The thing about string

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By Robert Watts Programme Convener for the MA in Art and Design Education at Roehampton University.

Discover how a simple ball of string can provide many creative opportunties

Open a drawer or cupboard door in any setting in the country and you are sure to find a piece of string. There is something pleasing about a tightly rolled and neatly wrapped new ball of string – until, of course, little hands get hold of it and turn it into a pile of tangled spaghetti! A ball of string is similar to one of those children who arrives at school well groomed and neatly dressed, only to be covered in mud and in a total mess by lunchtime.

However, before you despair and throw away the knotted remains, stop and consider how string might be the unlikely inspiration for some works of art. The following selection of ideas are for using pieces of string, wool and scraps of fabric in ways that will support the children’s creative development. They illustrate to the children that they do not need elaborate materials to create interesting images, and will alert them to the possibilities of everyday objects.

Bring on the string

Creative development

Exploring Media and Materials

Development matters: understand that different media can be combined to create new effects (40-60+ months); use ideas involving fitting, overlapping, in, out, enclosure, grids and sun-like shapes (40-60+ months).

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