Lesson 4: Collage Quilts
Students will learn about quilt construction and composition, and create their own colorful quilts using paper collage.
Drawing paper; construction paper; scissors; butcher paper
SET UP AND PREPARE
- Before class, separate students into groups of three. (If you wish for this to be an individual project, have each student follow this activity but make a smaller quilt.) Have student groups 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 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. by making a quilt art project together.
- Show students images of quilts by Michael Cummings http://www.michaelcummings.com/artquilts.html. Call their attention to the image of the quilt with the person standing in front of it to help convey the scale of the quilts.
- Explain that student groups will make large-scale quilts that illustrate an important moment in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life.
- Pass out large sheets of drawing paper. Instruct students to make a few sketches of the moment they selected from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. After they have completed two or three sketches each, have group members review each other's work and choose the composition that seems the most illustrative of the moment. Note: The best composition may not be the best drawing. They may also choose to take different elements from different drawings.
- Provide students with two pieces of butcher paper of equal length. Have the students tape the paper together along the long edge to create the full size of the quilt. Explain that this is their base.
- Instruct them to use construction paper to collage their own quilt. Explain that quilts are made of many pieces of fabric cutouts. They will make their quilts with many pieces of paper cutouts.
- Have students work together to sketch out an approximation of the quilt on the paper. Make sure they mark off a border to the quilt. Note: You may need to clear floor space or identify an open space in the building that is not being used for this phase.
- After the rough sketch is complete, have students work together to plan how they will divide the work of cutting the paper cutouts. After students have decided which elements of the collage each group member will make paper cutouts for, send students home with construction paper to cut out the shapes they need for the quilt.
- In the next class session, have students start to compose their quilt using the paper cutouts they completed as homework. Circulate around the room to provide advice as needed while they are putting together their quilts. Continue with this process for two or three more class periods until the quilts are complete. Make sure the students select a separate graphic pattern for the borders of the quilt.