Saturday, May 29, 2010

Children's Fiber Art Projects: Patchwork Clocks & Painting with Wool

It was a short week here in Bermuda. Monday was a holiday for us so my Monday class was off.

This week's class news......

The little 5 yr olds had a wonderful time creating a patchwork clock this week.This project was educational in several way. Not only did they get to practice the concept of patchwork and using their motor skills, but they ended up with a functional tool to help them learn to tell time! Using pre-cut pie shaped fabric, they glued the sections in place and arranged the clock face numbers which they also glued down. We used foam numbers which I  learned needed a full strength tacky type of glue. Hot glue would have been ideal but the children would not have been able to
do this by themselves so a good  fabric glue like tacky would be a good one to use. After they glued the numbers on they added a fat yarn around the edge to frame it up. The hands were made up of a tongue depressor and popsicle stick with holes drilled in one end and fastened with a brass fastener that has a head on it. They were all pretty proud of their accomplishments this week!

The older girls finished off their paintings with wool. After they finished needling on the wool to complete their scenes they wet felted them creating durable pictures that they can turn into pillows, bags or wall hangings. This project was about them designing their own holiday scene to be submitted for possible selection by local businesses as a holiday greeting card image. I was very pleased with their accomplishment. Each has a different style that reflects a holiday sentiment without words. I'll let the photo of their work speak for itself. Great work for 10 year olds with very little assistance!

The term is winding down now with only three weeks left before school is out for the summer. So much to do! So little time! I'm beginning to miss my students already :-( This is my last term of teaching here in Bermuda as my husband and I return to the states in the fall. I will get a last blast during mid term break next fall teaching fiber arts during camp as well as the Annual Bermuda Fiber Festival but will then be re-adjusting to life in the states and looking for another teaching opportunity where I can share my passion for fiber with interested children! If you know of any events seeking somone to teach children fiber arts, let me know!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fiber Art Projects for Children: Painting on Silk, Painting with Wool and Mixed Media Wind Socks

This week two of my groups finished up incomplete projects.....
The monday class of 5-7 yr olds finished up their Solar System Mobiles  and began the planning and staging process of painting Silk Suncatchers which will be done using Kool Aid and food coloring for their paints. I love these non toxic dyeing options for children! The only draw back is the lack of color intensity that you get with chemical dyes. At this stage, children can learn all of the techniques which they can experiment with at home later, using easy to get supplies! A win/win situation......

They began the class by doing simple drawings. I had asked them to think about their subject as they left class last week. I offered simple creature shapes I have in the classroom for those who needed some inspiration and soon they were quickly putting them on paper. Of course some children have more aptitude for drawing than others but this is the norm. By the end of class, each child had done a drawing. They then traced them on the blank silk circles with washable gel glue which will act as a resist or dam. This resist will allow them to color in various parts of their creatures using different colors and prevent the colors from running into one another. Blank silk circles are available from Dharma Trading Co. on line.
Next week they will paint the dyes onto their silk. I can't wait to see the end results!

The five year olds also finished up this week. The Wind Sock projects needed to have their fabric glued on and hangers attached. A few still had to complete the "cow hitch knots" of yarn around the bottoms. Since I was busy with the hot glue gun, those who had finished first, helped the others by guiding them through the knotting process. I think they may have done some of the work for them but they loved being the helpers and the benefactors were appreciative:-)
This is my roudy group as I have mentioned before. I had an epiphany last week regarding this group though. One child indicated that he has a hard time focusing since it gets so noisy. He becomes distracted. I had no idea he was having an issue and thought it awesome that he would know this about himself at such a young age and tell me about it. I felt the need to address this in the classroom so I rearranged our seating so that they are seated in small groups and purposely assigned seats to specific groups of children. It seemed to work well! I will know better as we move to a project that they don't need me to participate in so much but I'm thankful to have learned this now while I can at least attempt to address it and have impact. I am told by this child's mom that she has noticed improvement in his focus since coming to my class. So, even if he is slow to complete a project, apparently the experience of working in a noisy and sometimes chaotic space has helped him to learn to deal with it better and what he does do, he does well! Bravo! I may have never known this and I'm so glad to know it now..... My mentor and education director at KAF has also given me some things to try to help rein in the mustangs when necessary. Hopefully a combination of things will bring greater sucess for us all!
They were all pleased with their work! They always are easy to please anyway. When they get to take something home that they made, regardless of how big or small or how well it is accomplished, it is an accomplishment and they beam because of it.... so do I :-)...............

My older group of girls is coming along so well! They love everything we do in class and this week one of them asked if the class could be extended from 2  to 3 hours! If all teachers could have this problem!

This weeks challenge was to come up with a Christmas season image for a drawing. This drawing is being Painted on wool pre felt with the needle felting technique and, using wool as the paints. KAF  was looking for holiday artwork that can be photographed and used as  holiday greeting cards by corporations who make a donation into the Holiday greeting card program. Our children produce the artwork, the corporation makes a donation and gets exclusive use of a photograph of children's Holiday art that they will use for their corporate greeting cards. The children of course keep their artwork but might have the honor of having one of their pieces selected by a KAF donor to be used as their holiday greeting card and sent to their many clients and business associates! How fun!
Drawings were completed and the paintings begun.... They are looking great and I can't wait to see the final products!

So, progress at KAF continues in the Fiber Arts!

Until next time..........

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yarn Windsocks and other Fiber Projects for Children

We are half way through the term already! WOW! When did that happen :-)

This week, the only new project that I began was with the 5 yr olds. The other two age groups are finishing up their projects from the weeks before and all is going well!

The Monday class of 5-7 yr olds is at the final stage of their Solar system mobiles. Only one child who started the term after we began this project, has not completed his planets. He has however made great strides and will spend our next class getting most of them done and strung. Good work! The rest of the students will also finish up and begin designing for the next assignment which will be Suncatchers painted on silk!

The Five yr olds did some great work this week! Their new project is to create a wind sock made from  yarns that they have to attach  to holes punched into the bottom edge of  the milk cartons with a "Cow" hitch knot. Using a crochet hook to pass the hanks of yarn through the punched holes in the carton, students found it challenging but managed to get he hang of it. Each found success. Though not everyone's work is even or tidy, they got the job done :-)  Yeah!

These will be very fun when done! As usual, students worked at varying paces but I foresee that we will finish this project in next class. At that time they will finsih up their knotting and then add pre cut fabrics with glue to cover and decorate the cartons. These little guys needs lots of attention so I find it hard to get action shots. I'll see if I can get some for next time :-) As well as the finished projects....

Above is an example of me doing the Cow hitch knot.

And then there are my 10 yr old girls... This week they finished up their Nuno fetled purses. Each did a bit more fulling to finish up and then they worked on their stitching skills to attach the straps. These purses are great and completely functional. I have hopes that this little item will remain with them for years to come!
Next week we will begin working on designs for a christmas card project that will be "painted" with wool on wool, using the dry needle felting technique. I know it's early for Christmas cards but this is a joint effort as a fundraiser for our school, Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation. A group of local corporations are each making a donation for the use of a holiday themed design created by Kaleidoscope students in various mediums. Selections will be chosen and photographed, and turned into holiday greeting cards exclusive to each individual corporation. A grand idea!
We have no idea if any of our pieces will be included but we will make a grand effort to bring them our best work for this project! At the same time, my class will be learning a new fiber art technique in the process! Wish us luck!
Maybe you know of a company who would like to have their very own exclusive piece of holiday themed art to be used for their holiday greeting card. If so, contact Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation at 441-542-9000 or email
Until next time................

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Weaving, Felting & Nuno with Children!

This week has been a mixed bag. A little bit of everything! I often like to have children doing related projects but it hasn't been going that way lately....

The 5-7 yr old children are still working on their Solar System mobiles. Although I am feeling a little anxious about how long it has taken to complete them, they don't seem to mind and are having a good time. They especially are concious of the proportional relationship of size for their planets and worry about it much more than I do! I keep reminding them that it's ok if they aren't exactly correct :-)
We did make great progress this week and the only child who has not completed all planets just began class with us this week. He made great strides though and completed three planets. Great job for a first time felter! He may get most of them done while the others are stringing theirs together in the next class. I am including a picture of the class sample for you to see. It is not perfect... but it is perfection :-)

My 5 yr old group continues to be a very active bunch. 5 boys and 2 girls make this a roudy group! I sometimes feel like I have a group of wild mustangs that I am trying to rein in! I'm sure our class can sometimes be heard throughout the building :-) The good news is that we are having fun!

This week I prepared some burlap strips that they turned into bookmarks. Last weeks' class was a practice for the stitching/weaving used in this little project. I was unsure how successful they would be since the stitching was completed with mixed results. I worried that the small strips of burlap would be difficult for them to handle. But, they did a GREAT job! I was so pleased. Their only task was to weave their chosen yarn through the cloth from top to bottom so that the ends could be tied in a knot to hold them in place.
It was interesting how each child worked the piece. Several chose to use very small, evenly spaced stitches. This of course allowed them to only weave in one or two threads BUT, their work was very good; straight, even and very good quality as a result. It looked more like adult stitching! I'm sorry I missed a photo op for a sample of one of these but the child was still working on it when I took the pics.
The remaining children were at pretty much the same level. They completed three to four threads duirng our class time with varying degrees of eveness. I really was not worrying about how even it was or straight, I was more interested in them getting the concept of weaving in and out and having them complete the work. I believe that last weeks' practice had impact on this weeks results.
You will note from the photos that the shiny threads were of most interest and chosen most often over a large selection of various colors. They loved the bling! Don't we all.....

The older group continued to work on their nuno bags. No complaints about the labor intensive process, and they are getting the feel of the wool and how it changes at various stages of the felting process. They are noticing that it gets stronger by how it feels; that it gets thicker as it
shrinks and that it feels less fragile. They are beginning to sess out on their own, how much pressure they can exert without damaging the piece. This was a very nice revelation to experience with them! Though their bags are not quite there yet, they have enough integrity to not have to worry about damaging them between classes. They are well under way in the fulling process and will be able to finish fulling and stitch them together next time. I anticipate being very proud of their work when they are done as I am already! This is a very mature project for them and I hope a piece that they will proudly use...............................................
Until Next Time............

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Adult Felted Flower Workshop........

Oh what a fun morning I had!

My "Fiber Play Date" group with a few additional students met this morning for a Felted Flower workshop. I began the class with instructions on how to felt a rose, complete with leaves and stem. The roses were made with multiple components; bud, leaves and stems fetled seperately. They are then either needle felted or glued together. It was quite fun to see the colors that everyone chose and that even though each one came out a bit different, each was equally lovely!

Once the roses were completed we worked on a Hibiscus flower. This one added some challenges since we felted in the stamens on one side as well as a stem on the back side. Students learned how to add components using a dry brush end and resist technique.
I am always amazed at how there are no mistakes to be made with felting. Perhaps your piece doesn't turn out as you envisioned, but that does not mean that it isn't lovely just the same!

A good time was had by all and each went home with not only lovely flowers of their own creation, but a bit of new knowledge that they can apply to other fiber arts that they practice..... Here are a few more images of our class bouquet!


 Until next time...........................