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............

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