Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fibonacci & Fabric

I used to teach art to my daughter's school class all throughout elementary school.  They do not have paid art teachers for elementary schools here and rely on "Art Moms" do lessons with the kids.

Anna will be a Senior in high school this year.   So it has been a long time since I have taught young kids.  But I taught a workshop last week at the Boise Watershed for children ages 5-14 (two separate sessions for different age groups).

The Boise Watershed is an educational center located at the West Boise Wastewater Treatment Facility.  It promotes "water stewardship."  They have several workshops for kids during the summer that are free.  They also have family events and drop-in craft times along with the permanent interactive displays.

The workshops combine science and art.  I was approached earlier in the year by the education coordinator about teaching a workshop.  We decided on Fibonacci & Fabric.

I tied the Fibonacci sequence into the art project by having fabric squares in sizes related to the sequence (i.e. 1 inch square, 1 inch, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13).   If you place the squares starting with the smallest and then matching the edge of the next with the previous pieces, you end up with a "spiral" like pattern which is often found in nature.  And a golden rectangle which relates to Fibonacci's golden ratio.

The project was to paint Setacolor Transparent paint onto all the squares and then put plant shapes on top to sun print on the fabric.  In each square, the kids had to put the same number of plant items that matched the number in the sequence.  For example, they needed to put five plants items on the five inch square.
Painting the fabric squares.

This piece is dried and some of the items have been removed and some haven't.  I had scanned some plant material they could cut out of paper, had some leaves I had pressed and they could also draw their own plant shapes and cut them out.

After everything was dried in the sun,  I fused all the squares to another piece of fabric in the spiral pattern so that they had a fabric banner to take home with them.

I did a lot of prep work to get ready for this workshop and I think it paid off with the kids having a nice project in the end.

One of the younger kids' finished piece.

I had forgotten that at a certain age, some kids start saying they cannot draw.  One boy told me this and I said that if he could pick up a pencil and write his name, he could draw.  I believe everyone can draw.  The response was "But I can't draw well."  Ah, and therein lies the problem.  I don't remember what I said but it was probably something like "you don't have to draw well."  

Everybody can draw but when people start judging the result that's when the creativity gets shut down.  As an artist, I know this problem all too well.  When I start getting concerned about making something "good" that sometimes tightens me up.  And since I'm an artist, I also have the expectation that it "should" be good; I've been doing it long enough.

We, artists, have to let go of those thoughts and just create!


Linda M said...

What a great project! I really like how you reinforced the number sequence by adding the plant material.

Lisa Flowers Ross said...

Thanks, Linda!