IslandWood is an environmental learning center located on Bainbridge Island. For most students it is a westward trip from Seattle across the water on a Washington State Ferry. One of the highlights of my year, aside from spending time with my own grandkids, is being able to share the passion I have for weaving with plant-fibers with other young people who come to IslandWood. Students from all over the state come here for four days and three nights, to explore and learn about the natural world. This week I was delighted to spend time with young people from Dunlap and Wellington Elementary Schools, and Dearborn Park International School, levels 4th-6th. Here are a few images of them at work.
The students are guided in small groups through their four day experience by skilled individuals in the IslandWood Graduate Program.
Here is the Art Studio on Day One, before their work is added to the exhibit.
It is a wonderful large space to work in, and today is gray and cool. It is a nice day to work inside for a few hours. I will get to spend about 2.5 hours with each group of 12 or so students.
It is a lovely space to work in and a wonderful gallery, so students to see their work exhibited.
The project is a Cedar Bark Wall Hanging. Students will learn the virtues of the Western red cedar tree, and how for thousands of years, as it is today, it’s been valued and utilized by the First Peoples of this place. The students will learn how to use a twig as a simple loom, split and prepare the cedar inner bark for weaving, weave a mat, and stablize the edge with NW sweetgrass.
The students also learn how to make their own cordage out of yellow flag iris, for hanging their mats.
Sorry for the sideways images! I just can’t figure out how to fix that!
This young man is ready to weave the edge with NW sweetgrass next. (above)
Our exhibit is ready! I see the care, patience, skill, and persistence that these students all have within them. I was impressed by how helpful each student was, lending a hand to their neighbor, or helping clean up the scraps.
Our experience together is completed once they plant their baby cedar trees. They find just the right spots in the forest amoung the Grandparent Cedars.
One young man told me: “I’m going to come back and see this cedar when I’m grown up!”
Yes! That’s the idea!