Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Parfleches, Fourth Grade Style

My family and I were at our local art museum a while ago looking at the Native American/American Indian exhibits, and I just loved the parfleches they have on display.  A parfleche is like an envelope/pouch sort of deal.  It's a folded and painted piece of leather used to carry things.  Leather being a bit out of my budget, we made ours out of paper:

Starting with a rectangular piece of brown craft paper (the kind you tear off the roll), I had students fold them into thirds, so it was long and skinny.  They then folded the ends to meet.  After that I reviewed symmetry and the students drew geometric shapes symmetrically on their paper (some followed the "geometric shapes" part more strictly than others).

Unfolded to show better where the folds are.

The un-decorated part is the inside.
After their drawings were checked and approved, they used ultra-fine Sharpies to trace their shapes, and then we used tempera blocks to paint them. I totally love the way the tempera blocks (we use the Biggie Cakes) look on the brown paper.  I found some old sets in the back of my cabinet that only has red, yellow, blue, orange, green, black and white: perfect for our purposes.

The painting took two class periods, and I still had a few that needed to finish the next time.  Finally, we used hole punches to punch four holes where our ends met and tied them with yarn.  Again, real Native American Indian ones use leather, and they're probably not tied in a bow. . . 

Students put the ends IN one set of holes and then
came UP the other set, tying the ends together.

If students weren't wearing belts (and most weren't because it's hot and they're all in shorts and t-shirts) I gave them a piece of yarn to tie around their waist.  We experimented with unfolding our parfleche, putting things inside and then wearing them around, and everything stayed in perfectly. This lesson was successful for everyone, and I'll definitely do it again.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pin It