The Handwork teacher

I am a mother to two beautiful girls and I teach Handwork and Fine Arts in our local waldorf charter school in Arizona.

Monday, August 31, 2009

7th grade felted slippers in a waldorf school

Here is a preview of what 7th grade will be making this year .....along with a felted ball for their felting needles and 2 felted people....if we have time they will make a felted picture or landscape for the auction.

This is the tutorial again

and I used white wool batting from west earl (where Ray in the video talks about some place in the UK...but since I am in the US....I went with West Earl...I love how the batting at west earl felts!)

8) wool batting and roving. they only do phone orders...there is no web site....$5.85 per pound! West Earl Woollen Mill, Ephrata PA 717/859-2241

and colored wool from Harrisville Design (they have great fleece for wet felting and needle felting)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

random this week

7th grade wet on wet painting of the dome in Florance. The Duomo

Star Child story I did for 1st grade....felted on a thick piece of blue felt
we plant dyed cotton and had some "not so good" results on about 10 skeins..... so my older daughter and a friend are over dyeing with food color (thank Teresa for the idea:)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

form drawing in a waldorf school

we had a very successful plant dyeing session today. They LOVED chochineal and wanted 3 skeins of it.

I also found a link to form drawing ....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

5th grade socks and letter

So I asked my husband look at my letter to the advanced 5th grade group....and he made the letter all funny....thought I would share it with you.....I won't end up sending THIS draft but it's still amusing. THe bottom part is the part changed not the top

Fifth Grade Advanced Knitting Group
Dear Fifth Grade Parents,

This letter is to inform you on that your child has been placed into the advanced knitters group. This year our advanced knitters will be taking on a knitting task that has never been done before at our school, but which has always been a goal for our fifth grade students. I feel confident that this fifth grade group will be able to take on the incredible craft of plant dyeing wool yarn and then knitting socks from this wool!
Part of the agreement for the advanced group, is that the children need to make sure they do their handwork homework every week, keep diligent notes on where they are in their knitting, and be willing to take out rows when they miss a stitch.
If your child forgets their Handwork project at home you will need to coordinate bringing it in to them before class starts. Fifth grade has their handwork class every Tuesday at 11:00am so please work together with your child to make sure that no extra trips are required.

Dear Fifth Grade Students,

As all you nosy children who read the Parents section now know, this year a select group of Fifth graders will be assigned to an advanced group. This advanced group of knitting fiends will be the first at our school to have the opportunity take on the incredible task of plant dyeing woolen yarn and proceed to make some small semblance of a dwarf’s sock from it. If there is time left over from your slave labor, our school will put to work in the gem mines of Moria to raise money for the school. Oh and I guess you can also make some boring other items like a hat and a horse.
Any whipper snapper assigned to the advanced group is required to make a commitment to keep on schedule with your work, mark down after each knitting session their current stitch and row and maintain a focus on finishing your projects before the end of the semester.
If you forget your work home you will need to call your parents to bring it in.
Student’s Name:______________________________
Parent’s Name:______________________________

Sunday, August 23, 2009

it's a plant dye yarn sunday

I am getting ready for plant dying with the 3rd and 5th grade.
I have to test out my methods of plant dying before working with the kids.

so here are some results

I HATE Alkanet.....if someone knows how to use it....please let me know....I only got gray
I LOVE LOVE LOVE- Brazil wool (no longer available due to deforestation) but I had a bag from last year...that is the blue I have hanging
I love- Cutch, Madder, Cochineal, Tuneric, red onion skin, and Nettle

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My new Handwork room

1/4th of the 6th grade finished their mice on the first day.....this is the introduction to gusseted animals. You just take 3 pieces of felt...all equal shape (shape is like an oval but the 2 tips are not rounded but pointed so that all 3 points can meet) do the blanket stitch.

No the moment my chairs are in the 2nd grade. I will get them back but I am not sure they can all fit..... I am actually thinking about having chairs only for the older grades where I get half the class and having the younger grades sit on the floor with cushions.

rose ceremony

I have to fit 26 kids in this room......very tight but we just manage

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

1st day of school

Its the first day.....I am up at 6 AM just checking and thinking about my first few classes

I just made an order with Dharma Trading company for my Plant dyes. I compared prices with Earth Guild and over all they are a little bit less expensive.

I will be plant dying with 3rd 5th and the kinder teachers

Wish us luck on our first day back :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

5th grade needles

A blog friend posted this site as a comment on good places to get Handwork supplies
AND after looked at their prices I decided to order my double pointed needles for 5th grade from there.
I just got my package from China AND I LOVE THESE NEEDLES!!!! AND I LOVE THE PRICE!

I just hope some small 5th grader in China didn't make them :(

check it out!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

school is starting soon

this is crocheted pencil cases with a cotton lining and zippers....3rd/4th grade project.

Here are some last minute fix ups or add ons (th recorder cases are for new students that did not get to make one last year...because they were not here)....

the 4th graders pencil cases that they made last year (3rd grade)....will have zippers sewn on for their first class. Meaning...they need to sew it

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Temperament painting

Here is a Temperament painting I did with Faculty

The way this exercise will work, is that you will paint each color as I speak, you can go back at any time and work on one of the other colors but the goal is to fill the 4 corners with each color and in the center they meet to create a human form. So after I speak about one color you will paint a human form, the next color will interact with the first color and paint over the original human form and so on.
Don’t worry about how good the painting is , or how exact your proportions are, just experience the color, the feeling of the water color and try to live into the images that are being formed in your mind.

4 friends agree to meet at noon on top a hill. Yellow, blue, red and green
From the Bottom Left corner
The first to arrive is yellow (our sanguine so sweet) She flutters and leaps with tip toes, she decides that she will look under each blade of grass if she has to, in order to find her friends (she truly does skip, dance and twirl covering the whole hill,) she eagerly runs about to find her friends but after a short while, a grass hopper distracts her mission and she is off leaping about with her new found interest. Yellow moves light on her feet, she is easily impressed and guided. Her friendships are often short and sweet, she is playful and humorous, yet can be arrogant and shallow. Yellow is not as aware of per personal boundaries and can often be seen in other people’s personal space. Yellow will give unlimited attention and love….for a short period of time. Yellow is a day-dreamer and easily moves off-task to the point of not accomplishing anything and can be impulsive and unpredictable. When yellow grows up she wants to be a news reporter or maybe a fashion designer. Something with lots of social interaction and prospects of newness. Her element is Air
In body proportion, yellow is the most balanced. She is often thin boned, almost bird like, wispy hair.
"Sanguines are incapable of lingering over an impression. They cannot fix their attention on a particular image nor sustain their interest in an impression. Instead, they rush from experience to experience, from percept to percept. This is especially noticeable in sanguine children, where it can be a source of concern. The sanguine child's interest is easily kindled, a picture will easily impress, but the impression quickly vanishes." steiner
From the Upper left corner
The next to arrive is Red (our fearless Choleric leader) . He marches onto the hill, heel- toe and walks straight up to yellow. His hand is outstretched to greet and his face is full of Energy, determination and purpose. Red wants to know what is going on and where are their other friends, yellow flutters happily around Red and with excited enthusiasm, yellow tells Red all about her day. Red is quick to bring yellow back on track, where are their other friends? Are they late? Are they Lost? “I will find them” Red announces. Yellow is excited and eager to go on a dramatic adventure.
How exciting “lost friends” Red can take on any task and will try and lead the leader if he can. Red wants what is fare and just. He will not allow friends to be hurt or leave projects unfinished. Red is quick to respond and often can act before thinking. Red does not like it when things don’t go his way and will be very verbal about it. This can end in firery explosions and temper tantrums.
(when red grows up he wants to be the head of the fire department or may a general in the army. Red struggles with his studies but will work as hard as he can to get learn)
Red has a strong build with a thick neck and square jaw line
As Red looks to the east he sees Blue watching them from afar.
Blue (our heartrending Melancholic) realizes that Red and Yellow are looking at her so she comes out from her lookout point on the top right corner and starts to wonder WHY are they looking at her and are they talking about her and oh, what are they saying. Blue walks slowly along the edge of the space, she is not eager to jump into the mix unless personally invited, she doesn’t know if she actually WANTs to be with her friends today.
Red marches right up to blue and shakes hands. Yellow happily flutters around. With so much attention blue is able to come out of her overwhelming feeling of depression and starts to lighten the mood with humor, jokes and sarcasm about herself of course. (when blue grows up she wants to be a Doctor or care taker, she also has dreams of being a standup comedian) Yellow starts to tell Blue that they were worried that blue was lost or hurt. This news makes blue feel worried about what could have happened to Green. Blue by nature is very compassionate and will care for others, especially those less fortunate then themselves. Blue walks with shoulders hunched, she may walk here and there, just to stop, look around and see if anyone is looking at her. She thinks she can read minds or if not minds she must be a face reader for sure! Blue is thin, tall and earth bound. Blue becomes worried about Green and starts to head to the bottom of the hill where sure enough Green is sitting, eating some delicious lunch that he brought in a picnic basket. Blue runs over and hugs green. They sit for some time, blue makes sure that green is well and wants to know what happened and if he needs to talk …..she is there to listen.
Green (our lethargic phlegmatic) follows blue around the hill as they find their other friends. Green feels very comfortable being the follower and not the leader. He likes to listen and happily sits back and watches. Green would have been happy to just stay at the bottom of the hill all day and watched the clouds, listen to the birds and ate sweet treats. Green is generally self-content and kind, with a shy personality that often inhibit enthusiasm in others. He becomes lethargic and resistant to change. Green is consistent, relaxed, rational, and observant, making them good diplomats. Like yellow, green has many friends. Green is reliable and compassionate; (Green thinks about becoming an administrators and diplomats when he grows up but doesn’t want to be a leader in those areas) Green has a good memory especially of the past and will retell stories again and again. Green is careful with his work and will not be rushed. Green will stick with a task for many hours, totally engrossed in his work and not willing to move. He list routine, order and is an honest and faithful friend. Green can have a volcanic eruption like red but only after days or weeks of being bothered with the same issue.
As Green sees Yellow and blue, he smiles and embraces his friends with true joy. Green is often soft to hug with his rounder build and cherry aura. Yellow wants to tickle and play with green, red wants to know what needs to be done to set up for lunch and blue wants to talk about how sad it must have been for green down at the bottom of the hill. Enamels
Together the friends play and enjoy the rest of the day.

1st grade Handwork verses for the first month

These are my hands as you can see, this is my left and this is my right. I can stretch them out wide and pull them in close. I can reach them up high and hang them down low. I can shake them up and hold them quite still. These are my hands they do as I will.

Two jolly grandfathers meet in the lane
Bow most politely, bow once again
How do you do, and how do you do, and how do you do again
Two first graders meet in the land etc
Two tall farmers meet in the lane etc
Two shepherd girls meet in the lane etc
Two wooly sheep meet in the lane etc

Come, come away, come, come away this is a very fine summers day
Come away come away come.

Pea Pod
Seed Pod
Bean Pod and
Poppy Pod
Split when they ripen and
open with the pop

Old king glory on the mountain, the mountain was so high that he nearly touched the sky and its one two three follow me…………..and we all bow down to the mountain.

My fingers are so sleepy, It's time they went to bed. First you Little Baby, Tuck in your tiny head. Ruby Ring, now it's your turn. Next comes Toby Great. Peter Pointer hurry Because it's getting late. Let's see if they're all nestled, No! - there's one to come, Move over please and make room For Tommy Thumb.

Our time for now has ended. Our hands may come to rest. We thank our hands both left and right, for helping us to do our best.

games for class

we are in faculty meetings and I teach a games piece today

Here is a link for games you can use in your handwork class

Thursday, August 6, 2009

the 4 tempuraments

The study of the 4 temperaments is something that I find VERY interesting.
I actually just ran into something online that said that there are actually 5 temperaments. Supine is the 5th

Anyway if you want to do a whole question answer is a site that will tell you what temperament you are (in relation to the 4 temperaments)...I found it to be some what true....I long as you answer all the questions truthfully.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

7th grade felted slipper tutorial

I just found this GREAT tutorial video from England!
I will try it out today...and if it works this will be the way we do our slippers this year.

a nice plant dye chart

I am about to order my plant dye supply for the year and I ran into this site which has a nice layout of the colors...not for sale but for your info

Waldorf Handwork Curriculum

Handwork curriculum

The first grader will work on training their fingertips and fine motor skills. A simple tool used for supporting proper communication between both sides of the brain. The children will learn to knit not by understanding the technical details on how to knit but through muscle memory. The children sit in a circle and learn short songs and verses to support their Handwork. The feeling of sitting in a circle and quietly listening to their teacher mimics circle time in the Kinder classes, which in turn brings about a sense of reverence for what we are doing. The gift of natural fibers and tools awaken the child’s tactile sense and stimulates mental development. Studies have shown that a first grader who knits will be stronger in both Math and reading.

The second grader brings Knitting to the next level with more complex projects and use of different colors to support their inner feeling of joy and satisfaction in their work. The last part of the year is dedicated to crochet where the child works with a tool that supports their dominant side of the brain. The crochet hook mimics the pencil grip, which supports cursive handwriting and building the proper muscle memory for successful handwriting skills.

The third grader seeks to be useful in their daily lives as they enter a new stage in their development. The Handwork curriculum is built to support their new inner need for challenge and awakening. The farming curriculum is tied into the Handwork where we plant dye yarn, hand spin fleece,and crochet useful projects that can be used in their daily lives.

In the fourth grade, the child will learn basic geometric principals and find satisfaction in understanding what beauty is, along with how to form a concept and bring it to completion. This year is dedicated to fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination brought in with embroidery and cross stitch. The cross stitch is another tool for supporting strong communication of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The fourth grader is encouraged to slow down and pay more attention to detail instead of speeding up and moving at the faster rate that our society is pushing for. A feeling of peace and great satisfaction is felt in the fourth grade child when they are able to relax into their needle work.

The fifth grader is brought back to knitting with complex patterns and knitting in a round with double pointed needles. Once the child understands the basic principles of reading a pattern and 3 dimensional designs, they can take that to much greater levels and make complex socks, mittens and hats. The act of having to focus on a project for extended periods of time helps the child understand that life is more a process verses a simple instant message. The fifth grader works with choosing wool yarn from both subtle plant dyed colors to bright synthetic colored yarn. Both are beautiful but the fifth grader has a much greater sense of color awareness and a need to want to make something truly beautiful.

The sixth grader feels one of the most far-reaching benefits of the Handwork class in its social aspect. The class chooses an endangered animal that lives together in a group and with that animal in mind, they make a gusseted stuffed animal. The atmosphere in class is filled with conversation of their work, their lives and what the next project will be. Throughout the class the joy of using your hands works right alongside with the joy of talking to their friends. Respect, appropriate conversation topics and listening skills are fostered. The sixth grader has developed their sewing skills to the level where we can now make complex figures with Marionette, table puppets and even dolls that mimic the 12 year old in body proportion.

The seventh grader dives right into the age old art of wet felting. Living in the desert brings out a certain joy and mystery when water is brought into our work. Wet felting with lavender soap and warm water is both soothing and transitions easily into needle felting where the child dry sculpts forms out of wool. The seventh grade Handwork curriculum is very calming and at the same time challenging. Looking at the human form, the child must sculpt a person with wool roving and later add clothes to match their character. Later the seventh grader will felt slippers, hats or mittens, a skill that was used in the renaissance period and which is something that they can both relate to and enjoy doing.

The Eighth grader has reached the Industrial revolution and with that the Handwork curriculum provides the sewing machine and an understanding of how to work with simple mechanics. The Eighth grader has come to a point in their learning where sewing clothes or household items like quilted pillows and using patterns may appear almost second nature. Creative senses are ignited with design and color choices. The eighth grader works at a speed that is controlled by a step by step process. They come to understand that if one step is missed the final outcome will not work. Critical thinking and pattern making brings about an active involvement in their curriculum, need for individuality and freedom.

The Ninth grader works in artistic blocks throughout the year. The Handwork curriculum is split into two blocks where we focus on two age old crafts of spinning and basket weaving. In this year, the young adult is introduced to the basics of these two craft and in tenth grade, will master the skills to the best of their abilities.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Waldorf Veil painting

Veil Painting is a way of using watercolor special to Waldorf Schools, and to artists inspired by Rudolf Steiner's writing and painting. In Waldorf High Schools, Veil Painting is part of the 10th Grade curriculum. This brings color back into art classes for adolescents, following a year in the 9th Grade, of art classes which were limited to only black and white media .
In this method, water colors are thinned down to a very light value 7 or 8 on a photographers' scale, and wet colors are applied one at a time only over dry colors.
It is important to begin with no drawing or even a preconceived idea. The artist patiently layers "veils" of color over one another in varying patterns, taking care to not repeat the same shapes in the same place, waiting for an image to arise out of the color itself, then seizing upon the motif that the color has presented.
All of the veil paintings were done in this manner, with the exception of "Loki", a theme I had a strong desire to paint for the class I did my student teaching in at Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton, NH.
Sometimes, 10th Graders in the Waldorf School will transpose a black and white engraving by Durer or Rembrandt into a color Veil Painting. When this is done, the students will work without any preliminary drawing, searching for proportions, forms, and placement with very light veils of color before using darker tones.

-David A. Dozier, Artist