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Prairie Quilt Activity (Keeping Us in Stitches Activity)

Courtesy of the Illinois State Museum. December/0/2011
All rights reserved, Illinois State Museum
Objective: Students will, after viewing the content of Museumlink Prairie and Quilt modules, and training with digital cameras and software, create quilt blocks with the topics of:
  • prairie fauna and flora
  • prairie land forms
  • traditional quilt patterns
  • decorative and fine art objects of prairie life
  • geometric designs or image transformation
  • incidents of life on the prairie in the 19th century

Grade Levels: K-8, sophistication of techniques and discussion adapt to all levels

Time required: two or more class periods

Motivation: Lead a class discussion on the Prairie Web site (settlement of the prairie, plant and animal life, technology transforming the prairie) and the quilts (structure and patterns) as subject matter for a class prairie quilt that will be a montage of images about the prairie. Each students will pick favorite subjects to take pictures of or find images for their quilt block.

Materials:
  • digital cameras (especially useful if class has a field trip to a local prairie)
  • computer
  • Adobe Photshop software
  • color printer
  • Prairie Website
  • Keeping Us in Stitches quilting Web site (also its links to quilt block patterns online)
  • Optional - transfer paper (for ink jet or laser printer)
  • muslin or other fabric

Procedure: Students will
  • choose objects related to prairie life to photograph (leaves from trees, flowers, quilts, tools) OR
  • select online images of such objects and save them in a computer file
  • download the images into Photoshop
  • manipulate the images (crop, resize)
  • montage or collage several images on a new Photoshop file by copying and pasting
  • save the new image
  • print it out (on paper or transfer paper)
  • arrange all blocks on a display board as a large quilt top OR
  • iron transfer paper onto cloth blocks and display or sew them together

Assessment: Students explain orally why they chose their image, what it means to them, how it relates to the study of prairie settlement. They explain the process, concept, and meaning of their block in Illinois history.

Extension Activity: Cloth Quilt from Printed Images
Students print out their image onto transfer paper or iron it onto cloth to make a quilt block (size will be 8 inches square). A quilter will assemble blocks into a quilt top, sew three-and-a-half edges together with batting and backing, and turn right-side out. Students can tie the quilt top, batting, and backing layers together at 6-inch intervals.
Illinois Goals and Standards addressed:
Goal 25.A: Understand the sensory elements, organizaitonal principles, and expressive qualities of the arts.
Goal 26.A: Understand processes, traditional tools, and modern technology used in the arts.

Subject: Art

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