Connect with us

ArtStarts in Schools Logo

October 14, 2016

Traditional Aboriginal Weaving with Wool and Plant Materials: Artists in the Classroom

Traditional Aboriginal Weaving with Wool and Plant Materials: Ar

Today's guest blog was written by educator Natalie Robertson at Environmental School Project in Maple Ridge, BC. Students of all ages had the opportunity to learn about traditional Aboriginal weaving, experimenting with a variety of materials and exploring their connection to the enviornment. The students' learning was guided by artists Hazel Gludo, Rebecca Fisher, Teresa Walker and supported by an Artists in the Classroom grant.

If you're inspired by their story, read on below to discover funding and professional development opportunities to help YOU activate the arts for young people. 


Through our Artists in the Classroom grant, all of the students at our school (Kindergarten to Grade 7) are experiencing a full circle of learning, from harvesting the materials to creating finished woven products. Students have been fully engaged with the artists and the natural world they are working in. They have been given opportunities to participate hands-on throughout every aspect of this project.

Wool Weaving

The students made looms out of cardboard, measuring and cutting themselves. They have been working weekly on wool weaving flute bags for the past few months. Some of the older children have completed their projects. They have been mentoring and helping the younger students and many of the younger ones are also now able to do the wool weaving on their own.

Fiber artist Rebecca Fisher spent her second day at the school today. With her, the students learned how to wash and prepare wool, make dyes, dye wool and today they made solar boxes using cardboard, tinfoil and wool. She will be with us weekly for the next two months. We look forward to learning about and harvesting our own plants to make natural dyes.

Pine Weaving

Pine needle artist Teresa Walker has been working with small groups of children bi-weekly since February. They have learned how to prepare and dry pine needles, make dye and dye the pine needles, and weave with pine and colourful sinew. They are still working on their projects and she will continue working with them until the end of April. The older students have been mentoring and assisting the younger ones with their pine needle projects.

Cedar Weaving

We are in the final planning stages with our cedar weaver, Kwantlen Elder Hazel Gludo. She has reserved Fridays to work at the school for the next two and a half months. We are looking forward to harvesting cedar, participating in a traditional First Nations cedar harvest and ceremony, and learning the art of cedar weaving. She will share stories of the cedar tree, and it's uses in her community, the traditional land we walk on.


Feeling inspired?

Here are 3 ways you can activate creative learning for young people...

1. Teachers and Artists — Apply for Artists in the Classroom Grants!

The project you just read about was supported by an Artists in the Classroom grant disbursed by ArtStarts in Schools and funded by BC Arts Council and the Province of BC.

Artists in the Classroom Grants bring professional artists into your classroom for unique learning experiences. Grants of up to $3,500 for small- to medium-scale projects or up to $10,000 for large-scale projects are available.

The next deadline to apply is October 17, 2016. Learn more and apply now at

2. Teachers — Register for the Upcoming Pro-D Day at ArtStarts!

Stand Out! Putting Learning on the Centre Stage through the Performing Arts is a full-day professional learning experience for BC teachers on Friday, October 21, 2016 at the ArtStarts Gallery in Vancouver. This event will engage your creativity while exploring arts integration as an approach to teaching.

Take part in two hands-on, skills-based workshops in the arts that aim to nurture your creative confidence: Page and Stage with spoken word poet Dia Davina and Physical Theatre in the Classroom with theatre artist Susan Bertoia. The workshops will be followed by a plenary conversation, facilitated by educator Leanne Ewen, on how we can immediately put these newly learned art skills into action in the classroom.

Learn more and register now at

3. Teachers — Apply for Funding to Support Your Profesional Development in the Arts

The Arts in Education Council of BC Fund offers grants to support teachers' professional development in the arts. Grants of up to $500 can be used to assist in the presentation or attendance of professional development workshops, clinics or seminars designed to increase the appreciation of the arts for K-12 teachers in BC schools.

The deadline to apply is October 28, 2016. Learn more and register now at

Social Sharing

Past Stories