Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Less people are buying newspapers now, reading news online......thank goodness those that do, are willing to donate them to schools.   In the past they would be used for keeping table clean.   But by the end of the summer term they are sculptures,  technological  constituents and objects of great desire.   SHOES


Pixie boots, clown shoes, moccasins, flip flops, moon boots.   It seemed the list was endless ( unlike the cellotape)  

Teachers dreamed of elegant cocktail parties, and long summer weddings.

Pupils worked together in small groups.  The brief was simple - one shoe, to fit a member of the team, must come on and off. 

The challenges were endless.  
 Making newspaper as strong as leather without relying on the tape, folding, joining, crumpling,  making laces, buckles, football boot studs, heels, bows and bells.   And only using scissors for cutting the tape.

We had to stop the children wearing them home!


Inspiration comes from many directions. It's very often driven by a lack of equipment or a surplus of available junk.  I never turn down the offer of a box or bag of something!  One day, I was sorting out some watercolour paints that I had acquired, a lot of them were beyond saving, but I loved the wee tin boxes.   I also had a bundle of fabric sample books.    So this is what happened.....

The pupils pinned and cut little paper patterns to selected coloured fabric, that represented the colours that appear on the paint palettes.  

The children really gained some understanding of different fabrics, their textures, construction, use, weight etc when handling these samples. They also had to make decisions regarding colour.

The pupils then sewed the patches of colour on to a piece of backing fabric.  All standards of sewing was acceptable, all age groups were involved, as you can see! 

For some schools I was reinforcing a skill that they had previously experienced, sewing clubs are alive and well in some corners of rural Angus.   This was evident in some of the stitching skills that transpired.  A curiosity for sewing was hopefully inspired in other children and maybe some even went home and encouraged Mums and or Dads to dust down the sewing basket.

The little coloured panel was then sewn on to a larger banner which was fixed into the tin and lid.  If I thought I had lost some of the boys when I was giving them sewing instruction, I certainly won them back when the sewing machine was produced.   Inspired by Victorian technology......whatever next! 

The panels are simply hung to create beautiful textile rainbows.