Monday, November 18, 2013

Little hands weaving

Last week I had the delightful pleasure of spending the morning at Little Tree in South Portland, an at home care environment for little ones. Martha, my good friend and former colleague started Little Tree shortly after her son, Asa was born. As Martha was doing a theme on Harvest, she asked me to join her group as a visiting artist and assist them with a weaving project. I was delighted.

As these sweet ones are 2, Martha and I knew to keep it short and sweet and let them do what they do. It was so fun watching how each child took to the process and the materials. Some were very eager while others watched for several minutes before joining.

As Martha was conducting the circle time in the next room, I set to work on warping the loom. Her husband, Charlie tied the branches together before hand and it was just the size. Because I warped the twine around the branches instead of using nails on one side, there is a warp on both sides. And we discovered it would work out well for the children to weave on both sides! The top of the loom was balanced on the countertop above so the children could easily walk behind it to weave.

For a moment before we begun, all 5 of them where sitting, patiently at the table watching me. I thought I'd take the moment to teach them 3 words; loom, warp and weft. most of them repeated it back to me and it was so sweet to hear those words in a 2 year old voice:) 

Grass was collected and then I spent less than a minute demonstrating how to weave the grass through. Some where excited to give it a try while others loved crawling and wading through it. 

When the wool was introduced, these two girls got right to work and started wrapping it in the most unexpected way. Making clouds:)

This would be a wonderful project to start with your family too as it can be an on going process and art instillation for your home or your yard. I first learned how to do this while at Medomak, a week long fibery retreat in mid-coast Maine where I teach natural dyeing. Dana Fadel, a weaver and my good friend teaches a community weaving project there as well and it's always a big hit. Here at Little Tree, we used the same method for warping and weaving. 

The wrapping back and forth, weaving in and out is a tricky concept for a 2 year old. However, they are just at the right stage in their development where parallel play is developing which is more important then doing things exactly right. When the parallel play is happening, lots of other things are too, like working on and figuring out their fine motor skills. 

This is a project that Martha plans to have on going and the children will be adding more as time goes by. If I'm able, I'll post an updated picture in the future.

If your interested in having me as a visiting artist to your play group, school, or group, send me an email. My work consists of visual, textile, and fiber arts and I'm more than happy to work with you on coming up with ideas to go along with your current theme. I have extended experience working with children of all ages and abilities. 

ox, r 

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