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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Saturday, 9 January 2010
Rowan and I finally delved into an activity I have been meaning to share with her for a while. For a kid who loves crafts and colour, she shows remarkable restraint with my 'wall of wool' and roving lying about the house, with just the occassional snake or ball to show me.

Painting with wool is a wonderful activity, especially for the pre-needle crowd.
The wool will stick to the wool backing and the nature of the finished piece will allow for plenty of imaginative interpretation.

  • wool roving or batting in a range of colours. you can direct the activity somewhat, by your colour choices (earth tones, brights, rainy day etc.). Arranged in a basket by colours will give a sense of order and help your child begin to see the relationships between the colours.
  • wool felt sheet OR a piece of recycled wool (blanket, sweater...) , felted. 9 x 12" or in that range gives enough space for 'play' but not so large as to be daunting to the young artist.
That's it!

Bring your child to the basket and the backing.
After the first exploratory session, you may want to begin with a story to inspire a response, or have them paint a familiar story while you tell it.
In our first session, Rowan chose to tell me the story of what she was creating.
Explore feelings, movement, colour choices... lots of opportunity to share during the process!

Encourage them to pull small, thin pieces from the batting (thick pieces won't stick/ stay) and place them on the backing. Pressing, pushing with the finger tips and 'smearing' to ensure adhesion.

If working with older (5+) kids, you can share with them simple techniques like starting with a brighter colour and covering it with a softer shade to diffuse it, or laying smaller, darker images first to create a background and then laying a foreground over top.

This style of painting can be very encouraging for children who are frustrated with paints and markers~ the wool images are fuzzy and suggestive by nature, not requiring the precision of 'realness' that other mediums can demand, while still challenging them to be creative. I love that it sets them free from the contstraints of other types of art!

They can continue to add and layer wool until they feel finished.

When they are done, there is the option of removing the wool and returning it to the basket for next time. In most cases, you could even peel the picture from the backing and lay it on another backing for keeping, while leaving your original work space available for the next time.
Making a Playscape (3D)
Rowan and I chose the backing pictured because she had intended to make a 3D playscape when we began this session, so we chose a chunky, textured recycle hand knit sweater piece which was not ideal for flat work.

In the case of creating a playscape, wool can be spread for ponds and fields and beaches and you can incorporate other toys (gnomes, seas shells, animals etc.) as well as use twigs, stood upright in a bit of clay, covered with roving for trees. Bits of fluff can become critters or landmarks.

I especially enjoyed that Rowan (age 4) and I were able to work together at the table! As she worked and told me her story (about a gnome swallowed by a whale!) I worked on my own wool painting project, too! I have a long way to go...

Have fun and be sure to share your adventures!
You should be able to find some multi-packs of roving on Etsy and an old sweater at your local thrift store (just wash in the machine on hot with a bit of dish soap).


BumbleVee said...

Aha...see...she IS an artist!

Katie from ABC&123: A Learning Cooperative said...

Beautiful! I love this natural play experience and I really love the look and feel of your page! Thanks for sharing your link with us this week on ABC & 123!

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