The Art of Huichol Beading

We learned about the Huichol peoples in Mexico and some of their beliefs and practices to honor nature and the spirit world.  We learned about the role of the shaman, as messenger between the spirit and human world.  After looking at important figures in Huichol life, such as the deer, eagle, corn and cactus, we … Continue reading The Art of Huichol Beading

Stitching Japanese Sachiko Panels

We learned about Sashiko embroidery, a Japanese stitching method historically used by people who could not afford new clothing and would use stitching to strengthen broken fabric.  Traditionally, sashiko-stitched symbols have also been used to give talismanic protection to the wearer.  After tracing our selected patterns onto fabric, we learned to use a continuous line … Continue reading Stitching Japanese Sachiko Panels

Shinto beliefs, traditions and Torii gates

We travelled to Japan, where we encountered the rich traditions and beliefs of the Shinto religion.  We learned about Shinto’s deep reverence for nature, and the belief in benevolent kami spirits which are venerated throughout Japan with shrines and yorishiro (objects used to invite benevolent kami spirits into a space). We examined some rituals that … Continue reading Shinto beliefs, traditions and Torii gates

The Scribes of Egypt and the Book of the Dead

We learned about ancient Egyptian scribes, their tools, and their important role in documenting what we now know of ancient Egypt.  After investigating the step-by-step process by which the papyrus plant becomes usable as a writing surface, we used actual papyrus to practice composing our own sentences using Egyptian hieroglyphs.  In addition, we learned about … Continue reading The Scribes of Egypt and the Book of the Dead

Haudenosaunee Pottery

We learned about the Haudenosaunee, a federation of five Indigenous tribes (the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora people) in what is now Upstate and Western New York. They are often known by the French appellation ‘Iroquois’. We learned about the concepts of autonyms and exonyms, which are names that people give to themselves … Continue reading Haudenosaunee Pottery

Creating natural inks and watercolor paints

A girl working with natural inks.

Using mortars and pestles, we ground up rocks, lapis lazuli gemstones, shell, charcoal and other hard natural elements to create natural inks and watercolour paints. We used palette knives to mix these ground up pigments with a natural binder used during Renaissance times-- made from egg whites, honey, gum arabic, and clove oil. After we … Continue reading Creating natural inks and watercolor paints

Art inspired by Jordanian solar tents

We turned our attention to another Jordanian project: Jordanian-Canadian designer Abeer Seikaly has developed an innovative solar tent for refugees.  The tent’s design allows for rainwater collection, solar power generation, solar water heating for showers, ventilation during hot weather, and insulation during cold weather.  The tent is made from light-weight “structural fabric” that is designed … Continue reading Art inspired by Jordanian solar tents

Making Balinese Shadow Puppets

We learned about the battle between good and evil told through the popular Balinese story of the characters, Barong, the king of the good spirits, and the witch queen, Rangda.  We examined some Balinese carved wooden masks of Barong and Rangda and discussed their fearsome appearance as depicted by Balinese artists.  We saw similarly fearsome … Continue reading Making Balinese Shadow Puppets

Learning about Andy Goldsworthy’s Art

One of our favorite artists, Andy Goldsworthy, also lives in Scotland.  We took a look at some of his work using natural materials as inspiration for our own creations.  We split into two teams and came up with some natural arrangements, making sure to use only elements from nature.  The kids made a realization that … Continue reading Learning about Andy Goldsworthy’s Art