Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fall Weaving with Grade 1

Last week I taught Grade 1 weaving at Altadore School.
We started with a simple paper weaving to get them accustomed to the process.

We then did a weaving on a branch loom.  The students selected their favorite season and had to come up with colours for that season ahead of time in their 'wonder journals'.  Don't you just love that title.... maybe my design journal should become my wonder journal!  Each child did an illustration of that season using those colours.

It was amazing how the process of weaving a textile feeds into the weaving of reflection or memories which then will result in a story.  As each child changed to a new colour both myself and their teacher would ask them "What does this colour represent in your chosen season?".  The answers were very expressive, "The yellow lights on my Christmas tree." or "The red watermelon of summer".  Now that their weavings are done they are working on their writing projects.


Paper Weaving:
- strips of orange painted paper
- orange construction or cardstock paper
- ruler
- green construction or cardstock paper
- glue stick
- scraps of black paper
- scrap of brown paper
- pumpkin templates, I used this one
- pencil and scissors

Branch Weaving:
- branch for loom, twist your branch into circle as soon as branch is collected
- string
- chunky yarn in lots of colours
- masking tape
- scissors


Pumpkin Paper Weaving

Now the Pumpkin paper weaving is based on this post from Cutting Tiny Bites.

I just made a few changes.

Instead of scrapbooking paper we used painted paper.  If every child paints on piece of paper you'll have lots.  Each one was different using stamps, glitter, different printmaking techniques, variations in yellows and orange, etc.

I gave each child a piece of orange cardstock for the loom.  They folded it in half, corners to corners.

Taking their ruler placed at the open end they drew a line across.  It was the width of the ruler.

This is the STOP line.

Using the width of the ruler again they made vertical lines, about 7 or 8, depends on the size of your paper.

They cut from the fold along these vertical lines until they reached the STOP line.

I demonstrated weaving on a giant piece of paper and then they started their own.

We talked about the pattern and how it should look like a checkerboard as each new strip is opposite to the one before.

You end up with something like this.

Now fold a green piece of paper in half.

Using templates trace the half pumpkin shape on the fold.

Cut out your window.

Using glue stick or white glue,  glue the green sheet in place over the weaving.

You can then trim the excess if needed.

Using black paper scraps make your face and add a stem to the top.

Branch Weaving:

I collected all the branch looms before the project.  I find Red Dogwood branches to be the best. I trim a branch and then loop into a circle right away.  I tend to only do this project in the Fall when I'm trimming out branches and they are still pliable.

Let them sit for a few days before weaving.

I made this little video to show you how to string the loom.  I did this ahead of time before we started this project.  I just use regular household string.

With the masking tape put each child's name on their loom.  They select their first colour and you tie on about a 30 inch piece of yarn to the first string.

With the masking tape put some tape on the other end to stop the yarn from unraveling as they are weaving.
They begin using the same pattern as the paper weaving...under, over, under, over.

The biggest difference between yarn weaving and paper weaving is when we get to the end of a row we turn around and continue back.
They had to do at least 5 rows before they could switch to another colour.  I like to knot it off and then tie on another colour.  That way my rows are just one colour and not 1/2 and 1/2.

Here is some of the student work in process.

Great work Grade 1.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Scarecrow Silhouette

A few weeks ago I was at the cabin and I attended the Annual Scarecrow Festival.

The was some amazing artwork by the students of Windermere Elementary School.

I was quite taken by the work of Mrs. Stankovski's Grade 6 class.

They were nice enough to let me feature this project on the blog for you.

Many thanks Grade 6!

Now I have a canvas version and a paper version.


- primed canvas or heavy painting paper for the background (substrate)
- acrylic (canvas) or disk tempera (paper) paint in blue, yellow, brown and orange
- drywall medium (canvas)
- Popsicle sticks (canvas)
- scraps of cardboard (paper)
- black paper or scarecrow clip art
- glue
- scissors



Before painting tape off the horizon line.  This gives students a visual of where to stop painting and we want a nice straight horizon.

Using blue paint and a little white paint in your sky.  Skies tend to be darkest at the zenith (top) and as the come down to the horizon get a bit lighter.
Don't forget to wrap your colour around the sides and top.

Put some drywall medium on a paper plate.  Mix in a little yellow and brown to colour the drywall.

Using a Popsicle stick spread the drywall on the bottom of the canvas.

Let the drywall set up for a few minutes.

Using the edge of the Popsicle stick make lines in the drywall to give texture to your wheat.

Set aside to dry.

When dry add a little paint to highlight the texture.  I used yellow, brown and some orange.  Use the paint to wrap this colour around the sides and the bottom.

Set aside to dry.

Time to add our scarecrow.

I hold the black paper up to the canvas and measure how big I want it to be.  Using a white pencil crayon or china marker I mark this.  Draw a line down the center and one horizontal about 1 inch from my top line. Draw out your scarecrow and then cut it out, include a bit of the pole at the bottom.

Glue the scarecrow in place.  Put the glue on the side where you made your sketch.

You can add a crow with paper, cut a bird shape, glue in place and use sharpie to add legs and beak.

I also used the sharpie to add a few crows in the sky.  You can also just use clip art like the Grade 6 class did.
Another variation would be to draw the scarecrow in colour instead of a silhouette.


Tape  the edges of the paper for a nice white frame.

Draw your horizon line in pencil and paint in the sky using blue disk tempera.

Let dry for a few minutes.

Paint in the wheat using yellow and brown.

Set aside to dry.

Make your scarecrow as described in the canvas version and glue to paper.

Add sharpie crows.

As a last step to add some texture to your wheat use the edge of a piece of corrugated cardboard dipped in liquid tempera (or acrylic) and stamp on some wheat lines.  I used yellow, orange and brown.

When paint has dried remove tape.

That's it.  I hope you give this project a try.

See you next time.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fall Forest Landscape

This is a project that was inspired by my recent homework assignment on complimentary colour relationships.

The orange/blue combination always gives me a strong feeling of fall.

In my assignment I worked a landscape thru different complimentary colours varying values to create different moods.

This was my orange/blue series.

and this was the painting that inspired this project.

I quite liked the way the colours blended and how it looks like I have figures in the foreground. 
Can't wait to continue working this series.


- paper for painting, I used a heavier piece for the background and some regular drawing paper for the hills
- disk tempera paint in orange and blue
- liquid tempera or acrylic in orange, blue, white, and black
- masking tape
- scraps of corrugated cardboard
- scissors and glue
- china markers, pencil crayons, or chalk pastels, optional


This piece is more dramatic with a vertical presentation so cut/use your paper to this advantage.

My paper was 12"x8"

Tape off your edges.

Using a ruler mark off your horizon line in bottom third of your paper.  The horizon in this piece is a lake so we want that nice straight line.

Using disk tempera or watercolour paint in your sky. 

Set aside to dry.

Take a piece of drawing paper and paint with liquid tempera or acrylic.  I used blue and white mixing a bit to also get a light blue.

I want variation of colour and to see the brush marks so don't over work this.

Set aside to dry.

Now paint an orange piece of drawing paper.  I had some leftover from the last project so I just used that.  Let dry.

I wanted a bit of texture on this piece so I used some bumpy craft foam to print on some blue and white dots.

By now my background paper is dry so I add some blue disk tempera or watercolour in the lake area.

Let dry....this is where those hair dryers come in handy!

Now it's time to cut my blue and orange papers for my hills/mountains.

I like to measure the width I need and cut the paper to fit.  I'm making my marks on the back.

I then turn the paper over and draw on my hill. I like to pick what part of the paper I want to use.

Cut and glue into place.

I have my hills on the same side of the paper but you could also have one on other side for a different composition.

To print on my trees I'm using a few pieces of corrugated cardboard.  I just use the edge and I will tape several pieces together to get a thicker line if I want.

The trees need to be fairly dark so it's black with a touch of blue....a little white got in there as well :)

A practice page is always a good idea.  Here I'm using up some extra blue paint.

Now those trees will have some highlights, they will be picking up light from that orange sky so I add just a few touches of orange.

At this point I realize we needed a little dark on the other side to balance it a bit so using watery paint (black with a little white) I added a few tree lines on the distant shoreline.

I watered it down because I want them to be hazy...they are in the distance.

Finally I added some china marker but you could use pencil crayon or chalk pastel.

I outline my hills/mountain by following the paper and add some strands of grass in front of the trees.

That's it.

Using different complimentary colours gives your paintings a whole different feel.