Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Wild Woven Tree

Soren's school does not have an Art Teacher. I know, crazy right? They do have lots of outside professionals that come into the classroom to teach pottery and fine art. I participated this year in the Art Adventures Program through the MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Arts). I was a Poster Person for Soren's Kindergarten classroom. There are two other moms in the class that are doing it too which has made it very fun. As a Poster Parent you take posters of items currently on display at the museum into the classroom and discuss them with the class. Then you create an art project related to the pieces of art for the children to complete. For our first project I bit off more than I should have. I think big and complex when it comes to creating. Our first project was a woven tree. Yep, a whole life size tree. Did I mention it was woven by 5 & 6 year olds.

Twenty four 5 & 6 year olds! It turned out spectacular and was worth all the hard work. It will be a wonderful focal point for this Kindergarten class room for many years to come.

Oh a moment of pride!  That is my lovely Soren up front with her finger very close to, if not inside, of her nose.  I am hoping she was just scratching!

For the base of our tree we used a roll of chicken wire.  The children then wove strips of fabric willy nilly in and out of the holes.  I am still surprised at how long they stuck with this.  I am also surprised by the number of children this was difficult for in the fine motor skills department.  After the fabric weaving, the remaining holes were filled with crumpled brown kraft paper. 

It took several more visits to her classroom to make all the brances for the tree.

I created branches out of the chicken wire wrapped into a cone shape. I crumpled the cones a bit for interest and added smaller branches to each limb. The children then wrapped the wire branches in kraft paper strips using watered down white glue. They loved this part as it was quite tactile and gooey!

To assemble the tree in the class room I wrapped the base of the tree around an exposed pipe in the corner. using zip cable ties. The branches were attached using zip cable ties as well, after removing the weaving from the areas where I wanted the branches to go. After they were attached I woven back in the fabric and paper to hide the ties.

With spring coming, the tree will soon be sporting leaves and wildlife created by the children.  I can't wait to see all the ways Soren's Teacher comes up with to use the tree!


  1. Wow, that's so awesome! Did the kids love making it? It looks super cool, you did a great job.