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American Worry Doll

Date post:12-Nov-2014
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This is a "how-to" demonstration created for middle school art students. It shows how to make an American worry doll- which is based on the Guatemalan worry doll craft tradition. It also teaches a little bit about Guatemalan culture and history. It is an ideal project for 6th grade art students. Students can easily extend their ideas to be as creative as their imaginations permit.
  • 1. Guatemala is a country in CentralAmerica.It borders Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, the Pacific Ocean, and Caribbean Sea. The Guatemalan people have beenruled by the Mayas, the Spanish,and dictators (lead by The United Fruit Company.) They had a thirty-six year civil war which caused the death of 200,000people.They have had natural disasters such as hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes.Today they have peace, a growing economy, and a democracy.

2. Archeologists in Guatemala found artifacts from as long ago as 18,000 B.C. They also foundevidence of humans living in organized communities since 1,000 B.C. The name, Guatemala, isMayan for place of many trees. Guatemala is abiodiversity hotspot. That means it has lots of plants and animals that are not found anywhere else on the planet.It contains dense jungles, rugged mountains, deserts, and the Caribbean Sea. These buildings were built by the Mayas. 3. Weaving, worry dolls, and other fiber crafts have given Guatemalan women a way tosupport themselves and their families. This is a photograph of an outdoor market where many Guatemalan crafts are sold. 4. These community leaders are wearing traditional Guatemalan clothing. This colorful cloth is typical of the Guatemalan weaving style. 5. These are traditional Guatemalan worry dolls.They are made with wooden sticks, colored string,and scraps of woven cloth.There is a legend associated with Guatemalan Worry Dolls. 6. The Legend of the Worry Doll: Guatemalan children tell one worryto a worry doll when they go to bed at night.Then they put the doll under their pillow.In the morning the dolls have taken their worries away.According to Websters New World Dictionary,a legend is a story handed down through the years and connected with some real events,but probably not true in itself.The story of King Arthur is an exampleof a British legend. 7. Using the Guatemalan worry doll as a starting place, we are going to create an American worry doll.You will need two pieces of 5-ply jute: a 4 piece for thearms, and an 8 piece for the head and feet.You will also need three pieces of yarn: a 36 piece of yarn for the shirt, a contrasting 36 piece of yarn for the pants or skirt, and an 18 piece of contrasting yarn for the belt. You will use your yarn scraps for hair and other extras. 8. Start with a 4 inch piece of jute, and a 36 inch piece of yarn.This will form the arms and shirt of your figure. Begin by pointing the end of your yarn in the direction you plan to coil. 9. Coil the yarn around this small piece of yarn.Coiling is when you wind one fiber around another fiberin a single continuous line without leaving any gaps. 10. When you begin by coiling over the start of your yarn, it will not ravel later. Ravel means to unwindor fall apart. 11. Coil until you reach the middle. 12. You can check to see if you are in the middle by bending the jute in half. 13. Bend the 8 jute in half. Place the 4 piece of half- wrapped jute on top.This will form the body of your figure. 14. Make a yarn X on the front it should stretch from the armpit to the neck. 15. Finish the X by passing the yarn to the back of the figure. Then make the yarn cross from the neck to the armpit in the opposite direction. 16. You need to have an X in the front and in the back. 17. If you dont have an X in the front and the back, yourfigures arm will fall off when you are done. 18. Then continue coiling down the rest of the arm. 19. When you reach the end, stop coiling. Check to see if the arms are the same length. 20. Make a loop around the wrist. 21. Pull the end of the yarn through the loop. 22. Pull tightly on the end of the yarn. 23. Keep pulling until the yarn is locked in place. 24. Cut the yarn. If it seems to be too loose,you may seal it with a small dot of glue. 25. Start the pants the same way you started the shirt.Point the end of your yarn in the direction you will coil. 26. Coil on top of that small piece of yarn. 27. Keep coiling until you reach the space where the belt will be. 28. Leave the belt area empty.Cross over to the other leg 29. When you reach the top of the other leg. Begin coiling down the other leg. 30. When you reach the ankle,make a loose loop of yarn that goes around the ankle. 31. Pull the end of the yarn through the loop. 32. Then pull firmly on the end of the yarn until the loose loop of yarn gets tight. 33. Cut the end of the yarn when the loop is tight enough. 34. The belt is wide, in the style of traditional Guatemalan woven belts.Start the belt by pointing the end of the yarn in the direction you will coil. 35. Coil over the small piece of yarn. 36. Finish filling the belt area. 37. Make a loose loop around the waist. 38. Pull the end of the yarn through the loose loop. 39. Pull on the end of the yarn until the loop is tight. 40. Cut the end of the yarn. 41. One way to add hair is to fold a piece of yarn in half 42. ...pull the loop-end of the yarnthrough the jute head 43. then pull the two yarn endsthrough the yarn loop 44. Keep pulling until the yarn is locked in place. 45. If the hair seems loose, add a small dot of glue. 46. Keep adding hairuntil you are satisfied. 47. The yarn is made from foursmaller strands that are twistedtogether. 48. If youravel the yarn(twist the yarn in the opposite direction of how it was made,) it will create curly hair. 49. If you want to make a skirtinstead of pants, coil both legs at the same time. 50. Point the yarn in the direction you plan to coil. Then coil on top of the short end of the yarn. 51. Stop coiling when you reach theplace where the belt will be. 52. To end the skirt,make a large loopof yarnaround the waist. 53. Pull the end of the yarnthrough the big loop of yarn. 54. Pull the yarn tightly until it locks in place. 55. With a little imagination, you can make many different critters. Start by making the basic form out of jute. Then cover the jute withcoils of yarn. Make double Xs out of yarn when you want to join two pieces of jute. 56. Once youunderstand the basics, be creative! 57. Works Cited:Wikipedia contributors. Worry Doll. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia.Wikipedia, The Fee Encyclopedia, 29 Sep. 2012. Web. 7 Oct. 2012..Wikipedia contributors. Guatemala. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia.Wikipedia, The Fee Encyclopedia, 5 Oct. 2012. Web. 7 Oct. 2012..Aldermen of San Pedro Sacatepequez, Guatemala.. IRC, 2005. Discovery Education.Web. 14 September 2012. . 58. Lesson Title: American Worry Doll Artist: Guatemalans Grades: 6-8Materials/Preparation: Teacher: Prepare a PowerPoint demonstrating Guatemalan worry dolls and explaining their history. Post visual aids about Americanworry dolls and the process of their construction. Prepare yarn, scissors, & jute (white glue & hot glue.)Students: Get a long and short piece of 5-ply jute: 4 & 8. Get three colors of yarn: 36, 36, & 18. Vocabulary:Guatemala, worry doll, figure, jute, fiber, coil, ravel, civil war, biodiversity hotspot, traditional, legend. Procedure:Day 1: View/discuss Guatemalan worry dolls using PowerPoint presentation and other visual aids. Students get three colors of yarn (36,36, & 18) and two pieces of jute (4 & 8.)Day 2: Begin creating an American worry doll. Early finishers help strugglers. When finished, give your worry doll a name and apersonality. Day 3: Plan a new worry doll figure this one can be animal or human. Get the appropriate jute and yarn pieces. Coil until complete.Materials: Jute, yarn, scissors, visual aids (white glue & hot glue.)Adaptations: Peer tutoring, demonstration, display finished examples, visual aids e.g., process posters and process PowerPoint. Accommodations:The teacher or teaching assistant create a stable jute frame for the student using hot glue to connect the jute pieces the teacher or teaching assistant can also start or end the yarn with hot glue. Peer tutors can assist students who are struggling. Evaluation:Turn to your neighbor: share what you like about your worry doll, and what you would change or do different. Tell your neighborssomething about the personality or interests of your worry doll.Pitfalls/pointers: Students have trouble starting the yarn. (Remind them to start by pointing the yarn in the direction you will be coiling and then coil ontop of that starting piece. Demonstrate using an oversized model. Make a poster.) Students have trouble tying knots at the end of a limb. (Have students help each other. Remind students to make a big loop, thread the end of the yarn through the loop, then pull the end until it is tightly locked in place. A dot of glue can be used to secure a loose end.Make a poster.)The arms may be loose. (A double X will cure this adding a vest will also solve this problem if it happens after the figure is completed.)If you work in a conservative school district, be sure that you document that you are doing a craft that is based on an establishedGuatemalan tradition, and that your students were told what a legend is.

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