When students were invited to participate in a local folk art festival, everyone began to get a little nervous--"What is folk art?" and "How can we as elementary students contribute a suitable piece of art to this community sponsored festival?" With some research about various cultures and folk art styles, students decided to embark on an adventure into the art of yarn painting, a decorative and colorful folk art, native to South America.
Students learned through their research that this ancient tradition of spreading beeswax on a wooden board and pressing yarn into the soft wax can produce brightly colored artworks that also have the appeal of texture. To begin, each student submitted designs, based on their research of South American art forms.
We selected designs on the basis of their simplicity and authentic subject matter. The influence of Oaxacan (pronounced wah hocken) folk art and mola designs from the Cuna Indian women of the San Blas Islands, appears in the selected abstract animal forms.
Pieces of heavy cardboard were used for the base of the designs instead of the traditional wooden boards. We enlarged the selected drawings to approximately 36" (91 cm) and transferred them to the cardboard surface with pencils. The children then carefully cut out the large abstract shapes from the cardboard. Then they began the process of selecting and planning the colors from bright woolen yarns that best suited their subject matter and the nature of the art itself.
Drawing with Glue
Rather than using the traditional method of melting beeswax and pressing the yarn into the wax, white glue was used to secure the yarn to the cardboard surface. The designs were first outlined with black yarn to better delineate the the shapes within the drawing. Small mirrors were glued to the cardboard surface in strategic places such as the eyes to add a reflective accent to each piece. …