Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spinning, Dyeing, Weaving!

As homeschoolers, some of our best projects are the ones that we do as a family.  Handwork is no exception!

For the third year, we have made a woven table runner together. We use it on our dinner table, for nature tables and other displays in the home.  Here's how it goes:

1.  Spin fiber into yarn on one of our spinning wheels.

2.  Dye the fiber with plants and natural materials at the annual Griffin Dyeworks Dye & Fiber Retreat in Castaic, CA.

3.  Warp up the Ashford Knitter's Loom with a crochet cotton.

4.  Wind our yarns onto stick weaving shuttles, singing: "Up and down, up and down, we are making figure eights. Up and down, up and down, we are loading shuttles."

5.  Weave the weft (yarns on shuttles) into the warp.  We take turns and do a little bit each day.

6.  Trim the ends, tie knots for fringe, and we are done!

2008 Table Runner

2009 Table Runner

2010 Table Runner

Click here to see books and supplies for weaving, dyeing and other handwork projects!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Circle of Life

Our family has experienced an abundance of life and loss over the past few weeks.  Such a deep, emotional learning experience for us as a family.

Exquisite joy and profound loss....

Pregnancy #4

Family ceremony to say "good-bye" to the baby after a miscarriage.  Guitar, playing the glockenspiel, rose, candle and words....

A cat came to us, pregnant with kittens.  Welcome, Sammy!

Family memorial for our pet rabbit of 5 years, "Rabbie".  Guitar, poem, digging a grave, making a wood sign.

Although this was not an easy post to create, writing it helps to bring closure to emotional endings, while rejoicing at new beginnings.  Experiencing loss and new life are a part of who we are as human beings.  Celebrating and remembering together in ceremony brings us closer as a family....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Waldorf Watercolor Ages 3-12 Video

In this 30-minute video, Waldorf teacher Dr. Rick Tan takes you on a journey through a watercolor painting. You can choose to stop at any point in the journey according to the age of your child. This video will teach you techniques you can use with your children ages 3-12.

Rick's style is informative and engaging. Every minute of this video contains a gem of knowledge, wisdom and beauty.

You will learn:

* What tools you need for wet-on-wet watercolor* How you can save money on these tools

* How to mix paints for different effects

* How to "lift color"
* How to give a lesson for preschoolers

* How to give a lesson for KG children

* How to give a lesson for G1, G2 and G3

* How to make a watercolor lesson more complex for older children.

* How to create a story to go with the lesson

* Brush techniques & stroke styles
* Painting techniques including color intensity tips
* Tips for how long lessons should be and more!

Click Here to see the first part for free (entire video available for purchase at the BEarth Institute or free to lifetime members of Earthschooling)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Recreating the Human Vessel - Handcrafts...and a Baby!

Jennifer had the great fortune of attending a handcrafts conference at Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA this past week called "Recreating the Human Vessel: Educating through Rhythm and Craft."  The conference featured staff from Ruskin Mill Educational Trust in England (please take a moment to see what their amazing colleges offer).  Woodworking, iron forging, soap making and felting all occured throughout the week, along with in-depth lectures by Dennis Klocek, William Bento and Aongus Gordon, and a vibrant Movement class!

The felting group started off the week by observing sheep on campus.  We teased apart fresh (unclean!) wool and made felted balls.

A trek through Raphael Garden revealed lovely flowers for dyeing.  Using weld, indigo, cochineal, chamomile from England and coreopsis, we dyed up a rainbow of colors with our wool.

Felting pictures was an experiment in color and design, layering bits of brown or white wool on the bottom, and continuing with layers of color to form an image.

Then, it was time to do feltwork in 3-D!  Wool slippers were created by tracing feet for a template, cutting a piece of plastic, laying wool on both sides of the plastic, wet-felting, cutting open...then, voila!  Slippers were turned right-side out, and the design that was created in the first layer was revealed.

Wet, soapy slippers were massaged onto feet.  What a treat!  Molding and shaping continued with hands, and then fine details were needlefelted.

Here are some pictures of woodworking, iron forging and soap making....

The felting group had a little extra time and wool left, so each person felted a handprint, and then felted the hands into a large vessel (thus the theme of the conference!), complete with a lid.  The vessel was presented to the wonderful felting teacher, Marianne van der Tas, on the last day for her birthday.

The final plenum was filled with sharing projects and insight about reflection topics of the week: challenge, effort, rhythm, gift and gold nuggets...the words were profound and the projects absolutely beautiful!

Jennifer then found out that she truly had become "the human vessel" at the end of the week...pregnant with baby #4, due in March, 2011!