Saturday, September 27, 2014

Line Month in My Classroom: Wire Quilt & String Art

As an artist, I sometimes feel sorry for mathematicians and their limited definition of the line. Lines in art can curve, wiggle, wave, zig, zag, and have three dimensions. Tangible lines are more meaningful to my blind students, who I walk around the room and have feel the spaces between the cinderblocks, the legs of a chair, their canes, wire, yarn, and say, "these are lines."

Sometimes art supply companies create lesson plan ideas to help to their sell supplies and I'm glad I bought into Dick Blick's idea of making a wire quilt. Students used thick aluminum wire, thin, plastic coated wire, pipe cleaners, beads and  the list grew each day of the week to include yarn, ribbon, vinyl, tissue paper and buttons. Had I limited each student to one square, I think the easiest solutions would have been their only solutions.  By asking them to make as many squares as they could in a week, they were able to explore new materials and ideas, such as making a tic-tac-toe board or an American flag The finished product was 70 squares which ended up being about 40" X 30"

A couple years ago, my sweet Minnesota nephew, John, sent me his string art to show me a project he  thought my students would enjoy.  I know I loved doing it as a kid, and it turns out that you don't need working eyes to be able to figure out how to make these.  The magic is discovering ways to make curves, using only straight lines. I hope this is something my students won't be afraid to try at home.

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