Sunday, July 27, 2014

Some Weaving History

After reading Jude's bit of the story of her history with made me reflect on my own experiences.  I may have had some childhood exploits with weaving...but those I don't recall.

*As always, click on image to enlarge*

What I do recall is how I've mostly woven with young children aged 2+ years to pre-teens.
I wove in preschool classrooms, school-aged summer programs and Week of the Young Child celebrations.  I wove with very young toddlers.  I taught one special 10 year old boy how to make his own medicine bag.  He took to it like a fish to water and was so very proud with his completed bag.

School-aged one week summer program, collaborative weaving

The center (I still have this one too!)

And once, I presented a workshop with a friend/colleague, for Early Childhood Education professionals at the National Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference.  We called it "Fibers in the Classroom".  My friend presented the quilting (cloth) portion and I did the weaving portion.  We had a blast!  At one point as I was presenting and questions were coming and a real back and forth of ideas was blooming, I remember saying, "If it has holes, you can weave it!"  Haha

Week of the Young Child Celebration

But so true, really.
I've had children weave on combs, straws, warped hula-hoops and plastic laundry or strawberry baskets, chain-link fencing...and more.
Weft materials have included cloth, rope, leather strips, thin branches, yarns, ribbons and probably more I don't remember!
I have a big fat notebook of ideas to use with children (or adults!).  All of the twig postings seen on the forum and FB remind me of some of my favorite idea pages in that notebook.

Sisters weaving together

And, really that is how I see myself, a child-like weaver.  Because aside from the basket and medicine bag weaving classes I took as an adult...with other adults...most of my weaving has been done with children.

I think that is a very fine thing.

Sharing the loom

Two of my preschool classrooms (same school) had wonderful floor tapestry looms donated!  We made great use of those.  They were always warped and available for use.  Sometimes parents would stop and weave with their child during drop off or pick up times.  I loved seeing that!  One of the classrooms got the idea to weave long (over 12 inches) very thin twigs that fell from the trees in the play yard.  I liked seeing that too!  That's me in the photo above, weaving in a  3-5 year old classroom.

Classroom Documentation

I made this loom out of a wood frame intended as the bottom of a basket.  I rescued it and many others from their impending trip to the local trash facility!
Then I gathered this paper mesh material from the recyclable items in the staff lounge.
I tied it to the wood frame.
I created a PVC frame, tied on the new 'loom' and taped the whole thing in a large sensory tub.  I then placed a variety of weft materials for the children to choose from in the tub itself.
My best memory of this experience (aside from the few parents, like the one pictured, who wove with their children) is that these almost two year olds came up with their own way of weaving.  They would stand opposite each other, one on each side of the loom and "pass" the piece of fiber to one another.  Once the child had received it, she would then 'pass' it back through a different hole in the mesh, thus 'weaving'!  Soon after making this discovery, the children learned which peers liked to weave and would ask each other, 
"You want to pass to me?"
I can't think of a better invitation than that!

Classroom documentation
I still have this woven loom, as I can't bear to take it apart 
and don't quite know what to do with it!

Close up
This one was given to the child who did the most weaving on it.
She was so interested, she wove everyday!
I sang a little ditty with these 3-5 year old children.
"In and Out the window, in and out the window, that's the way we weave".

The children would choose a piece of yarn and weave it in.
Over the course of the summer program, they filled the whole 'loom'!

I found this in my weaving ideas notebook.
I think I got it when I went with a friend, who is a weaver, to a weaving conference.
Now...THAT was cool!
There were displays from all the local weaving guilds.  Each one was given a particular set of colors or a theme to work with.  The work presented was creative, unique and technically exquisite.  There were also many vendors.
I really enjoyed that experience.

Unfortunately, I no longer remember where I got this, nor who to credit.

I hope you've enjoyed this little trip down memory lane with me.
Maybe you've picked up an idea or two (if you work with children yourself or to be adapted).

Happy weaving everyone!

Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2014


Ms. said...

Gee what a nice post/LOVED seeing young you with the children. How swell you still have the stuff to document like this.

Nancy said...

Michelle~ Thanks for your kind words. There is some 'stuff' I have yet to let go of. When/if I do, at least it is documented here. :)

deanna7trees said...

you brought back memories of weaving with children. i had taken a basic weaving class and the children loved experimenting with different threads and yarns on simple looms. loved seeing your pictures.

Peggy said...

This is a treasure, Nancy -- you are most definitely a weaver and in more ways than one. I loved see your past looms and the children and you! xoxo

Nancy said...

Deanna~ Yes, the memories are fond - especially when they involve children.

Peggy~ There's so many way to create a loom!

jude said...

loved seeing all this

Deb G said...

This is a wonderful post Nancy. We have a loom that I don't think is being used right now. I am going to dig it out on Monday. :)

Nancy said...

Thanks Jude~ I loved looking back and sharing.

Deb~ Oh...that makes me smile to read that!! Let me (us) know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

oh Nancy, thank you for assembling all this! printing our Weaver's journey page - very provocative questions and exercises, there. your experiences with children really emphasize not only what fabulous creators little people are, but the allure and power of weaving.

Nancy said...

Dee~ Yes, I'd forgotten all about that Weavers Journey until I I was digging around for photos! Children make the best artists and whenever a loom is out in the classroom, I've not been able to resist it myself.