Create a Thanksgiving themed project and check off your Elements of Art checklist with this paper placemat. Based on the Tivaevae quilts of Cook Island, this lesson uses BALANCE and SYMMETRY in the creation of the quilt square design.
To learn more about Tivaevae quilts, watch this Youtube video that showcases the Polynesian art collection at Auckland’s Museum of Art.
This is the eighth tutorial in our Series CONNECTING WITH THE ELEMENTS – How to teach the Elements & Principles of Art. This week we’re featuring BALANCE.
What is Balance and why is it important?
Balance is achieved when both sides of a work of art appears to have equal weight. It’s like imagining a scale in the drawing or painting and asking whether both sides of the scale are balanced or if one side is heavier than the other.
When teaching balance to children, using symmetry as a tool is very effective and one of the easiest ways to demonstrate balance.
The quilt patterns in a Tivaevae quilt use symmetry as a guiding principle in their design.
In the lesson demonstrated below, children use paper and markers to create a wreath or basket using the same principles that make up a quilt pattern in a Tivaevae quilt.
Watch this Video to learn how to create this Thanksgiving Placemat with your kids!
What you’ll need:
12″ x 18″ colored sulphite paper
12″ x 12″ colored sulphite paper
What to do:
Show children pictures of Tivaevae quilts. Notice that the individual designs are not necessarily symmetrical but the organization of the elements within the quilt squares is symmetrical. To achieve a symmetrical pattern, children will fold a piece of 12″ x 12″ paper in half or into quarters depending on their chosen design.
I created two different patterns: a basket and a wreath.
To help children see the pattern these two designs create on a folded piece of paper, download the BALANCE FREEBIE (scroll down to click on download box).
If you are in a classroom, it helps to pre-cut the 12″ x 12″ papers and stack them on a table in assorted colors. Children can choose their favorite color and bring back to their tables. After drawing and cutting their pattern, the left-over scraps of paper can be used by the table groups.
Each child should select one 12″ x 18″ colored background paper and one 12″ x 12″ design paper.
Look at the pattern designs in the handout (scroll down to download), and use a crayon or drawing tool to draw the pattern on a folded piece of paper. The paper will need to be folded in half for the basket and into quarters for the wreath.
Cut out main design and glue onto background paper.
With the remaining paper scraps available to the child through his table group OR from an extra supply of paper, gather enough paper to create 4 leaves, 4 flowers and other decorative items.
Be mindful of the balanced nature of the quilt design. If there is a leaf on one side of the basket, there needs to be a leaf on the other side of the basket.
After all the design elements have been cut out, arranged and considered, glue them down.
Use colored markers to add “stitching” or dotted lines throughout the designs. This detail really makes the design quilt-like.
On the back of the placemat, glue the completed handout “What I’m Thankful For…” (download the Balance Freebie to access the handout).
WANT THE DOWNLOAD?
Click the image below to receive a free handout of the Thanksgiving Placemats. Type in your name and email and we’ll send it to you!