Birstall Community Primary

Project: Changing Moods
Participants: 15 Year 3 children
Partnering with: Staincliffe Junior
Artist: Fiona Goodwin

In our project we will be looking at how fabrics can change our mood and affect our behaviour.  Fiona will work with us to introduce different fabrics and experiment with different  processes such as felting, bonding, stitching and using recycled materials.  She will also help us develop our ideas for our final textile piece, which we will construct together.  In between these sessions we will work on some of the techniques Fiona has show us and create a ‘Snippets of Moods’ fabric archive or diary. We are thinking that our completed artwork will be a sensory textile floor piece.

Session 1 – 14th February

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The session began looking at the exciting range of fabrics the children had already started to collect as part of their fabric journey, beautifully annotated and pinned to crisp white handkerchiefs to be collated later into a fabric book. Discussion was centred round the fabrics and how they can affect your mood and change your behaviour whilst referencing previous project work. Full of enthusiasm and vigour we started to explore our own fabric creations and create our own collection of felt, discussing the process as we worked – soft, fluffy, wet, squidgy, smooth, squashy, warm, silky and how it made us feel – explosive, joyful, happy, tired.  We were very pleased and excited with the finished results and very tired from all the massaging and rolling. Fiona – artist

“Where does mohair come from?”  …..”It’s not from a mo!”

“It makes you feel and want to touch it because it’s soft”

Session 2 – 14th March

Session 3 – 28th March

A small group of 15 children began their textile journey with interest and a whole host of questions.  In previous project work they had been looking at fabrics and how they can affect mood and behaviour. All sessions were lively, the children were clearly quite comfortable with each other, and visual language just flowed naturally. Felting was fun, high energy and generated some exciting results, with each child managing to create two pieces of felt in record  time.   Beautiful shaped floral motifs emerged in the first session and bonded tactile strips of colour were created in session two. The children were keen to explore and print and to utilise their sensory words to embellish their pieces of textile in the following session. They were quite clear as a group about what they wanted to create from the beginning – a tactile floor piece – although interesting discussion around “fit for purpose” meant the idea shifted slightly and it has now become  a seating cube.  Unit sizes have been calculated and cut – the children were keen to demonstrate their ability in measuring and mental arithmetic. The children brought in their own fabrics evoking memory and personality and incorporated these into their final felt pieces, some being beautifully adorned with stitch. As a group they were a joy to work with, they’ve all pulled together and worked incredibly hard. Fiona – artist

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“The hardest bit was the sewing because i kept stabbing myself!”

“The best bit was when we used the felting machine because it was magic when we pressed down it joine the fabrics together.”

“The hardest bit was using the mohair to make felt. We had to roll it and it made my arm ache!”

“My best bit was typing all the feeling words into the machine to print the words off.”

“My best bit was making the flowers from mohair because it was a challenge.”

“I enjoyed sewing the flipflop badges from my old tee-shirt onto the felt so that they looked like leaves.”

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A final word from staff…

“Our project aims have been amply achieved – the children have used vocabulary related to the tasks and the topic, they have had the opportunity to try out several different techniques, and they have understood how fabrics can be re-used. Staff have thoroughly enjoyed joining in with the children to learn new techniques that both of us want to pursue in our own time.”

“Fiona was amazing; she has a great personality which encouraged and motivated all children, even the reluctant ones, to participate. Thanks again, for a wonderful experience for both children and staff alike.”

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