The Corner makes
Using images of beads made by Erub Artist in the Torres Strait for inspiration, the activity will see children creating their very own Island necklaces using simple materials and instructions. Just like Torres Strait Islander bead makers today, encourage children to use more contemporary materials or objects they can find around the house.
Torres Strait Islanders incorporate body ornaments and jewellery in their traditional costumes. The diversity of styles and materials differ from island to island. Materials were dependent on what sort of materials could be sourced on the island. Some common items included bird feathers, shells, animal bones/horns and other natural fibres such as wood, various seeds and coconut fibre. Torres Strait Islanders today also incorporate contemporary materials into their designs.
Traditional and contemporary design, using found objects
Jewellery, natural materials, contemporary materials, Torres Strait Islanders.
Sticky tape on dispensers
Explain the Island necklace making activity to children, showing the finished prototype.
- Refer to the Erub Erwer Meta website for inspiration images for Islander beads.
- Discuss materials available and the qualities of each eg. Raffia is a natural fibre and would make the necklace look more traditional; the use of the straws gives the piece a contemporary look.
Step 1: Planning (designing)
Ask children to think about what sort of necklace design they would like to make and what sort of materials and colours they would like to use.
- What sort of materials can you use that you can find around your library?
Step 2: Preparation
Using the piece of wool or string, measure how long you would like your necklace to be. Loop one end and tie a knot big enough to secure the beads and other materials
- Why have you chosen these materials?
- Where do you think these materials have come from?
Step 3: Making
Start weaving/attaching materials through the piece of wool or string.
- Some shell examples you can incorporate into your necklace design.
- Younger children can use the weaving as a time to practice counting or colour identification.
- Younger children may require help, but will be able to choose the elements they want to use.
- Did you go for a more natural or contemporary design?
Step 4: Final step
Once you have reached the other end of the string loop and knot, tying both ends of the necklace together. Parents may need to assist children with this.
There you have it - your very own Island necklace creation!
- Taping the end of the string/wool makes it much easier to weave through materials and stops the string from coming apart at the ends.
- Encourage older children to decorate the wooden beads with their own designs.
- Encourage children to draw their own shells to add onto their necklaces.
- If you have restrictions with material supply why not go for a walk in your local area to find natural elements to add to your necklace? OR Ask parents to go for a walk with children in their local area to find natural elements to make another necklace at home or next week. While you are weaving ask children about these elements - where they went and what they found.
Last updated: 23rd September 2011
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