Posts Tagged ‘colour’

I’m gutted that the arts are being slowly but surely squeezed from the primary curriculum in England. For the first time in my teaching career, there is no place for a weekly art lesson.  There literally isn’t. The mornings are completely given over to literacy and maths, and once you’ve allocated time in the afternoons to RE, Science, PE, IT and either Geography or History, there are two lessons left and DT, PSHCE, French, Music and Art are all fighting for those slots. Art and Music, the two subjects I’ve been responsible for all my working life, lose out every time. No, I take that back. The children we teach lose out every time.

In order to try and claw some time back for creativity, I’ve given each of my 7-9 yr olds an A5 sketchbook as an art journal and we try to spend the first few minutes in the morning around register etc. working in them. They have altered old book pages and stuck them in, layered shapes from the maths equipment, drawn on scribbled backgrounds with rubbers, extended fragments of pictures and torn pieces of paper to make fantastic beasts and landscapes, couched down anything they could get their hands on and zentangled with handwriting pens.

I would dearly love to encourage them to use messier media, but these are snatched moments and the journals need to be instantly packed away so as not to lose any time to the twin gods of literacy and numeracy. Towards the end of last week I was struggling for a new quick, clean and unusual activity. Then I happened to open up a post of Karen’s and see a little wrapped card of threads in one of her gorgeous little books. Brilliant – thank you Karen!!

I wrote some words on the board which I hoped would make the children think about colour choices. Words like: ocean, forest, desert, garden, fire, winter, summer etc. Then I got out all the coloured felt tips I could find and they covered the page with their chosen word in their chosen colours. Encouraging them to write boldly and clearly and as it’s pen, get it right first time.

Then they chose threads in their colour choices, and wrapped one or more strips of card to add to their graffiti-like backgrounds.

Wrapped threads - art journals 1

I don’t ‘correct’ or interfere, just observe what they do and their choices, and work in mine alongside them, so they can see that this is something we do together.

Wrapped threads - art journals 2

Wrapped threads - art journals 3

I love it when some of them sidle up and ask if they’re ‘allowed’ to do something slightly different, excitedly explaining their thought processes.

Wrapped threads - art journals 4

Before I can reply…

“Of course you are,” says another child,  in a lordly fashion. “Mrs Hall always says it’s our art journal, our rules.”

Wrapped threads - art journals 5

I praise one child’s memory, the other’s willingness to ask ‘What if?’ and break the ‘rules’ and they both return to their work glowing.

Wrapped threads - art journals 6

I enjoyed a few moments to play as well.

Wrapped threads - art journals 7

Wrapped threads - art journals 8

No planning; few rules; no shared success criteria.

Heaven help us: what would OFSTED say?

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I’ve never been to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate – each year there has always been some very good reason not to go, including trying to park a large Volvo with all the manoeuverability of an super tanker, but when our branch of the EG organised a bus trip I was one of the first to sign up.

I had no idea it was going to be quite so huge, nor that I would have to exert so much will power not to come home with everything that took my eye. I only actually wanted/needed a pack of  milliner’s needles…

Practical things first. Little fragments of coloured leather, a scissors sharpener and a lovely big spool of fine undyed silk thread which I can dye as and in what quantities I need to.

I was really pleased that my 13 yr old daughter wanted to come along too and as we both love Japanese things we were only too happy to make a beeline for a stall selling sashiko designs. After completing my sashiko sample I wanted something a bit more challenging and I thought that this design was perfect.  

It incorporates different coloured threads and patchwork elements using strips of traditional cloth.

I also bought some variegated sashiko thread.

Oliver Twists hand dyed silk cut cocoons. It was the colour of these that I fell in love with and in fact they are even more deeply indigo and vibrantly coloured in real life.

I could have cheerfully bought most of the stock on the entire stall. And from Stef Francis. And Mulberry Silks. And the Silk Road…

Silk and colour. They make my heart sing.

I knew that the very talented Chris Gray was going to be at the show and later in the day I managed to get round to her stall and make myself known. I’m so pleased I did because she was lovely! I’m very aware of being a newcomer to the blogging world and being so in awe of the art produced by so many people like Chris but thanks Chris, for making me feel so welcome. 😮

To go with the cocoons I bought a selection of Chris’ lovely hand-dyed threads.

I wasn’t too sure what I was going to do with the cocoons at that point, but after talking with Chris about the idea of something three dimensional emerging from them, an idea has started to form…

My only regret was that there was so much to see that we didn’t get long enough to have a proper look at the exhibition side of things or to do more than get a taste of the drop-in activities.

In spite of my best efforts, I went home without any milliners’ needles.

I guess that means I’ll have to try again next year…


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