Forest Threads

11 September 2013 · 4 comments

in Art & Music Outdoors

I was getting quietly disappointed that I hadn’t come across any little community art gems lately to adapt and use within a school context. That changed last weekend when I went for a walk at Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire. Quietly tucked away on one woodland walk was a rather fetching set of croqueted hangings:

Croquet net 1

Croquet net 4

Croquet net 2

Croquet net 3

They added a lovely splash of colour within the woodland. Wool and yarn can be good choices for outdoor art work which I’ve blogged about previously here and here. They are handy projects in that children can work away at them as an ongoing finishing off task or when they have a spare moment. The manipulative skills help with other matters. I will never forget my textiles lecturer at teaching college telling our class about how she had knitted her first pair of socks by the time she went to school, aged 5. Sometimes I think we can underestimate children’s capabilities!

Withy loops

A little further along the path, someone had been hard at work creating withy willow circles. If you have a willow den in your school grounds, then once winter comes along, it will need pruning. This could be a useful art project for using the whips. When willow is green and freshly cut, it is pliable and can be used to create a variety of shapes. Likewise, with dried withies, simply soak them for a couple of days in some water and they will happily bend into many different forms.

Withy loop 2

Another feature, which I didn’t manage to photograph particularly well was a series of little “rope ladders”. These have been created from twigs and wool. The photo really doesn’t do them justice.

Thread sticks

Next, I spotted the solution to all those little bits of spare thread and leftover wool. This is a considerably easier project than a crochet or knitted tree cosy. You simply wrap the threads around the bark of the tree.

Tree trunk wrap 2

Aside from being a clever way of learning to tie knots or laces, the colours could be carefully chosen to match specific themes or to focus upon repeating patterns of different sorts.

Tree trunk wrap

Another possibilities is simply to add threads of wool to the branches. This reminds me a little bit of wishing trees. I did some searching for customs and discovered that in Bulgaria, Martenitsa‘s are made and worn by people from March 1 until they see the first blossom in spring.  These red and white creations mark the arrival of spring.

Forest threads

So, if you are looking for ways to brighten a dark woodland or use up some scraps of wool, I hope this post has given you a few ideas to get your own creative juices flowing.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

TheBoyandMe September 13, 2013 at 23:36

That’s ever so pretty and I love the way that you’ve taken the skills and philosophy into your own work.

Nipping over from the Outdoor Play Party.


Coombe Mill - Fiona September 15, 2013 at 12:07

Lots of lovely creative and fun ways to inspire children and adults alike! As well as being creative it would also help with fine motor skill development. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.


Laura September 16, 2013 at 13:09

Oh I love these beautiful pieces of wild and forest art – the crochet thing is amazing and such a lovely thing to stumble upon, the willow circles are also beautiful 🙂
Just popping over from country kids
Laura x


Rebekah @ The Golden Gleam September 17, 2013 at 03:13

What inspiring ideas to bring art outside! I bet wrapping a tree in yarn is something my kids could do, and I love the idea of using a pattern of colors to tie in math.

What a pleasure to see you over at the Outdoor Play Party.


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