September 17, 2013

Simple Weaving Project for Ancient American Srtudies

Ancient Americas Weaving Project

Simple Weaving Project for Ancient Americas Studies

We're circling the globe in ancient times and we've made our way to the ancient Americas.  That's right, folks!  Aztec, Inca, and Maya!  Mostly, there's lots of blood and human sacrifice and cannibalism in those parts during those times, and that's pretty much all the kids remember from the last time we studied them.  Hearing what they recall from 4 years ago, I decided to take a different approach this go round and put slightly more emphasis on the softer aspects of life, like their crafts and every day living.  Maybe a little less focus on brain eating and child sacrifice.  

Weaving was a big part of life for the women of these cultures and we read that a blanket might take 3 months to make.  Wow!  What a different life where a blanket takes 5 minutes to purchase at the store.  Can you even imagine what good care we would take of our possessions if each thing we owned took months to personally craft?  The kids' minds were blown.

So my objective with this weaving project became to find something doable, but somethign that would take some focus and time.  I wanted it to be finished within a week's span of half hour art blocks, but difficult enough that it felt like a bit of a commitment.  I found just the thing!

We used this post as our inspiration for weaving small, beautiful blocks.  If I had a school's worth of kids to teach, I might have invested in cooler, natural fiber yarns.  But as I have just 3 and am on a budget, we used a variegated earth tone yarn that I already had on hand and I purchased a small roll of fuzzy orange.  That looked Aztecish, I thought.  I built their looms from the cardboard center of a bolt of fabric that I had purchased long ago from a bolt sale.  

The process was difficult for my Hunter.  He is always a little craft challenged, but he was more motivated than usual.  There was a lot of undoing and redoing, but he was quite proud of his finished product.  Haven's is still in the works.  He needed a nap today before tying off.  And Hannah Jane's was so tidy on the loom that she was a little bummed when it had fringe on the sides in the end.  I think she was expecting it to be more rug like.  But once she accepted it for what it was, she said, "It's so detailed and I made it!"

Hooray for a fun and slightly challenging weaving project!  It met all of my expectations of being just hard enough to get the kids in touch with ancient life while being doable enough that they have a piece of textile work that they are quite proud of!  I highly recommend!

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