Each year for the past fifteen, I’ve had the privilege of spending two intensive weeks teaching the craft of weaving with plant fibers, to young people with wildly diverse backgrounds, between the ages of 8 and 14. As an Artist in Residence at IslandWood, an environmental education campus on Bainbridge Island, just a ferry ride across the water from Seattle, each year I’ve met populations of young people, many whose parents are recent immigrants, others from Indigenous First Peoples communities, some from schools for gifted students, others from schools for the homeless, students from urban areas and students from rural communities. I have learned important lessons each year, and my measurement of success is to see each student create something they didn’t know they could make, and to hear each of their voices, their questions and comments as they handle the plant materials I bring to them.
Last spring I was invited to IslandWood for a residency as an Artist in the Woods, to work on a personal project of my choice. I decided to bring examples of all the different plant fiber projects I’ve made with groups of students over the past three decades, and have the students at IslandWood during my stay vote for the four projects that they would most like to make. I also solicited votes from the teachers, chaperones, and IslandWood graduate students and staff. Over the two week period I tallied the approximately 418 votes and came up with 24 projects favorite projects.
Next step has been to compile these projects with instructions into a workbook for parents and teachers.
The “Weaving Nature – Plant Fiber Projects Blending Culture, Science & Art” Workshop at Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network, or BARN, will be a class for parents and teachers who will help me by making the projects in the draft version of this publication. Anyone who takes this workshop will end up with a box filled with examples of student tested plant fiber projects that can be useful not only for teaching handwork, measurement, and engineering skills, but also with blending culture, science and art concepts. Each student will walk away with their copy of the draft version of the instructional workbook, and will be given credit in the acknowledgements of the final publication, for helping to workshop these projects!
For more information or registration:https://bainbridgebarn.wildapricot.org/event-2514740