Sunday, December 16, 2012


During November,we explored dyes made from natural material.  We began by relating the concept of how people might have obtained color to dye their clothing if they could not go shopping.  I asked, " How could you get an orange shirt if you couldn't go to the store?"  Some answers included, "in my drawer", "go to Ikea", and "they could paint it".  This answer led to the question of where would they obtain the paint?  What was the paint made from?

The children engaged in a discovery session using flowers, leaves, soil, and rocks to color on paper.  Integrating this concept, some classes pounded plant pigment and "painted" headbands which were worn at the Thanksgiving dinner.  This activity gave them a tangible experience that helped them understand the concept of natural pigment.

Their time in the Gan included discovering the cochineal beetle on a cactus, which when squished, creates a magenta color.  They gathered marigold flowers to be used as a dye bath.  Dye baths were prepared using the flowers from the Gan, cochineal powder, and bark from the Osage Orange tree, a native Texas tree, and bark from the Oak tree in the parking lot. 

The Three Year Olds had a sample of natural wool and they submerged the sample into the dye bath of their choice. The Pre K dyed silk scarves.

One Day a woman visited and demonstrated how to take the dyed wool and spin it into yarn.  The children watched as her spinning wheel took their dyed wool and made strands of colored yarn.
She also showed them how to card wool using big tools that looked like combs.

Last week, our students took the wool that they had dyed and created two different works of art.  Each student wove the wool onto the large mural frame.  This mural had orignally been created two years ago by another group of ECEC students and hangs in the main foyer of the school.  This year, the students added their collection of wool to the mural, enhancing the beauty and adding a new array of colors.

In addition, the Three Year Old cluster used sections of wool to create multi-hued sheets of felt fabric. The children worked collaboratively to combine sections of carded wool to create a unified piece of material using a basic felting process. The students chose a piece of dyed wool, and then used their pincher fingers to gently pull the material until it was thin enough to see through.

Each piece was immersed in warm, soapy water.  Then the students placed their material so that it partially overlaid an existing section.  They used their hands to gently pat down the material to help attach the fibers.

The Pre K group created felt balls using a similar method.  They started with a core of tightly packed wool.  Then they stretched a thin piece of wool and immersed it in water.  The wet wool was then wrapped tightly around the core.  As this process was being done, the students were squeezing and tightening the wool.  They continued to build layer upon layer until they achieved their desired size.

New Vocabulary: carded wool, felt, felting process, mural, weave   Skills: fine motor, muscle strengthening in the hand assists pre-writing skills, collaboration, following step by step process

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