Friday, April 29, 2011

Little Ones - Magical Waldorf Dolls

"Little Ones" are small Waldorf dolls, made for all children in Grade K at Davis Waldorf School.  The classroom angel lets children know that the Little Ones will arrive, and when they's magic!

Our son Wilson, along with other children who did not attend Grade K at the school, had the opportunity to receive a Little One in Grade 1 or 2.  The amazing K teacher made the cloth body out of tea-dyed cotton with a blessing flower petal inside.  Parents secretively met each week late at night to sew the clothes, felt the hair and make the hats out of cloth, felt or yarn.  The Little Ones look similar to the child, and the colors and designs are chosen to match or balance the temperament.  They come from "Little Land", and children hold them often while at school and home.

Wilson's "Little One" appeared this morning in his room.  His name is "Elf Star", and Wilson wants to call him "Elfie".  We are going to make a sleeping bag out of naturally-dyed felt for Elfie so that he may sleep close to Wilson at night.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Handwork Felting eCourse! - Starts May 9, 2011

Handwork ECourse from Little Acorn Learning
Felting - 5 Weeks - Only $80!  Starts May 9, 2011
Instructor: Jennifer Tan, MA from Syrendell

Felting is one of the most primitive textile arts. Its origin is unknown, but swatches of felt were discovered in Europe and Asia dating as far back as the Bronze Age. Nomadic tribes had relied on felt's durabilty and versatility to make practical items such as blankets and tents. Created by the massaging of wool fibers in a liquid medium, felt can be shaped into many useful and decorative items. Legend has it that a Christian monk, who was trying to evade Roman soldiers, had found wool hanging from branches and put it into his sandals. After some time, his sweat and water from stream beds as he ran, created felted socks! In the 19th century, during the Industrial Revolution, felted bowler hats were very popular. A process that used mercuric nitrate to make the hats was employed, but the poisonous fumes that the workers were constantly exposed to caused neurological symptoms, which may have led to the expression "mad as a hatter."

Jennifer Tan, master fiber artist, in her five week felting course, guarantees you will neither have to become a fugitive of the Roman Empire nor a lunatic ala Mad Hatter to enjoy the art of felting! She will introduce the techniques of wet felting and needle felting where you will create beautiful projects with a wide array of applications. In her course, Jennifer will accompany her teaching with Waldorf-inspired verses and songs.

You will develop a love of this truly magnificent craft long after Jennifer's course is done. She does not guarantee that your family will not go insane from the many felted items you will undoubtedly begin to create!

Week 1: What is felting? (wet, needle, felting sweaters, felting crochet/knit/woven items) Types of fibers and supplies. Carding fibers.
Week 2: Wetfelting - scarf
Week 3: Wetfelting - sculptural (balls, eggs)
Week 4: Needlefelting - landscapes
Week 5: Needlefelting - sculptural (fairies, animals)

This ECourse is 'Work-As-You-Go' Each Week with New Tutorials and Inspiration Posted Weekly for a Duration of Five Weeks. You Check in When You Have Time. No Pressure, No Requirements - Just Suggestions.  To register and see the list of recommended reading, click here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nature Tables

We love creating nature tables.  It can be as simple as gathering seasonal objects from nature and displaying on a mantel, or making artistic projects to feature in a nook or on a shelf.

The nature table is not stagnant, but rather alive and constantly changing!  As the seasons progress, so does the nature table.

Children can be involved in so many ways.  Even the process of taking down one season's setting, cleaning, gathering items, and talking about how to set up the next season can be a lesson all on its own.  Reverence for changes in nature make us feel connected to the Earth, and also help us to understand the changes that we feel within ourselves.

Sometimes, the weather drastically changes earlier or later than we estimate, so rather than sticking strictly to the solstices and equinoxes, we change the nature table when we "feel" that it is time.  Then, little creatures appear for holidays, such as bunnies and chicks for Easter. 

The nature table can get cluttered!  Taking away is as important as adding to the setting.  Keeping special objects in a moth-proof/critter-proof container is helpful for storage. 

Each year, we like to create at least one new object for the nature table per season.  Singing, sharing stories, and saying verses while changing the nature tables is a happy family ritual.  For inspiration on nature tables, look at pictures on Flickr, take a peek inside of Pre-K-5th grade Waldorf classrooms, read books about the seasons, or search for pictures on blogs.

The Children's Year: Seasonal Crafts and Clothes (Festivals (Hawthorn Press))
A Child's Seasonal Treasury