and we've had some nice work come out of the classroom!

The Monday 5-7 yr old class began creating a felted Solar System Mobile which is a multiple week project. Keeping this group on task is a challenge :-) I was expecting this to be a two week endeavor but have re-assessed it to be a three week project based on our progress so far. Look for pictures of this project in next week's posting.....

The 5 yr old group did some braiding this week. This was a good class project for them. We had enough time to complete it with one on one attention and they all got the concept. Their challenge was in coordinating the three strands so I sat with each of them as they completed their key rings and all found success! One student was able to coordinate the three strands all by herself with the exception of making the final knot. Well done Amy!!

The 8 & up group this week finished their Silk Name Banners. I was very proud of their efforts. After painting the silk with dye and practicing their names in Japanese calligraphy with ink on paper, they were ready to paint their names in Japanese on their banners. Everyone found success and they look terrific!
The nature of using ink as a final layer on their piece allowed them only one shot at painting. There was no option for do-overs! As a result I believe they understood the need to focus and practice in the allowed time so that they could do the best job they could do and they all did a really great job!
The final step was to glue the banner to a dowel or piece of bamboo and attach a piece of cording for hanging. I was very pleased with their efforts :-) Here are some photos of their work.....

Until Next Time...............

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Term for Children's Fiber Classes Has Begun...

The Spring term at Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation has begun after a nice long break from classes. Getting back in the swing after a long time away hasn't been too bad even with a change in my classroom location. I returned from vacation to find bright and spacious second floor space has become my new classroom. Since I was away during the break, I was not able to help with the move so am working on organizing the space to suit the students and my needs. It will take a few weeks to get everything  where I want it but am grateful that I didn't have to make the laborious move :-)

Students seem to not have missed a beat and though there are a few changes in attendance, all classes have a good group of enthusiastic children to "play" with.

The week began with the 5-7 yr olds. The 5 yr olds had created yarn bugs last term which were a big hit. I decided the 5-7 yr olds would enjoy them as well and that they would be able to take on more of the process than the 5 yr olds were able to. So, we began the term with a fun activity of making large pompoms that we turned into six legged creatures. I forgot my camera at home on that day - part of the getting back into the routine process so don't have any photos to show of their work :-(
The photo I am showing is from the 5 yr old group so that you can see what the project looks like.

My 5 yr old group revisited felting this week and made felt on soap. A few of them had experienced this at Fiber Festival but all seemed to enjoy creating their tub scrubbie and all found success! I got a report back from a mom the next day that the soap was well used in the bath and very much enjoyed. Yeah! It's always fun for me to help the children create things that have some function and that they can enjoy!

The 8 & up group shrunk this term. This age group has so many commitments to deal with at such a young age! Swimming  programs have begun which many children are involved in, putting a strain on the schedules and making it difficult for families to fit everything in.
Last term this group was plagued with flu bugs and broken bones which didn't allow for us to finish our major multiple week project of creating a crewel embroidered vest on wool felt. Several students took their work home during vacation and made a bit of progress but we will resume this project in class. I had new faces so decided that I needed to begin the term with a new project and assess how I would re-introduce the vest into this term.

Our opening project is making an Asian Banner. Students began their work by space dyeing on silk to form the base. They also took up Sumi-e brushes and practiced writing their names in japanese calligraphy which they will add to their banners as part of the design. Ultimately, their pieces will be glued to bamboo sticks and strung for hanging. Watch next weeks posting for the results of their work.

For now, I have added a few pictures of the vest progress....

Until next time......