Thursday, May 26, 2016

Medieval Arts: Medieval Textiles, 2nd and 6th Grades

SEWING.  It's a word that strikes fear in the heart of many students, and is even scarier than the word 'portrait.'  It's funny how a unit on medieval arts morphed into a unit on facing fears in art class head-on in the form of a needle and thread.

Veerrrry fitting monogram for the occasion for some...

2nd grade does beginner embroidery every year, and this year we focused on monograms.  After looking at a few, both old and new (from Charlemagne to the current Queen of England), we designed our own. Designs varied depending on how many initials kids had (anywhere from 2 to 5...we had some VaRiEtY!).  Those with the more-standard 3 initials were to set it up in the whole "first initial, last initial, middle initial" fashion, and there were a few who had normally harmless initials that became less harmless when rearranged...this is why the letters were drawn with chalk prior to sewing.

After video demonstration in the art of needle threading and making a basic running stitch, they were on their way.  Some flew through it, and others struggled, but we all (mostly) got it done!

And now for 6th grade...they got a first hand lesson in sewing a functional piece of art with real needles, and there was a whole lot of (accidental) stabbing goin' on (thank you, rubbing alcohol). Their mission was to create a medieval pouch the old-fashioned way, with just their bare hands, some thread, felt, and a really sharp needle.  Mission 1: sew the design (or glue, if sewing proved too difficult-I didn't want tears, here).  Mission 2: sew front to back; mission 3: make drawstring.  Some took on a 4th mission and created a braided handle for their pouch, and they get props for trying. It took them about four to five 40 minute classes to get it all done from start to finish, but they learned a LOT along the way. At one point one of them begged to just use a sewing machine, to which I smiled and said, "It was done this way for hundreds of years for everything they'll live." Here are the fruits of their labor!

Upon passing them back, I was scared some would try to trash them when walking out, so they were given the very sincere promise that if I found any in the garbage that I would "Hot glue google eyes to them and make them come back to haunt you!"  None were trashed (in my room)-WIN!!  Another win for me was when one of my students came up to me and proudly said she fixed a hole in her very own jacket and impressed her mom with her efforts.  Bonus points for the art teacher!

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