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Editor's note.

The cute fellow on our cover is happily running forward into this month's issue, which focuses on ways to involve students in the magic of fiber arts. First up is "Circus ABC" (page 16), a fun project that leads fifth-graders through the creation of applique artworks that show balance through the use of circus performers that fill the compositional space. The skill of stitchery is developed as the kids sew the likes of the "Wily Wire Walker" and the "Amazing Aerialist." The students also learn to cut block letters, connecting the visual arts and language arts.

A soda-straw loom was used to create the fun fiber-art items seen on pages 20-21 ("Straws are for More than Sipping"). What a quick and inexpensive way to introduce children to the basics of weaving! With readily available materials, bands can be woven and then turned into a variety of products, including our cover creature.

High-school students will enjoy the teamwork involved in "A Community Quilt" (page 22). After exploring the historical roles of quilts and examining photos of these textiles, the teenagers use linoleum block printing techniques to create the squares that will be sewn together, quilting-bee style. Kids who were initially intimidated by the thought of sewing soon came to realize how fun and fulfilling quilting together could be.

A twist on the "typical" comes in the form of "Painted Weaving Collage" (page 30). After noticing the similarity of the paper-plate weavings done by students in the past, this creative teacher solicited ideas from her students on how to make the project more exciting. Why not combine yarn and paint? Of course! Making circular weavings the focal point in a painting was just the thing to spice things up in this particular classroom. It could spice things up for you, too.

Do you know "The Three C's of Coiling" (page 32)? They're Culture, Craftsmanship and Consumerism. There is so much to learn from the craft of coiling, and author Louise Biggs does a great job of helping us along the way. First introducing us to the relevance and importance of fine-art production in American Indian culture, then getting right down the actual creating, she finishes with a look at how to calculate the price of art objects. The high-school students who participated in this ambitious project came away with a grasp of the economics of art and craft.

When you are finished with the warm and fuzzy fiber-arts projects described above, move on to a seasonal idea. In "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow" (page 36), middle-schoolers learn about folk art, Grandma Moses, and the painting techniques of stippling and pouncing. Imagine the fun you and your students will have creating paintings of winter scenes that depict a day in your lives.

So what if it's cold outside! Use the snow as inspiration for a seasonal art opportunity. And, introducing your students to the magic of fiber arts will help keep their creative souls warm, happy and productive.
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Author:Bridge, Maryellen
Publication:Arts & Activities
Date:Dec 1, 2004
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