Sunday, May 6, 2012

Terrific Tunics Tell A Unique Story

Pictured above is an intricate textile made by the anient Inca Indians. I have a large poster of this tunic in my resources and one day this image became the inspiration for the second lesson in my mini unit about textiles from different cultures.  As you can see, it is beautifully decorative as well as functional.  If you look closely you can see a slit at the top where the wearer would have put his or her head through to wear the fabric.  I think of this style of ancient traditional garment as a loose-fitting, almost poncho-like piece of clothing.  Longer than a shirt, but shorter than a dress, men and women wore them as a way to let other community members know of their social status, wealth and class.  The fancier the tunic, the higher the status in Incan society.This example is believed to have been worn by someone wealthy and it features a repeating motif of different patterns and many symmetrical geometric shapes.
   We also learned that archeaologists believe the ancient Inca did not have a written language. These garments were a way of recording information and letting others know about you!  What a great inspiration for the next lesson which I decided to call " Storyteller Tunics".

I split the students up into small groups and had them complete a planning worksheet where they wrote down the character traits, likes and dislikes of  an imaginary person.  This imaginary person would become the "owner"of the tunic, so they would need to work together to make symbols that represented the person accurately.  We used the black craft paper on that comes on a roll as the "fabric" for the garment. 
By folding the entire paper in half, students were able to line up their original symbols so that everything was symmetrical based on the fold down the middle.

When everything was traced in white pencil, we used oil pastels to add bright, contrasting colors to each symbol.  Here are Nicole Q., Ryan D. and Amber P. working together to get the parts colored.

You can see the opening at the top of the garment where one student will put it on and model their groups finished design at the end of the lesson!  Here are Madison P., Allison and Brian L, all doing their share of the coloring.

Arden works on  finishing the designs on the front of the tunic, while her group member Rourke is coloring a large design of a brick wall and a yellow taxi cab on the back.

These are really starting to look great!  Jessica B. was a really hard worker for her group... she works on finishing up the last few stripes on their huge back design. Some groups decided to finish the hem with paper fringe.  I think this added to the overall look of the paper taking on the visual texture and appeal of a textile.

I'll be sure to post the hilarious and very interesting finished work that is being worn by student models.  I still can't believe that 8th graders, especially the boys, were fighting over who would wear these tunics in front of the class!  Here is a preview:

Nick R. was up for modeling in front of his peers: Good job and cool designs!

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