Monday, February 3, 2014

questions and answers about textiles

Question: Why are textiles included in Missouri art curriculum in the first place?
Answer: Textiles are included for four distinct reasons. The first reason being that our market places are brimming over with all kinds of materials that artists may use to express themselves with. The state art educators want to be the first to promote the free use of any new mediums. Secondly, if teachers are going to teach art history of a particular study like textiles, they also then need to be able to instruct students in the use of historical materials. New mediums help art teachers keep up with the times, and old mediums help art teacher reinforce art history lessons to students. The third reason that textiles are now taught is to promote to the children of Missouri a broader definition of "art." Art does not have to be a painting or a sculpture only, it can also include a hand-woven rug or a meticulously sewn quilt. Traditionally, modern artists believed that fine crafters and fine artists must be kept apart in the world of art. But the state now wishes to teach a greater variety of view points both on and in the art related fields. This is because the state now recognizes that children come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Children also come from many different cultural backgrounds, countries and religions. So in an effort to appeal to a greater variety of people, the state is teaching a greater variety of topics under their fine arts curriculum. And fourth, the state public schools are funded by the tax money of many different people. The inclusion of textiles is one of several new mandates for art teachers that will appeal to a larger audience who supplement our public schools with their tax dollars.

Question: Is paper mache considered a textile?
Answer: Yes, because it is a fiberous pulp medium that can be manipulated in a wide variety of ways.  Paper mache may also be used during a sculpture course in general. This is because both sculpting and painting courses have broader stipulations than textile courses when the state is defining the materials used under particular art requirements. 

Question: What mediums are used in textile education?
Answer: The mediums in an art textile class include fabrics, weaving, and paper that is manipulated as a flat woven surface and/or sculpture. The paper can not simple be drawn on or painted on in order for it to be included in an authentic textile course. There are many teachers who include paste painting techniques in projects that they label "textiles." This is not a textile subject technically. In textiles, the paper must be further manipulated with techniques such as folding, shredding, or weaving in order for the lesson to be thought of as something other than a painting or drawing requirement. (Dyeing fabrics is, however, considered a textile technique traditionally.) Simply painting onto the canvas is a painting technique. These methods cross over in art courses but in order to label them properly, teachers must adhere to particular standards. In mixed media project both textile and painting techniques are often included. In this case, the teacher would file her art project under "mixed media" for that particular state standard instead of textile. If she has no other textile project, she could used the mixed media for a textile requirement but it would be better for her to choose the former and incorporate a weaving project for a textile standard requirement.

Question: What is the difference between teaching textiles and teaching sewing?
Answer: In textile art courses, teachers instruct their students to manipulate fabric, weaving materials or even paper pulp mediums to create art. Included in this instruction, are all the standards used by art educators when teaching painting, sculpting etc.. In other words, if an art teacher is designing a quilt unit, he or she will also include in that unit the study of design theory, color theory, and the art history of the chosen subject. If a sewing teacher is teaching a unit in quilts, she will most likely teach basic machine sewing methods plus economic principles. Home economics instructors and fine art teachers sometimes share similar interests, but these two schools of practice are very different from each other because of the information that is included in the curriculum of each interest. This is also true of the differences between craft teachers and fine art teachers. A craft instructor will most frequently limit her teaching to the manipulation of materials. A fine arts teacher covers more material and also teaches subjects in the arts from the perspective of fine arts. All three of these teaching professions are beneficial to the development of eye-hand coordination in students. But the type of additional information taught with material lessons designed to enhance small motor skills is determined by the instructor's knowledge base.

My Textile and Sewing Pinboards:
  • Prickly Pins - I'm keeping a web scrapbook of those textile/sewing ideas that I may develop future art assignments with. 
  • Kaleidoscope Quilts - Examples on the web
  • Crazy Quilts - Crazy quilting as a textile art is extremely creative and free-flowing by nature, and crazy quilters will often learn as much about specific embellishments as they will about crazy quilting itself.
  • Baltimore Beauties - Baltimore Album Quilts originated in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1840s. They have become one of the most popular styles of quilts and are still made today. These quilts are made up of a number of squares called blocks. Each block has been appliqu├ęd with a different design. The designs are often floral, but many other motifs are also used, such as eagles and landmarks. They have a background of white and incorporate many primary colors such as reds, greens and blues. 
  • Amish Quilts - Amish quilts are appreciated for their bold graphic designs, distinctive color combinations, and exceptional stitching. Quilting became a favored activity of the Anabaptist sect after emigrating to the United States and Canada from Germany and Switzerland over 250 years ago.
  • Hawaiian Quilts - Hawaiian quilting reflects distinctive design qualities found in the Hawaiian floral and fauna. The patterns are usually large and radially symmetric. Most Hawaiian applique quilts are cut from a single piece of folded fabric. 
  • Needlecases, Needle Books and Pincushions 
Question: Where might I find lesson plans for teaching sewing to young students?
Answer: I suggest that you either purchase or check your local library for a title called, "Kids Can Quilt" by Dorothy Stapelton. In this book, you will find pattern templates, excellent directions and projects that develop basic skills and creative thinking processes that are simple enough for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to accomplish.
Looms made from cardboard boxes provide young children with easy spaces to
 manipulate yarn through. The teacher will need to string the loom in advance.
Eliminating this step from the weaving process is helpful.
Question: I want to teach my second graders how to weave but their finger skills are not yet "advanced" enough to weave with cardboard looms. They have already practiced with paper weaving. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Yes, teach them how to weave with a cardboard box loom. I have pictured my teacher sample below. This kind of weaving is just slightly more advanced than paper weaving and very age appropriate for second graders. Ask parents to donate shoe box lids only for this art endeavor. You will need to string the looms in advance though. 


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