A few weeks ago Diana told you about a bookmaking workshop she facilitated as part of an institute The Carle co-hosted with Smith college, and yesterday I promised that I’d go into more detail about my Thread & Paper workshop with you today.
I’m a sewer, so the idea of combining thread and paper is exciting to me and I wanted to see what other artists have done. A quick search on Pinterest uncovered many interesting examples, and I made a board called Paper, Needle, Thread to organize the images.
I wanted to limit the types of papers available. After a few experiments by me and a couple of studio volunteers, I decided on white tissue paper, white card stock, cardboard, and embroidery floss.
Participants were first invited into free-association small-group conversations about paper and thread. Then, I made my Pinterest board images available to each of the small groups via printouts and a couple of borrowed iPads.
Next, they explored the properties of the embroidery floss and the 3 kinds of paper. To do this, they first manipulated one kind of paper with their just hands. Then, they played with ways to combine that paper with the floss. I also made embroidery and tapestry needles available.
After the participants gained some familiarity with the materials, they were invited to create a composition that combined two kinds of paper with the floss.
At the end of our creation time we discussed what we had done. I asked if seeing the images of artists’ work was helpful or inspiring to them. Some commented that it was intimidating to see ideas prior to playing with their materials, others thought the opposite – that the images excited them about getting to work with materials. The conversation then turned to our work with young children and whether or not we should show our students examples of artist’s work in connection with materials explorations.
Some interesting thoughts were shared, and I’ll share the studio’s approach to this another time. I’d love to know about your class or home. Do you show examples of artists’ work to children before a specific materials exploration, or not? If so, in which circumstances? Please share!