Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teaching wet felting to grade 3 and 4 students - part 1

I thought I had it all under control - I had made lots of samples, worked out how I would do the felting and manage 25 - 30 children all at once.

The first week went ok - one grade was quite small as several children were absent.  This made is easier to get around to all the children and make sure they were going ok.  Of course, it also meant that there were 6 or so children there today who hadn't done the laying out of felt, while the rest were doing the felting.  Hmm.  Thank goodness I was only the visiting textile artist and the teacher could take that small group.
In the first lesson I gave the children a square piece of paper (A4 cut to be square), bubble wrap slightly larger and a piece of netting a similar size to the bubble wrap.
The children drew an outline of the fruit they were making.  Then they placed the bubble wrap on top and laid out the wispy bits of colour inside the lines of the image.

After that, they laid out the background colour.  It was a little tricky to explain that they had actually laid out their image from the back, that any highlights and special markings, would have to be done first, then the fruit shape laid on top.  But they managed it.

I demonstrated how to do the pulling out of the wispy bits of wool and how it needed three layers, at least, each at 90 degrees to each other (some maths thrown in there!).  But getting around a large group of children to make sure that they are not using too much wool (which was a much bigger problem than not enough) was an effort and, inevitably, some children have quite thick, and not that evenly distributed, wool.

We then laid some netting over the wool and gently rubbed it with our hands, to make the fibres cling together a bit. To keep it all together, we had a layer of bubble wrap, the wool, the netting and then their picture WITH THEIR NAMES ON on top.
It was then put carefully into a tub, ready for next week.
End of lesson one.

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