Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fabric and Fibre for Ist and 2nd Classes

Fabric and fibre for First Class and Second Class
Exploring fabric and fibre

Children need to be provided with an ever-widening selection of fabrics and fibres, to explore in terms of gaining visual and tactile experiences

sort according to shape, colour, feel, rub, pattern, construction and so forth.

look at and discuss the feel of a pieces of fabric, whether they always feel as we expect, what are the surprises about how a fabric looks and how sometimes it can feel

discuss what uses are made of different fabrics and fibres

put groups of fabrics and fibres into collections, according to texture - whether they are soft, dull, rough, patterned, regular, or irregular.

Discussing different materials

Encourage the children to bring along samples of fabric and fibre from their own environment. These can be categorized in terms of material type - natural, synthetic (person made) e.g.

What are bubble wrap and other types of plastic packaging made from?
What are the various stages in making wool?

There are obvious integration chances here with the strand of materials in the science curriculum. Discussion can take place regarding the origin of the fibres

Can you research the story of the silkworm?
Can you make charts to show the different types of fabrics?

Look in bookshops / libraries to find children’s books in which fabrics and fibres have been used to create the illustrations.

Developing skills and techniques

Children continue the process of deconstructing open weaved fabrics such as hessian, to gain real understanding of how any woven fabric is constructed. Twines, wool, cotton, fruit bags, old knitted or crocheted garments can all be pulled apart and examined. Once deconstructed, these parts can be reused in other activities.

deconstruct some parts of a piece of Hessian by fraying the edges – make openings in the body of the fabric – add colour to your piece using chalks and wax crayons – display your piece on a background card. Children are introduced to the creative possibilities involved in different methods of joining fabric and fibre, such as pinning, sewing, stapling, gluing, and tying. It is important to note that any sewing is approached in a very free and not-directive manner. What is intended is really the notion of inventive stitchery, a means of attaching two or more pieces of fabric or other material together. Children will in their own time discover the necessity for some form of knot, at, for example, the end of a thread, to stop it undoing.

Take two or three fabric scraps from the fabric box – take some thick wool and a bodkin – work out a way of joining your pieces together. Pieces of fabric and garments can be examined to discover how buttons, studs and decorations have been added.

Add some buttons, beads or other decorations to the piece you have made. Children can explore the effect of colour applied to fabric, using food dye, thinned paint or fabric paints. Colour can be added, as in dyeing fabric, or colour can be taken out as in bleaching. Experiments can be made using coldwater dyes and bleach. This is best done outdoors on a sunny day. Give over a complete day for this event. The care labels on garments can be discussed. Reference can be made to the effects of burning, and a discussion can be held around the safety warning on night-ware.

Add colour to small pieces of cotton using a variety of materials – use one of your own drawings or paintings as a stimulus. Using simple stitching methods threads and fibres can be attached in a free creative manner to a background piece of fabric to create an endless variety of possibilities.

Draw with a bodkin and wool on a piece of blanket material. Fabric can be tie-dyed using cotton string to tie knots to create random patterns. The children are encouraged to tie as many knots as possible to add variety.

Work as a class to create a flour batik banner. A batter consistency mixture of flour and water is applied to a piece of fabric to create a design. This is left to dry and fabric paint is painted onto the other areas. Once dry, the flour is picked off the fabric and the design is complete. (This form of batik is seen in Africa.)

Begin a school collection of art fabric pieces e.g. pieces of batik / silk scarves / rugs, etc.

Making fabric activities – simple weaving

Large strips of paper, coloured newspapers or magazines, are torn and positioned in the under-over universal weave pattern. Children can work in pairs or small groups on tabletops to further explore the pattern of the weave.

Try weaving other materials through, as well as paper e.g. weave strips of fabric, reeds, raffia, wools through your paper loom

Weave through ready-made grid structures, such as onion sacking, fruit bags, soft chicken wire, binka, carpet underlay or any other available grid structure. Different structures can be introduced on which children can explore the technique of weaving using wool or other suitable fibre. These include paper plates, and lollipop sticks, garden sticks or even old wheels. Using a circular movement, wool is woven in the same under/over pattern.

Can you think of other things you might weave through?

Simple construction activities

Use fabric scraps and fibre scraps to

Try weaving other materials through, as well as paper e.g. weave strips of fabric, reeds, raffia, wools through your paper loom
construct pom pom and tassels - these can form the structure for an imaginative fantastical creature or other imaginary playthings

Previously learned techniques can be applied in problem solving situations and further techniques can be introduced as the need arises.

Playing with fibres

Provide the children with quick problem-solving exercises as follows

change a fibre by cutting and fraying it e.g. fray and decorate a piece of rope

add to a fibre by joining it with another fibre - try twisting it or plaiting it if you can e.g. plait three different coloured ribbons together to make a hair decoration

add to a fibre by decorating it with beads, seeds, buttons, sequins or other decorative objects e.g. thread beads onto a piece of thick wool to make a pattern

knot pieces of fibres together to create a pattern.

dip pieces of fibre in glue and stick them to paper or card – take some ribbings, or wrap them around three-dimensional forms such as plastic bottles, boxes, and clay pieces

Make a fabric and fibre collage

It is important to give the children time to design on paper before they commence their work in fabric and fibre. The child is to remain the designer throughout the creative process. Encourage the child to sketch their design onto the fabric before starting to cut out at all. The pieces can be relocated and moved before deciding on the final product as follows:

glue down a slightly larger backing cloth on to cardboard. Allow the cloth to extend over the edges of the cardboard. Fold the fabric under and glue. Cut, glue and press down each piece on to the backing fabric. Add yarns, fibres and other decorative elements. Draw on details with ordinary felt tipped pens. Cover the entire piece with protective paper, waxed if possible, and press with a heavy object such as a large book, until all the pieces are dry.

Inventing stitches

Spend time experimenting with different stitches and encourage the children to invent their own stitches – this is where the term inventive stitchery comes from. They can practise on plastic mesh or hessian, using thick thread and a bodkin/blanket needle. When there are no preconceived plans or established goals, the children will enjoy the experience all the more. Encourage the children to add to or to change their pieces through discussion.

How did you make that stitch?
Can you make it join another?
Can you make another to join it?
Can you join fabrics by stitching?
Can you add an object such as a button or a bead, which you made in clay yourself?
Can you make a stitch on top of another?

Begin to make a collection of interesting fibres and of bodkins – both plastic and metal.

Display work

The types of work that would be displayed might include

photographic records of dressing-up activities or of invented costumes e.g. a record of a drama and the children’s costume inventions for the drama

drawings / paintings / pieces of writing about these

pieces of deconstructed hessian decorated with colour

simple pieces of weaving

representational or non-representational pictures made using fabric collage techniques e.g. an individual or group collage made on the theme of favourite stories

a patchwork piece made using invented stitchery

simple sock / glove puppets

drawings / paintings on fabric – made using fabric crayons or paints

a touch picture – a collage made with various textured pieces of fabric

a class / group fabric mural created on a hessian or cotton background - children add stitches, pieces of found materials, collected objects and so on. The class and teacher decide on the theme for the mural.

mobiles made from decorated fibres

rubbings or prints taken from pieces

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