Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Nations Headresses - Art Project

Well we finished our Headresses in time for Parent/Teacher interviews and here are the results.  This project is in relation to the Fur Trade unit Grade 5 are taking in Social Studies.  We discussed how furs were often traded for beads to decorate clothing and ceremonial objects.

You can click on photo to see larger.

Great job Grade 5!!

We started out by drawing a head in profile...the kids used a 1/2 sheet of 90lb watercolor paper.  I asked them to try and fill the space with the head as we were mounting them on a full sheet of black posterboard.

We talked a bit about placement of try and keep the tip of the nose as the center of the head and not the extend out with a rounded skull that connects back to the jaw add a jaw line so the head and neck are distiguished from one another.

I then asked then to draw a band for the headress that sort of looks like a boomerang and a large circular medallion.  We cut these out of white posterboard.

You can test the size ...the heads were already cut out and we measured on the posterboard where the forehead was and where we wanted the band to end.  This made the sketching out easier.

I had printed off some reference photos for them to help them along.

Then the painting started.  They had to paint the head...the band (it needed to have a design as it was to show beading), the medallion, and then as many feathers as they could fit on another 1/2 sheet of watercolor paper in assorted sizes.

The kids are using disk tempera.

I also asked them to paint a square of newspaper in at least 2 colors using liquid tempera for the beads we were going to could also use photocopier paper for this.

We then cut out all our components.  It was easier to paint our feathers uncut and this also decreased the amount of curling when they dried.

We then glued our heads down on our black poster board taking care to move our heads to the side giving us room for the headress.

Using fine sharpies we added lines to our medallion and band to make it appear beaded...we are trying to alternate our lines like shingles on a roof.

We then hold our band up to the head to see where the feathers should go and start gluing them we have a board over the face to help the glue dry flat.

We used some real colored feathers as well to help fill out our headress.

We then glued our band into place.

We took our bead paper and cut it into long triangles. 

We then took a pencil and began rolling the paper starting with the wide end first.

When you are about 1/2 way down the paper apply some glue to the center of the remaining paper.

Continue rolling.

And then slide the bead off the pencil.

We made a hole thru our medallion...strung some beads on a piec of yarn with some pony beads mixed it and knotted our yarn.  We then glued our medallion in place on the band about where the ear would be.

...and that was it.

We had lots of Leprechaun traps arriving on Tuesday.......

but no Leprechauns were caught yesterday although they mixed up everyone's shoes in the classrooms.

I'll see you next time with some photos of the school wide art display that was put together for Parent/Teacher interviews.

Take care.


  1. I love your blog. I teach art and design technology at a small primary school and I would love to do some of the wonderful things you show us on your posts.
    The spring tree weaving is so beautiful, I hope to do some with my 10 and 11 year olds.
    Thank you!

  2. What a super job the kids did. I love seeing the process too. I do think whoever make the one in the upper right in the first pic has been studying Thurber tho.

  3. This is a fabulous blog! I love it here. This project is so very colorful! WOW

  4. (Comment on "How to make a miniature garden)

    I finally made it with my boy; he wanted a present to give to his teacher, and yesterday the miniature garden was perfect to cebebrate the first spring day. We both enjoyed doing this so much!
    Thank you, Gail.
    I've posted about it and linked it here.
    Have a nice day!

  5. It is great to see youths inspired by aboriginal artistic motifs. There is a mural of First Nations Art on display in the museum of civilization called Morning Star which you might also find interesting. There is more information on it at Canada’s Got Treasures, which is also a space where you can share your images/thoughts.

    Canada's Got Treasures, a VMC initiative

  6. This is great! I homeschool my kids, and feel quite limited sometimes when it comes to art projects, but I love what you have shown. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  7. very nice ideas thanks:)

  8. Hello! Another excellent idea of yours that I 'borrowed' recently. Thank you so much for this activity, the children loved working on it and were so proud of the results. We decided to do the face as a silhouette instead. Here are our results:

    Thanks again. I'm sure I'll be 'borrowing' many more of your thoughts!