For a crowd of children crafting at a birthday, I wanted to create a project that was pretty quick, left room for invention, and drew on some good, useful, simple skills. With smaller groups we’ve held handpuppet-making birthdays and bookbinding birthdays. For this very busy birthday, my small child had the bright idea of making fingerpuppets. Perfect! Would you like to see a little of what they made?
I made a basic card template for the children to trace. They cut the pieces out of felt and pinned them, threaded needles, knotted them to the fabric and carefully sewed round the edge. Some added long rabbit ears or short monkey ears, before they stitched the seam. We had brand new tailors and old pros doing this. Then, exciting! We put out fulling needles and showed the children how to needle-felt, with a block of foam to work on top of, and the puppet pinned to it so that little fingers stayed out of the way of the needle. Felting needles have burrs that rip the wool fibres and reattach it, in effect knotting it to itself and through the fabric. Large, sculptural pieces and precise details alike are possible with this technique. Eyes, mouths, beards, even wonderful long hair were constructed and attached using the wool roving and yarn.
Embroidery, sewing on scraps of fabric and buttons for clothing, and the children developed wonderful characters! Very pleasing. It is the sort of project that is perfect for children to make with adults, or for adults to make for children. Just a bit of extra help and care with the needles, and everyone from age four through *cough* made amazing things. I’ll be putting together fingerpuppet and handpuppet kits for the appleturnovershop soon, for those who’d like to learn some simple fabric-arts skills with a short, sweet project. I’ll be teaching this lesson in fibre arts in the old school classes at my studio this week, too.
Look out for images from, fingers crossed, a shoot that my sweetheart and I are planning this weekend…more old school movie tutorials to support projects to learn traditional creative skills, in the shop. Sound good?
click the image to see a larger version.