Material sense

The other day, a mother with her little girl walked into the studio and asked ‘Can I get some small pieces of fabrics in different varieties?’. That being a strange question than we usually encounter, we asked her why she needs them. She explained to us that her daughter’s school teacher wanted the students to collect different fabrics like cotton, wool, silk and the like so she can explain to the students practically how they look and feel. Kudos to the teacher and the school for such an initiative, as after all material appreciation if sowed at a young age, stays with them forever.
But our studio has a policy. No hand-outs! We believe in making everyone create what they want. So we made an offer to her. Would her little girl like to weave a piece of fabric with different materials and take it with her? The girl was jumping with joy but the mother was not impressed a bit.
“Be practical, are you expecting my child to weave on a loom and take the fabric with her? She doesn’t know how to weave and it would be a lot of hard work. She has to submit it tomorrow, so we don’t have time for all this”
Without replying to her, we made the sweet little one sit on the SAORI loom and showed her how to weave. Bingo! She got into the rhythm of weaving in flat 3 minutes! Then she told her mom “Mom, let’s spend some time here, I will do the weaving for my project”.
She picked up different materials like cotton, wool, silk, linen, viscose, polyester, nylon and the like, wound them to weaving bobbins neatly and wove about an inch of every material, all in just about an hour! 
We cut the fabric off the loom and handed it over to her. She started touching and feeling each strip of the fabric and started conversing with us and her mom. “Why is linen so stiff? Why is wool so fluffy? Why is polyester so flat?"
You should have seen both the child and mom when they walked out of the studio. Heads held high, faces beaming with large smiles and a bounce in their steps! 
Sure, she will make the right choice of material when she picks up her summer dress!
Shuttles & Needles has a weaving program for schools. The children learn to weave and also get to apply what they learn in other subjects like math, material science, arts and music in the medium of weaving and make visual expressions. We supply the weaving looms & yarns and provide teacher training programs, lesson plans and worksheets. Interested schools may contact us for details.

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