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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Making Art Together

Institute for Educators 2012 - Part 2

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.


baskets of thread - The Eric Carle Museum

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. manipulating cardboard- The Eric Carle Museum

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.

Thread and Paper workshop- The Eric Carle Museum

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.

Thread and Paper workshop- The Eric Carle Museum

Thread and Paper workshop- The Eric Carle Museum

Thread and Paper workshop- The Eric Carle Museum

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.

Thread and Paper workshop- The Eric Carle Museum

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!  



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 



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