Sunday, April 22, 2012

Geometric Table Runners Run Wild!

For this lesson, I was inspired by the idea of combining design elements from the Ikat textiles of Indonesia and the heavy wool textiles from Mexico and Latin America. Our theme was to create a small version of a table runner. As I mentioned in the previous post, I brought in examples of real textile table runners to share with my students and this was very helpful!

Example of geometric motif similar to the
Mexican table runner I showed in class.

 I was particularly attracted to the repeating geometric motifs and the use of symmetry that was commonly used in these textiles.  I decided that the students would have a better time designing their runner if they first experimented with folding and cutting random geometric shapes to use as tracers.  The idea of discovering something that looked really cool simply by cutting a paper helped the kids to become less stiff when it came to "thinking" of ideas to use.  I asked them to trace samples of their paper shapes and to settle on their favorite two to use for final draft.  We also experimented with removing negative shapes from the middle of positive shapes.  It was fun to re-use the small shapes that were cut out from the larger shapes; combining these parts often resulted in an even better design!
 Before we traced our favorite shapes in an alternating pattern on final draft paper, each student traced a small square template eight times to fill up the page.   Then, we simply traced each design four times to fill up the page in a checkerboard pattern. 
   When everything was traced with pencil, we discussed how to select contrasting colors of crayons to really highlight every part of each design. We referred to the color wheel for help with selecting high and low contrast colors.   I explained that we would be covering the entire picture with one color of diluted tempera paint.

Isabella carefully traces one of her original designs onto the final draft paper.

Hannah P. demonstrates correct heavy crayon coloring.  This is important since the waxy crayon would need to be waterproof enough to "resist" the diluted tempera paint that would be applied in the last step!

I had an " ah-ha moment" when I had the idea of having students make a test strip before painting over their pictures.  Just simply make samples of all of the colors used on the designs, then add one color of paint over each sample.  Blot it off with a paper towel to reveal a sample of how those colors would look once they were painted!  This was very helpful because what we thought would look the best often turned out not to be the best choice!  It helped students make good design choices and encouraged dialogue about their work!

The very last step was to add the yarn to represent the fringe.

Created by Adrian T. in Period 5

Here are several examples of the amazing paper textiles we made!

Created by Nicole M. in Period 2

Each one is unique and uses colors and shapes in a special way as designed by each artist!

Created by Kevin H. in Period 6.

Created by Amber P. in Period 5.

Created by Justin C. in Period 3.

Created by Ethan S. in Period 6.

Created by Isabella V. in Period 2.

Stunning geometric motifs!

Created by Chris C. in Period 1.

Created by Shae J. in Period 1.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about this lesson and seeing the colorful, geometric paper table runners that my students created! 
Check back soon for the culminating lesson in the Textile Unit: wearable Inca-inspired tunics!

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