Thursday 25 February 2010

Fabric Swap - educational ideas.

When I set up this swap I figured swappers would fall into two categories, Montessorians who would add the fabric to the culture boxes and sewists who would use the fabric to make something, so this is the post to aid the Montessorisans.

I figured that the fabric could just be another object in the culture box or to be used to generate lesson plans. Here I have collected some ideas, I am sure there are more and I have tried to include links where possible. For those not in the know, a culture box contains items to spark an interest so that the child becomes inquisitive about the culture. It is usually used in conjunction with the continent work. We actually have a culture shelf with small items collected from around the world, a popular activity is matching the item with it's country of origin. These objects can be good discussion starters and lead the child in many directions, the ultimate goal is to provide the child with a better understanding of other cultures (whether they be in their own country or abroad).
  • How to make cotton, linen, and silk and where this natural fibres originate from, it might be fun to do a life cycle of jeans or something similar. I am sure I saw some 3 part cards for a silk worm or silk production but I don't remember where, sorry.
  • Focus on the fabric design, does the fabric use a dying method such as batik or Aizome or is it a print that represents the region, how do Scandinavian, Chinese and African designs differ? What are the influences of the designs? Are some colours more prevalent in some places? Why is that? Why not design some fabric yourself. For older kids you learn about repeat patterns and how to make them.
  • How about comparing the traditional design with a modern one, do you think they both represent the culture? How has the fashion/design changed over the years, what has influenced the change? Are the traditional fabrics still used today?
  • When comparing fabrics from different cultures are there any cultures where fabric is not an important part of life? (I was thinking along the lines of Amazon/African tribes that have not been influenced by modern culture)
  • Learn about weaving, what is the warp and weft? Make up a small loom and give it a go yourself.
  • There are different ways to produce a batik design try this or this for starters or how about trying tie dying like this or maybe this one.
  • Print your own fabric, try potato prints or other vegetables or rubber stamps, use my tutorial here, how about trying your hand at silk screen printing or use freezer paper for the same effect.
  • There was a project I saw on Artful Parent a while ago where they hammer flowers on the the fabric which make a really pretty pattern, but I can't find the link :o(

I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg, if you have any other ideas please add them to the comments, feel free to share any links you have to cool projects.

The next post I will find some great projects using just a fat quarter of fabric.

There is still time to sign up for the fabric swap, pop over the THIS post to see what it is all about.

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