Lesson 3: Story Quilts
Students will learn about story quilts and quilt construction, and create their own colorful quilt squares.
Heavy stock paper; drawing paper; scrap paper; rulers; scissors; paint; paintbrushes and/or sponges; crayons or markers; construction paper (optional); presentation board, bulletin board, or butcher paper
SET UP AND PREPARE
- Before class, have students research Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. Instruct them to choose an important event in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. It could be a big moment or a small moment. Tell them to come to class prepared to discuss the event.
- Ask students to share the events they chose and to explain why they chose them. After a good range of events have been shared, explain that Martin Luther King, Jr. met his goals by bringing people of different backgrounds together to work for a common cause. Tell students that they will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. and identify positive values in their communities by making a quilt art project together.
- Show students different images of quilts, specifically the works of story quilters Harriet Powers http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/quilt/harriet.html and Faith Ringgold http://www.faithringgold.com/ringgold/collect.htm. Explain that quilts are made of many separate pieces of fabric sewn together.
- Pass out sheets of heavy stock paper. Instruct students to use rulers to make squares of a specified dimension. (Note that the size of the quilt squares depends on the number of students in your class and the size of the surface you would like to assemble the quilt on. Possible surfaces are a presentation board, a bulletin board, or a long sheet of butcher paper to display across the top wall of your classroom or the lower wall of a hallway.)
- Once they have cut out their squares, have students use tape to create a border all the way around the square. They should then set their squares to the side.
- Instruct students to use a sheet of drawing paper to illustrate the event from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life that they selected during their research. Explain that the illustration will need to be cut out, so they should simplify it enough to cut it out while still keeping it complex enough to challenge them and maintain interest. Encourage them to explore different possibilities on scrap paper. Circulate around the room while they are brainstorming the composition of their illustrations to provide support as needed. Once they have finalized their illustrations, have them cut them out and place them on the painting paper they have bordered with tape.
- Explain that they will now cover the illustration with tape. Instruct them to cut small strips of tape to line the edges of the illustration. They should mimic the curves and angles of the illustration to the best of their ability. Once the edges have been taped down, they can use larger pieces to cover the inside parts of the illustration. Once the illustrations are completely taped over, have them use paint to create abstract backgrounds for the illustration. Once the background is painted, set aside to dry.
- Once the paint is dry, have students carefully remove tape. They will see their illustration in negative space with a negative space border. Have them create a border in the negative space around the square by drawing geometric shapes with a crayon or marker.
- Have them decide whether they want to leave their illustration plain, trace a dark border around it, or use the crayon or marker to accent parts of the illustration.
- To create the quilt display, arrange the quilt squares in a grid pattern on a presentation board, bulletin board, or butcher paper. You may choose to use a large piece of construction paper to title the quilt. A suggested title is "Martin Luther King, Jr.: Moments in a Life." You can place the title page in the center of your presentation and organize the quilt squares around it. You may also choose to create a border around the quilt squares or around the whole presentation with construction paper.