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Fiber arts are often ignored when planning curriculum. Maybe we feel students are too old for a weaving lesson or the materials needed are too expensive. I have fallen into this mindset a time or two myself. In fact, I’ve tried some simple sewing projects here and there, but I’ve never fully committed to incorporating a strong base of fiber projects in my art room. I don’t feel comfortable teaching methods like felting or embroidery with so little experience myself.
However, I know my middle school students would go crazy for fiber arts the way they do for ceramics. The truth is, we don’t need to be experts in every medium to be good art teachers. Instead, we need to provide opportunities for our students to explore their art making options.
That’s why we are here – to help!
One introductory fiber method to try is weaving. Simple paper weaving is great for younger students. Older students are capable of more complex techniques using inexpensive materials such as yarn, fabric strips, plastic bags, and old t-shirts. Many simple materials can make great looms as well. Think embroidery hoops, CDs – even a paper cup can become a 3D weaving surface. Weaving techniques can lead to even more student choice and experimentation. Traditional tabby weaving mixed with Egyptian knots make uniquely textured pieces. The combination of materials and methods in weaving create endless opportunities for student ownership and increased motivation.
Check out the printable resource below illustrating a sampling of different weaving techniques to share with your students.
If you find your interest in fiber arts growing or are looking for a new, fresh approach to the medium, take a peek at our newest online course, Studio: Fibers. This class will provide an updated approach to some classic methods and techniques. Incredible content experts, including Cassie Stephens, lead the course. Studio: Fibers debuts October 1st with additional sections running in November and December. Enroll today!
What are your favorite go-to fiber projects in your art room?
Do you have any tips or tricks to ensure successful fiber projects?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors from across the nation and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University or any of its academic offerings.