Brownhill Infant

Project: Changing Times
Participants: 20 Key Stage 1 children
Partnering with: Carlton J&I
Artist: Fiona Goodwin

We’re taking ‘From Retro to Recycling’ as a focus, to explore the idea of Change through textiles.  Fiona will introduce us to different types of fabric and we will build up a fabric collection to inform and inspire our work.  We are going to experiment with different types of felting techniques and different fabric combinations, fabric bonding, and using old, retro recycled materials to recreate contemporary pieces of fabric.   Then we will do some work on design development to plan and start to construct our final piece of artwork, which we hope will result in an amazing piece of textile wall art.

Session 1 – 6th February

Working as a group, our fabric journey began by looking at a collection of different fabric samples, some old, some new, children feeling and observing the differences between them. We discussed the ways in which fabrics have been created over the years through weaving, printing and embroidery methods and then rewound the clock to start from the very beginning of the textile journey and began to make felt – fluffy layers of mohair wool, lashings of hot soapy water, massaging, rubbing and rolling – the children chattering excitedly as they discovered the process for themselves. Fiona – artist

“Today was…..warm, soft, soapy, gooey, sloppy, squidgy, gorgeous, pretty, multicoloured……..I could do this all day……..fantastic!”
“I liked making felt because it was soft and interesting”
“I enjoyed all of it because it was soft, cold, soapy, gooey, squidgy and lumpy. I liked all the stuff and I learnt with a real life artist in the school. I learnt how to make felt!”
“Fiona was beautiful! The felt was smooth and colourful”
“I liked it because I liked to do the massage and rubbing. It was soapy and gorgeous”
“I really liked it, especially the massaging”
“It was very soft and colourful, I liked making felt”
“My felt was gorgeous and colourful, white and pink”
“I loved making felt because it was soft and fluffy”
“Making felt was very fun. the artist was nice and kind”

Session 2 – 28th February

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The second session was a great success, with the children taking inspiration from the felted retro pieces from the initial session, they learnt how to fuse and bond a range of materials from mohair fibres, wools, yarns and fabrics onto plasterers tape which allowed them to work freely as individuals and which could still then be incorporated into the final piece. There were some very exciting results as they responded to colour and shape and metres of tape were created. We discussed the processes used to date and thought of possibilities to bring the retro and recycled elements together. In preparation for the final session the individual felted pieces and strips were positioned onto a large woolen backing cloth. Fiona – artist

Lennon: “It was brilliant. What I enjoyed the most was making the bobbly balls”
Sam: ‘I was happy and had an exciting time”
Holly: ‘I think it was interesting when we made the felt and I had fun. Fiona was very kind and nice”
Daniel: “I loved making patterns on the bobbly bits”
Harrison: “I had lots of fun making bobbles!”
Isabelle: “I had a lot of fun and it was really exciting making patterns”
Maeve: “I think making felt is AWESOME!”
Lydia: “Making felt is lots of fun!”

Session 3 – 20th March

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With our design almost complete, we discussed ways of attaching the felt to the backing cloth, we came up with a combination of hand embroidery and needle felting techniques with everyone taking turns to do both. The children clearly loved working around such a large piece of work, allowing them to talk about their work, visual language began to flow and they were keen to use this as part of the piece. Ribbons of text were created to illustrate their thoughts and attached with brightly coloured buttons. What a team! They were so proud of the end result, the sheer scale of what they’d managed to achieve in a relatively short space of time and it had been so much fun. Fiona – artist

“I doesn’t really feel like work does it!”

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