Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CraftEd Project with Brackloon National School, Westport, Co. Mayo

The CraftEd project is joint funded by the Crafts Council of Ireland, the participating National School and their local Education Centre.

I was invited to collaborate with the 5th and 6th class pupils of Brackloon National School who were interested to explore fabric and stitch to create an artwork for their school.

The pupils took their inspiration from the location of their school near Brackloon Woods at the foot of Croagh Patrick and invented a new word to describe it 'Magicalistic'. They decided to make a cloak to express their ideas.

They set to work in their sketchbooks to explore their ideas by painting, drawing, collaging and taking notes.

They learned new skills such as how to thread a needle, tie a knot, create a running stitch, secure it with a double stitch, sew a button, use stitches to construct items and to decorate items.

They tried out fabric paints to add colour to fabric for use in their project.

They learned how to machine-sew on a hand-operated sewing machine that has now been donated to the school to allow them to continue to develop their sewing skills in future classroom projects.

They worked in teams to make decisions about the colour, size, shape, design layout, display options and documentary process for the making of their cloak.

They chose an Irish linen background and printed their names in a spiral which was painted as a sunburst for the central motif on the back of the cloak. A selection of stitched leaves radiate outwards. Each of the 24 pupils embellished their own triangle (to represent the shape of Croagh Patrick) to decorate either side of the front opening of the cloak. A selection of trees, birds, flowers and a rainbow were created to decorate the bottom of the cloak.

With a final lesson in the use of bondaweb and craft-foil some golden highlights were added to the cloak's collar.


I had a wonderful time working with these talented, enthusiastic pupils and their very supportive teacher Mr. Tunney. This project has provided me with huge inspiration for future work and I'm very grateful for the experience!

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