My four year old granddaughter, Calla, is gearing up on this morning to help gather fresh Red Osier Dogwood branches to bring to her brother’s class for a project we’ll make.
Calla and her dad, Spence, team up while thinning out branches and trunks of the Swamp Dogwood from this overgrown riparian area along a stream on property we are stewards of.
As we arrive at Gordon Elementary School in Kingston Washington, USA, we find that Ms. Lyon’s Options class of K-2nd graders are rearranging the picnic tables so we can be outside for class today.
They may be small, but they are strong, and organized!
Now we are all set up, with a few in the background who found another way to get ready!
I sure loved the experience of being introduced to the class as “grandma” by seven year old Asha.
It was wonderful being welcomed by this polite and earnest group of Artists!
People have been using plants to make things since the beginning.
Spence and I had already made two score-lines with our knives down each twig, so a narrow strip of bark could be removed easily.
Once this strip is pulled off, then you can get your nimble fingers under the edge of the bark on the twig to loosen it little by little. It is best if you work slowly and carefully.
You hopefully will end up with a rectangle of beautiful bark. Just punch a hole in each of the corners, but not too close to the edges of the bark, or it could break.
Fold the bark in half to make a smaller rectangle, then use dampened iris leaves, string, or yarn, to tie through the holes and to make a handle.
Let’s make pouches, there are plenty of twigs, and plenty of grown-ups to help! (A ratio of 1 grown-up to 4 students is great for this age.)
Pouches are in progress here!
Pouches and necklaces abound! Last step is to stuff the pouch with packed newspaper, a twig, or a stone, just to keep the pouch from curling in on itself as it dries. Once it’s dry in a few days, take the material out.
What a happy day for me, when three generations can share time together and be outside making things and having fun. Ms. Lyons, and Art docents, Allison and Kendra, prepared the class well before my visit. The docents came the week before to teach students the techniques for folding a pouch, using paper and string. Many thanks for all the help today, and for taking these pictures so I can tell this story!
As we clean up, the youngest play on the timberframe bridge that Spencer helped parents and students to build in 2011. It was made to honor of two retiring Options teachers. You can see more of Spence’s awesome projects at: http://westtimbercraft.com/
This day has been a day of pure delight!
Many thanks to Ms. Lyons and her class at Gordon Elementary for inviting me today.
Happy little pouches!