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      Virtual Art Activities

      Found materials weaving

      Weaving is an ancient tradition used to create clothing, containers, blankets and more. This practical skill is also a contemporary artform, used to make tapestries and sculptural objects. In our galleries you can see all examples of woven garments, baskets and even parts of chairs, known as caning. Elizabeth Keithline’s Shadow Tree sculpture in The Pod was created by weaving wire around a tree on our museum campus. What kinds of woven items can you find in your home? Create a weaving from yarn combined with found natural materials gathered outside.

      • Cardboard backer (ideally 3x5 inches or larger)
      • Ruler
      • Pencil (to mark the spacing on the cardboard)
      • Scissors
      • String
      • Yarn
      • Grass, twigs and/or other natural materials
      • Plastic tapestry needle (optional)

      Step 1: Use a rectangular piece of cardboard to create your loom. The piece should be at least 3x5 inches.

      Step 2: Use a ruler to measure and mark ½ inch or ¼ inch intervals at the top and bottom of your loom. The marks should line up both top and bottom.

      Step 3: Use scissors to cut ½ inch notches at each mark.

      To create the bird’s head and beak, dip your fingertips in paint and press them into the end of the bird neck. Use a different color to paint the beak. Tip: Add a multicolor look by switching colors and finger-pressing in different colored feathers!

      Step 4: Tie a knot in your string to keep it from pulling through the cardboard. Slide the knotted end into the first notch then down through the opposite side. Loop the string through the notch directly next to it and then back up to the top of the loom. Continue looping through the opposite and adjacent notches until you have the string lined up across the whole loom. Tie and cut the end.

      Step 5: Take your first piece of grass, paper or a twig and weave over-under-over across the whole loom.

      Step 6: Start the next row below the first and use the opposite weave pattern: under-over-under. Continue alternating the weave pattern and working side to side with your selected materials. Each new row gets added below the last one. Push the woven materials toward the top of your loom every so often to keep them tightly woven.

      Step 7: Pull the loops of string off the top and tie each loop in a knot. Remove the loops from the other side of your loom and tighten the weaving.

      Explore more of our Drop-in Art Activity video tutorials on our YouTube channel.

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