For my elementary fiber unit, third and fifth graders focused specifically on loom building and the contemporary fiber artists Shelia Hicks and Lenore Tawney.
Beginning with my third graders, I introduced contemporary fiber artist Lenore Tawney’s body of artwork, specifically her series Drawing in Air. Students learned about how the clothe is formed through weaving, and that a loom is used as the device to weave. Looking at Tawney’s alternative use of loom structure, students discussed the 3D forms that came out of Tawney’s series of work Drawings in Air.
Lenore Tawney and her artwork Drawing in Air.
Using Tawney as inspiration, students created their own loom structure from cardboard. Students measured, marked, and cut slits for their warp and strung their looms to create a similar form quality. Due to the wrapping technique, both sides of the loom displayed this yarn pattern. Students then applied construction paper and oil pastel to embellish their looms with color and pattern. Final works of art were hung from our classroom ceiling to be admired.
Fifth-grade students observed contemporary fiber artist Shelia Hicks evolution of artwork throughout her career. Beginning with Shelia’s flat color blocked tapestries students observed how her techniques evolved from the traditional. Students described Shelia’s recent fiber installations and found similarities in the use of color and materials from her earlier works. we discussed how Sheila’s weavings became more sculptural over time due to her use of wrapping and tassel forms.
Inspired by Hicks’ fiber evolution, students themselves built their own loom frames and created flat color blocked weavings. To finish their weavings students created 3d forms by creating pom-poms and tassels from yarn. My students were encouraged to develop color themes and patterns to create a cohesive work of art.
A close up image of a Shelia Hicks’ tapestry and tassel.