Wednesday 1 April 2020

Kandinsky Inspired Cushions - Colourful KS3 Textiles Project

‘Yellow-Red-Blue’ painting by Wassily Kandinsky 1925 

Like many people who are currently unable to go into their places of work because of Covid-19 I have done my fair share of tidying and sorting stuff at home. 

One of this week's activities has been sorting through photographs on my computer and I decided that I really wanted to share these photos of some Y8 Design and Technology students' work.

Despite having worked as a self-employed Artist and Creative Educator ( since 2006, it wasn't until 2017 that I went back to university to study for my professional teaching qualification. Post Graduate Certificate of Education PGCE. 

Even at that time, Sept 2017, I knew that my passion was to work with students with additional needs (SEND) however my PGCE is in Design and Technology (Mainstream Secondary schools) with a specialism in Textiles. 

My first teaching placement was at Hope Valley College (one perk of this was that my daily commute took me through the most fabulous Peak District countryside.) 

This Y8 project had already been designed so, as a trainee teacher I continued this project with two rotations of students while I was on placement there. 

The Design Task was to design and manufacture a cushion inspired by the 20th Century artist Wassily Kandinsky's abstract art. The cushions were to be suitable for sale in the art gallery's gift shop.

I was really happy to be able to show the students that  artist inspired products were already available in Art Gallery shops. 

During the research phase of the project the students researched Kandinsky and learned about Synesthesia, and how music directly influenced his paintings. 

I am passionate about bringing creative projects to life by including as many senses as 
possible so it was great that I was able to include, sound, colour, shape and also surface texture in this project. 

When making their unique cushions the students were encouraged to use a wide range of materials:     

  • Fabric paints      
  • Fabric Crayons
  • Fabric Transfer Crayons
  • Puff Paints

and to add additional detail using a range of hand stitches:     

  • Back stitch
  • Stem Stitch
  • Chain stitch
  • Blanket stitch 
  • and
  • French Knots

Some students also added components:  

  • Buttons,
  • mini Pompoms
  • Tassels
  • Beads
  • and 
  • Bells 

Annotated design and Work in Progress in pic above and Completed cushion in pic below. 

And of course after making their cushion fronts the students then had to; machine sew these to self-coloured poly cotton back; turn inside out; stuff with wadding and hand-sew shut using slip stitch / ladder stitch.

Even two and a half years later I am sure that these cushions are somewhere in these students' bedrooms; a positive reminder of skills learnt and the creation of a completely unique item.