by Ashley Lodato
Education Director, Methow Arts
Second graders at Methow Valley Elementary School combined fiber arts with creative writing in a felted wool residency, using a wet felting process to create designs inspired by the theme of “winter gratitude.”
I am thankful for snowwhite, super, yummy, and wetI am thankful for skiingzipping down hillsI am thankful for ChristmasSanta comes with presents . Ho Ho Ho Ho
First, students spent time with teaching artist Rachel Macmorran, writing poetry and prose about winter gratitude.
Winter Gratitude by Charlotte FoleyI am thankful for hot cocoahot and deliciousI am thankful for candy canessweet and stickyI am thankful for Christmas Treessweet smelling, decorated with shiny sparkly ornaments
Then, working with teaching artists Annie Venable and Brooke Lucy, students explored the process of wet felting.
Next, students experimented with color combinations using different dyed felts and created scenes that reflected their thoughts about winter gratitude.
When the students had their colored wool placed on the white wool backgrounds, they then learned to felt using soap, hot water, and bubble wrap. They agitated their woolen scenes until the barbs in the wool hooked together and joined the colored wool to the white wool.
A rinse and squeeze got the soap and water out, then the pieces were ironed by a volunteer mom. The pieces were then left to dry overnight before being strung onto apple twigs, thanks to another volunteer mom.
Both the poetry and the visual art components of this residency, says teacher Katie Hover, “align with our ‘Who We Are’ unit about traditions around the world.”
Winter Gratitude by Harlan BakkeI am thankful for Santagiving us presentsI am thankful for ice skatingsliding across the iceI am thankful for snowso cool floating from soft clouds.
This art residency was brought to students by Methow Arts’ Okanogan Region Arts Education Partnership. The partnership serves more than 5,200 students and 370 teachers across Okanogan County with arts programs in classrooms in the Omak, Okanogan, Brewster, Bridgeport, Pateros, and Methow School Districts, and in the Paschal Sherman Indian School. Project sponsors include the Public School Funding Alliance, the Methow Valley Fund of the Community Foundation of North Central Washington, the Methow Valley School District, Icicle Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, and ArtsWA.
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