Showing posts with label felting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label felting. Show all posts

Monday, August 22, 2016

In the Art Room: Fiber Arts Studio Course

Y'all, I've been waiting all summer to share some big news with you: I worked with the wonderful folks at AOE this summer to put together a fibers course just for you! Everything I've learned from teaching art and exploring my love of fiber arts over the past 20 years is packed into this class. AND I'm able to offer you a special discount cuz we're buds and all. More on that in a moment (just scroll downward if you can't wait). Let's talk about what I'll be talking about!
 I'll be covering the following of my faves:

* 2-Dimensional Weaving With fresh fun spins on weaving lessons. I LOVE weaving as it has so many connections: math (measure much?), science (let's dye some fibers to weave with!), social studies (y'all, every culture weaves) and so much more. I secretly think I became an art teacher just to teach weaving.

* 3-Dimensional Weaving Don't even get me started. I know I have shared MANY of my favorite weaving projects here over the years, but I saved some fresh and new techniques just for this course!

* FELTING! Eeep! Y'all know that's my JAM.
 We'll be exploring both wet felting and needle felting techniques. 
 * Sewing and Embroidery Which I learned as a kid and absolutely loved. I so enjoy sharing that passion with my students...and art teacherin' types. 
* Tips, Tricks, Organization and Management Never taught fibers and have a fear of the unknown? Lemme hold your hand and offer you my best tips for streamlining your fiber arts curriculum. 
And now for the best part! I'm able to offer you the course for a 10% discount! Just use the code: SAVE10CASSIEART17. That's almost a $40 discount (you can thank Google for figuring that out...cuz you won't see me leading a math course anytime soon). You can sign up for the class here! AND if you do, please drop me a line in the comments below. I'd love to stay in touch and hear all about your fiber artin' adventures!
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Monday, March 21, 2016

In the Art Room: My Fave Fiber Arts Lessons!

Hello there, long lost friends! Sorry I vanished for a pinch, I was living it up at NAEA Chicago. I promise I'll share with y'all that fun and fab experience (although if you are an art teacher and have been on any sort of social media for a hot minute then you've prolly seen it all!). Today I thought I'd give y'all a smorgasbord of some super sewing, weaving and fiber arts projects!
Every year, when we return from winter break, we start our big fat -n- fuzzy fiberin' units. I think we all have those areas of art teaherin' that we absolutely love and for me, this is it. From embroidery to needle-felting and weaving, all of my students seam seem to eat it up (sorry, that was my sad attempt at sewing humor). Last year, my third graders got a taste of embroidery with the Our School Has Heart mural. My current thirdies are working on a different kind of embroidery project which I'll be certain to share with you soon. Here's an Intro to Embroidery video I made just for them (and y'all, of course!).
Burlap is my fabric of choice when it comes to kids and embroidery because it's inexpensive and the blunt needles work perfectly with this hole-y fabric. However, because burlap is woven, it does like to unravel easily. For that reason, when prepping burlap for stitching, either draw a line of glue around the outer edges the day before sewing (which locks the fibers in place) or simply tape the bottom and top of the fabric with masking tape. Embroidery hoops aren't necessary...but I do love to give the kids the complete experience. For me, that means embroidery hoops! You can find 'em super cheap at the thrift stores or craft shops. Shoot, send out a school email and I'm guessing you'll end up with a stock pile!
Last year I also gave needle felting a go with my fourth graders! Because the kids work with very sharp needles, be certain you work with kids who are responsible. This would also be fun with small groups or with parent volunteers in the room. More here
I remember the summer my grandma taught me to embroider and cross stitch. I was instantly hooked and I do believe that's what's made me such a lover of all things fiber arts since. I have taught several after school sewing classes over the years and this embroidered and stitched pillow was one of 'em
This time gingham fabric, embroidery floss and sharp needles were used. 
And sewing machines! I have been fortunate enough to have about a half dozen machines for my art room. The kids LOVE using them!
Another project I did as a kid that I recently introduced my students to is string art. I remember making one of these in fifth grade and it being just about the best thing ever. My fourth grade students loved making these last year! 
We created these in celebration of Dot Day but I'm pretty sure you could make 'em whenever. I can't wait to do this project again!
What's that? You've never taught fiber arts before? Friend, don't you sweat it. Here's a great project to ease your students (and yourself) into the concept of fiber arts: paper weaving! Not only is this project great at introducing your students to the look and process of weaving but you can also throw in so much math and literacy (there are so many fab books on weaving, y'all!).
Use this loom-making lesson to focus on math skills...and make sure it's a day you are being evaluated. It's all sorts of STEAM-y. You'll look good, trust me!
Word to the wise: some students will understand the concept of weaving immediately while others will struggle. 
For that reason, I often introduce weaving on an oversized loom made from laminated paper. More info here
And I do a whole lotta peer tutoring. The kids are much better at explaining things to each other than I often am!
The following year, I introduce my second graders to circle loom weaving. This project is one that is a HIT with those kids who usually don't dig painting or drawing but do love working with their hands (boys are the BIGGEST fans of weaving, ya'll!). There will be frustration in the beginning but I make sure to warn the kids: This is something new. You've never done this before. Be patient with yourself, me and your friends. We'll ALL get there, I promise!
I have my second grade kids for 30 minutes, twice a week. After spending two art classes painting their plates, we notch our loom as seen in the video above...
And warp our loom. That usually takes us one 30 minute class. 
And then we spend the next couple of classes weaving. Hint: if you use the thicker yarn, weaving goes a whole lot faster! 
 Tree weaving is a slightly different spin on circle loom weaving. I have done this project with my third graders and I love it because I can also teach the concepts of landscape painting. These are always so pretty when complete!

If the kids have completed the circle loom weaving the year before, they'll understand the concept of tree weaving. 
Straw weaving is easily the class hit! I mean, who doesn't love to drink yarn, y'all!?


What to do with finished straw weavings? The kids have made them into bracelets, belts and even little people. Really, the fun is in this making.
Dunno if you have a stock pile of old CDs like me, but I've been hoarding them for this reason: CD weaving!

I was kinda leery of CD weaving for the longest time thinking that the slickness of the CD would cause the warp strings to move. Not so! It's so easy and fun to do. AND it's a quick alternative to circle loom weaving if you are sort on time (and patience as the warping process is MUCH easier).
Ojos de Dios weaving is just as popular as straw weaving in my art room. The kids could crank these out all day long! Once they've gotten the concept down, you might wanna consider expanding on their expertise. Just google Ojos de Dios and you'll see the wonderful ideas out there. 

Right?! Cake! Watch out, you'll end up with mountains of these in your art room.
 Pouch weaving is a project I reserve for my fourth graders. It is def a project you wanna build on from previous years as it's a lil advanced. AND time consuming. I usually allow my students to take this project home to get further ahead on. No videos on this project however, if you follow that link above, I'll hold your hand and walk you thru the process. Weaving the cord is my favorite part...
And it's a nice break from regular weaving. I love having the kids add the cord as it really finishes the piece.
Now if you are feeling inspired (or have older/advanced students), you might wanna try tapestry weaving! It's so fun but does require some focus. However, you won't regret the end results.

And that's all folks! I'd LOVE to hear your fave fiber arts lessons as I'm always on the lookout for more. Please lemme know what you and your students love to create in your art room or at home. 
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Monday, January 7, 2013

DIY: Put a Bird on It

I am interrupting this post with a link to my latest felted sweater...my version of an Anthro sweater with the bonus of a DIY tulle skirt! Check it here. Hello, my name is Cassie and I put birds on things. I know, I'm so cliche that there's even a Portlandia skit dedicated to birds-on-things-itis. Which I apparently have a bad case of.
There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.
Audre Lorde

Oh, were truer words ever spoken? However, I'd like to just change it up a little bit, if I might, to fit my purposes: There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them with felt.
 Yeah, that's better.
So, as you might recall from this post, I have recently caught the felting bug. Like, big time. Which is a really good thing because I have a mountain of thrifted, slightly boring-ish sweaters I'm just dying to felt-ify. Yet another reason to justify my hoarding ways.

I began felting this sweater one evening without any sort of plan but with an urge to put a bird on it. Before I could talk myself out of it, I felted a white paisley shape for the body, overlapping that with the red, blue and a couple specks of black. The tree branch and the leaves took no time at all.
For the back of the sweater, I found some images of birds on pinterest (if you'd like to see them, you can check out my "felting" board) and just started felting away. Originally, I had planned to felt a large tree growing up the middle back of the sweater with birds all over it. But hubs seemed to think that was too cliche and suggested I have the branches growing from the side of the sweater. Huh. Why didn't I think of that?
The birds look out of focus, don't they? That's the fuzzy nature of felting. Which drives a nit-picky detail-oriented artist like me kinda nuts. Also, check out that needle tool on the bottom left. A couple of you mentioned in my felting post to beware of stabbing myself. I'd done it a couple of times, but when I literally had to pull three bloody needles out of my index finger, I thought "ah! this is what I was warned about!" That quote being the g-rated version. Ahem.
After felting eleven or so birds on the back of the sweater, I added the tree branches and leaves. I know, I'm making it sound really easy. I'm not gonna lie, some of those flying birds were a bit tricky. I found the key is to work small because you can always make the bird bigger. Meaning, if it looks like a shrunken head birdie, add more felt. However, if you give it a big ole head to start then the next thing you know, you got some sort of crazy giant-headed bird monster that will frighten small children. Which, just gave me an idea...
Want some outfit details? Belt, dress and shoes: Anthro; For the Birds Enid Collins box purse: best ebay purchase ever; felty hair flower: gift from my moms-in-law. AND check out my new hair stylin's. I've been steam roller rollin' my hair almost daily and it's time consuming. This 'do took less than 7 minutes and I love it. I combed some hair forward for a faux bang and put a bumpit at the crown of my head. I braided the bottom of my hair, twisted it into a bun and pinned it with 27 bobby pins (give or take).
Next up on my Hair 'Do To Do: This Hairy Nesterpiece. BTW, ya'll need to check out one of my fave blogs The Hair Hall of Fame. So much awesomeness on heads.
And that is all. At least for now. I've got another sweater in the works after I promised myself I'd take a break. But when I recently experienced a DIY fail, I felt the need to felt again. And punch my frustrations out. While watching out for my fingers, of course.
But I promise, I'm not putting any more birds on things! For at least another 10 minutes. Now watch this funny clip. You'll like it. 

Chat with you soon!




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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DIY: Felting a Holey Mess, Anthro-Style

Hey guys! I'm updating this post with a link to another needle felting DIY I just completed...here AND one here...just can't stop felting! I don't normally stand around with my arms crossed. Unless I'm cold. Or I'm going head-to-head with a fourth grader and their attitude. In which case, one of my eyebrows are raised and my lips are pursed. Neither scenario is the case in this photo. I'm actually trying to show off my felt-y floral elbows.
Just to clarify: Anthro-Style is not at all similar to Gangnam Style. Least you be confused.

Anthro-Style is a way around paying through the nose for some adorable skirt/dress/sweater that you just know you could make. You can see my attempts here and here.

Gangnam Style is a way of dancing if you want to, well, have a female look at you as if you just ate your socks. You can see my attempts here and here (ha! made you look!).

I caught a bad case of Anthro-Style when I was at said store with a buddy. I spotted this sweet felted cardigan and was drawn to it's delicate colors and motif. However, the $138 price tag was just a pinch off-putting (ahem!). It was then I remembered the huge mound of roving I'd acquired during one of my hobby hoarding episodes and decided to attempt my own felted floral cardi.

Now when I say hobby hoarder, I mean that I've tried my hand at just about every craft under the sun. I collect hobbies like some people do baseball cards and coins. And I've got the garage full of potter's wheels, mosaic tiles, looms and jewelry making supplies to prove it. Occasionally I think to myself, "I should really get rid of all that macrame" and then I dream up something to do with it. For example. As I've yet to figure out how to craft a non-itchy macrame dress. But I will. Someday-ish.
 My version of the Anthro sweater. Granted, it doesn't look a thing like the original and I'm okay with that. Mine's the cheery-happy-kiddie version to their sophisicated-grown-up-lady original.
But my cashmere sweater cost $3.99 at the thrift store not $138. So you can add penny-pincher to my cheery-happy-kiddie version as well, you sophisticated-grown-up-broke-lady.

 Wait, what? You too wanna make a Felt-y Floral Anthro-Style Sweater? Duuuude, it is so easy. But you will need the following:
  •  A Sweater. I was under the misconception that the sweater must be 100% wool. Oh no. You can needle felt on any fabric. I'd had this thrifted cashmere sweater in my give-to-Goodwill pile because it was a little holey. Turns out you can felt-patch those holes. 
  • Wool Roving. I purchased mine at a workshop I attended a couple of years ago. I've made felted soaps and ornaments with it as well as this sweater. So, a little goes a long way. I wouldn't buy it at your local craft store because it will be a rip off. I'd look into some online vendors
  • Needle Felting Tool. This I did pick up at the craft store. I bought one by the company Clover with three needles in it. They are sharp as a mother so be careful as you stab away on your sweater.
  • A Sponge or Bristle Brush Block. Again, I snagged mine at the local craft joint. This is the cushion that you use under the punching of the needle.
Having never needle felted before, I watched a couple videos on youtube. I have found that when learning a new craft, the more tutorials, the better. Here's my feeble attempt:
  1. Pulling the roving. When you get ready to needle felt, pull apart the roving carefully, as if you are gently pulling off a piece of cotton candy. Done correctly, it should look like the photo above.
2.  Shaping the roving. I was creating circles in the above photo, so I gently rolled the roving into a ball and held it in place with my finger. Place your sweater on top of your sponge or bristle brush punching pad.
3.  Punching the Roving. Seriously, watch your fingers! Getting stabbed is not a pleasant experience as those needles are not only sharp but slightly serrated. As you needle punch, your roving will shrink in size as half of it will go through the other side of your sweater. You can shape the roving by angling your punching tool.
4. Making Diana Ross Hair. Because that's what you wanted on your sweater, right? To add a circle around your dot, pull roving as in step one, lay onto sweater and start punching.
5. Punching, Punching, Punching. It's like Fight Club but without Brad Pitt. Sorry.
6. Shaping the Roving. I love that you can shape the direction of the roving just by angling the punching tool and moving the roving. Here I am completing my circle by overlapping the roving.
This photo and the one below should give you an idea how much the roving shrinks as you punch it. I formed the roving into a leaf shape...
...and used my needle to do the rest of the shaping. I added a very thin strip of dark green for the vein in the leaf. Again, for those small details, watch those digits!
Here's a view of the back of my sweater. I flipped over the Anthro sweater to see if theirs was as fuzzy and it wasn't. I'm not sure if that means they trimmed the back or if they just didn't punch as hard as me.
And here's a view of my dining room table. Which has now become Needle Felting Central. Sorry, hubs.
Again, I blame the ridonkulousness of this pose on my showing off my felt-y elbows. sweater: cashmere with Target tags, thrifted; wood paneled skirt: old, Target; tights: geez, Target!; boots: Frye found second hand
I gotta tell you, this needle felting business is addictive. I started on this one morning and didn't stop until well after noon. I was so excited when I was finished, I showed it off to hubs and the following transaction went down (you know, I just can't have a single post without a lil bit of dialog):

Me (complete with bedhead and pyjamas at 3pm): Look! I finished my sweater! (realizing I'm still with bedhead and pyjamas) And I'm still in my pj's! And it's after 3!

Hubs: Yep. Just what I'd always hoped married life would be like.

Yeah, well, as I always like to tell him, you're stuck with me now, mister! 

I do hope this here post has inspired you to do some punching of your own. Of the needle felting variety, that is. Happy Punching!
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