Sunday, 26 April 2015

radial weaving....

Following our exploration of natural dyes and wool, I came up with a simple weaving project for my Grade Ones.

1 paper dessert plate -- approximately 7" in diameter
5 bundles of yarn -- for each bundle, I wrapped yarn around my hand approximately 12 times, then tied it off loosely

Prep in advance:
(1) Turn the plate over, trace a circle in the middle. I used a lid from a can of frozen juice concentrate. Mark it off in 11 roughly equal sections. (Any odd number greater than one will work, but 11 is what I used.) Cut from the edge of the plate to the circle you have drawn at the 11 points.

Start the first strand of yarn by inserting it through any one of the slots, with the "tail" sticking out the back (2). From there, it's just over, under, over, under, until you run out of yarn (3), (4), (5). I cautioned my kids to pull the yarn tight so it lies flat against the plate. Start the next colour the same way and continue until you have used all five strands of yarn.

My kids LOVED doing this project -- even the few kids I have who hate doing art. They begged for extra plates and yarn to take home to work on there. There's something satisfying about working with one's hands.

I glued a second plate onto the back of the first plate to give it more strength and rigidity, as well as to cover up the messy loose ends. Attach a butterfly clip and use it to prop up the plates for display or hang them from  a wall.

Glue a second plate onto the back of the weaving.

Add a butterfly clip to the rim
of the plates to use as a
hanging device or to stand up the
plates on a level surface.

This could be a great lesson in odd and even numbers. An odd number of slits won't work because the yarn (weft) strands will keep crossing the same spokes (warp strands), leaving the other half of the spokes bare. You could challenge the kids to figure this out by cutting plates with different numbers of spokes, and letting them try them out to find out which ones work and which ones don't. Challenge them to identify the odd/even pattern.

For my class, because we're in a Catholic school, and because we were participating in creating and bringing in the gifts for our school-wide Resurrection Mass, we did this project using metallic gold plates. The empty inner circle of the plate represents the empty tomb, filled only with the light and the glory of God; the outer spokes its radiance outward from the centre. Corny, I know, but it worked.

Two of my students' weaving projects on the table in front of the altar
during our Resurrection Mass.

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