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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.