In the Cloth Percolators

The Orange Band has had the luxury of many Cloth experiences during Exploration. While there are still a few adventures and outings left in the weeks after Winter Break, we took some time in the week before our hiatus to read about the cloth related topics that the kiddos found interesting and intriguing. Their research revealed stories about gender bias in the shoe industry, a brief history of pant in ancient Rome, and fiber advances inspired by spider silk.  Then, kiddos practiced their summary writing skills, necessary tools in their upcoming Expression Projects. Enjoy the Orange Band’s recent research!


The Clarks Shoe Company

By Soleil

The problem began when The Clark’s Shoe Company in the United Kingdom, started selling “The Dolly Babe” and the “Leader” shoes. The “Dolly Babe” (the version for girls) was made with black leather as well as the “Leader,” but the “Dolly Babe” had detail of a pink insole printed with hearts while the “Leader” (the version for boys) had a design of a football, which stays on sale. Also, the “Dolly Babe” was so uncomfortable and not sturdy. Jemma Moonie-Dalton is a parent who didn’t want her daughter to have the “Dolly Babe” shoes. The article states that, “she does not want her daughter to avoid puddles. Her daughter should play games. She does not want her daughter to worry about getting her shoes dirty.” The boys shoes were built for running and climbing and playing. That shows a stereotype for boys and girls.  Then, there were so many complaints from the parents of the students about how the shoes were so unfair, that the Clark’s Company took their shoes off the shelves. The point the author was trying to make is that there are still stereotypes around boys and girls right this second and that we should stay aware of that.


How pants in Ancient Rome went from banned to required

By Sadie

The problem began when the Romans banned pants. They wore tunics instead because it was extremely warm in that spot. They decided to  because winter was coming and they would freeze to death because the tunics were too short. Then, people wore pants all the time in Rome.

At the beginning people think that pants were always worn. Before that, the Romans banned pants because they were for “savages.” The Gauls group triggered that. Then, soon after Rome’s started wearing trousers because it was cold at the battlefield and soon became really popular. Next, the ban said that “who ever wore trousers would be exiled.” The reason why is that people couldn’t tell if you were a civilians and soldiers apart because it was confusing. The ban soon was lifted and people started to wear trousers again and soon were worn all around Rome and were starting to evolve into pants.


Spider Silk Summary

By Romero

Scientists from all around the world are trying to replicate spider silk because the substance is very strong and flexible. Two important ideas of the article are that: Spider silk, when large, is very strong and replicating it will make great advances in technology and safety. Spider silk is a very strong material, and it’s amazing because it’s 98% water! If we can replicate this, we can use them in many different ways such as to produce low-heat types of various fabrics, that don’t need any chemical solvents.

The main idea of this passage is that spider silk is very interesting. One fact or example that supports this main idea is if we could replicate it at a scale, we could change the future of safety. Another fact or example that supports this main point is that it is stronger than steel! In addition, it is 98% water! Finally, the fact that it’s made by only by spiders, a small life form, illustrates that spider silk is amazing!


The Shoe Problem

By Lillian Girarde

The problem began when Clark shoes called the girls shoes “Dolly Babe.” The boys shoes are called ”Leader.” This made parents very mad because this said that boys  were leaders and girls  were  Dolly babe’s,  and that is sexist because this says that boys are a higher power than girls. a bunch of people on Twitter   complained  that “Dolly Babe  shoes are sexist”. After that,  The Clark shoe company tried to say it was a mistake. The Clark shoes  couldn’t   take the complaints anymore. The problem was finally resolved when Clark discontinued “Dolly Babe” shoes.


Ram’s Cloth Summary

The main idea of this article is to create man-made spider silk that is good for the environment.  One way it’s good is you don’t have to pay too much money because it’s cheap.  And, it is made of water, rocks and plants.  And also if you throw it away, it decomposes. A really weird example of weirdness is that scientists at Utah State University are breading “spider goats” that will produce silk proteins in their milk.  The main idea of this article is that spider silk can be used for lots of things.  One example that supports this main idea is that the US Military is thinking about using this man-made silk for their bullet proof vests.   Another example is, this man-made spider silk is safe to use on the human body like in stitches. Finally, the materials needed to make spider silk make it like nylon. The end.


Bad Shoe Names for Girls

By Tamasen

The problem began when the girls shoes were named DOLLY BABES. And the boys were called the Leader. And some of the parents said the girls shoe had a bad  name because to call shoes for all the girl in the school Dolly Babes was sexist and rude.   The company is treating the girls differently than boys people say. The United Kingdom is in Europe and leaders there talked about the shoes. Nicola Sturgeon is the leader of Scotland. She said the  name was hard to believe.  Clarks said it will not sell the Dolly Babe shoes any more. It will keep selling the leader shoes for the boy’s though. So in  my perspective I think that the boys Shoe should not be called leaders! And boys and girls shoes should have the same name, because girls can be leaders and boys can’t always be leaders.


New artificial spider silk: stronger than steel and 98% water.

Based off a newsela article by Emily Matchar.
By Ronan

Spider silk has some pretty incredible properties. It’s stronger than steel, and tougher than kevlar. Yet it’s as  stretchy as an rubber band. For these reasons, spider silk has captured the interest of many scientists for decades.

Researchers have discovered a new material that mimics spider silk. It is extremely strong, stretchy, and has an incredible energy-absorbing capacity. But perhaps it’s  most incredible property: it’s 98% water.

Darshil Shah is one of the researchers working on this new material. He is a researcher at Cambridge’s Center for Natural Material Innovation. “Spiders are interesting models because they are able to produce the fiber at room temperature without a solvent.” says Shah

The fiber is made from a material called a hydrogel. It is 98% water and 2% silica and cellulose. The water evaporates, and the silica and cellulose fibers can be pulled from the hydrogel.

Although not as strong as all real spiderwebs, the fibers are extremely strong. They can be made without chemical solvents, giving them an advantage. They also do not need high temperatures for spinning, making them easier to produce then things like nylon.

The fibers could also be modified in a lot of interesting ways, says Shah. By replacing cellulose with certain polymers, you could more easily make different synthetic fabrics.

Although there are a few problems, artificial spiderwebs could become a real thing in the near future. A real important thing.


That cloth and clothing could hold such import is not lost on the Orange Band. In fact, recently, the Orange Banders took some time to participate in the BWX Museum of Everyday – inspired by the museum of the same name found in Ísafjörður, Iceland. Along with the Magenta Band, Orange Band kiddos selected items of clothing and told the story of that item. Their stories of family, passions, and themselves are wonderful. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for Expression and Cloth Project updates! WEAVE been busy! 😉

Cloth & Religious Identity: The Greenies Study Islam

The Green Band’s latest read aloud is “Does My Head Look Big In This?” by Randa Abdel-Fattah. The book tells the story of Amal, an Australian-Palestinian teenager living in Melbourne who decides to start wearing the hijab (“veil”) full-time. As a Muslim, Amal is in the minority at her new school and in her community, and the book, told from her perspective, talks about the ways in which the people around her respond to this very visible symbol of faith. This connection between cloth (the hijab) and identity has lead to a study of Islam in the Band.

While the majority of the Green Band identifies as being secular or atheist, the kids have done an amazing job following our Norms for Talking About Religion. These norms, inspired by this Teaching Tolerance article, allow for respectful and open-minded discussions of religion. For many students, this was the first time learning about religion in an academic setting.

Using a number of Newsela articles (our favorite resource), students studied the history of Islam and Muhammad, the Five Pillars of Islam, the purpose of the hijab, the frequently perceived connection between terrorism and Islam, and the tremendous amount of prejudice that Muslims face on a daily basis. The Green Band also took a visit to the Islamic Society of San Francisco and got to experience what it feels like to be in an urban mosque and learn a little more about the religion from our guide Khaled Ghaleb. We learned that Islamic art doesn’t contain images and consists primarily of geometric shapes and patterns. Students observed individuals coming in and out of the space, and although nobody had been in a mosque before, it was undeniable that everybody felt “peaceful, calm, and quiet.”

Our study of Islam culminated in students doing a short reflection on how their lives connect to the Five Pillars of Islam: Shahadah- faith, Salat- prayer, Zakat- charity, Sawm- fasting, and Hajj-pilgrimage to Mecca. Students were able to find commonalities between traditions and aspects of their lives and those of the Muslim faith. I am very proud of the work that the Greenies did in our study of Islam!

Wearable Shelter

Amber and Violet band set out to explore the question: How might you draft a pattern that transforms an ordinary piece of clothing into wearable shelter?

We started by taking a closer look at how our clothing can provide shelter. Students reviewed their packing lists for the Angel Island overnight. On this trip students had to pack light, taking only what they could carry in their kayak, while making sure they had the right clothing for our outdoor adventure. They chose one of the items from their packing list to research further; considering how it provided shelter, their personal history with the garment, and where it came from.


From there students considered how the garment was assembled, exploring ways they might reverse engineer it to make their own unique piece. We were lucky to have a visit from some of Patagonia’s expert pattern drafters and menders to draft our own wearable shelter patterns. Students ran into plenty of math problems through pattern drafting, translating our two-dimensional patterns into three-dimensional forms.

We even experimented with materials science to consider ways we might manipulate the cloth. Students conducted tensile strength tests on various materials to determine which would work best for their design. 

“This was my first time sewing, and really working with cloth, so I had quite a few unexpected hiccups. Despite these setbacks, I love to learn new things and new skills so this process was quite enjoyable. I learned about different types of cloth, how to use a sewing machine, and a bunch about pattern drafting and geometric nets. If I had more time I would have loved to add a removable cooling gel layer, so I could adjust my hat to be warmer or cooler.” – Huxley

“My wearable shelter feels heavy and protective when you’re wearing it. You can see some of the mistakes that I made, but personally I think that gives it extra character. For my wearable shelter I used a knit (stretchy) fabric for the base because that is what the original piece is made of and if I had used normal fabric then I would have had to add a zipper so it wouldn’t fall down. I also used an old towel and curtain to create the tree aspect of the skirt.” – Clementine

“For my Wearable Shelter piece I drafted my pattern from a black maxi skirt I made from wrapping a piece of fabric around myself. For my piece I was planning to make a skirt that transforms into a dress, but my piece didn’t end up working. The elastic around the top was supposed to become sleeves but when it fit around my arms it didn’t work around my waist, so technically my piece is unfinished.” – Norabelle

“My wearable shelter is not how I pictured it, but that’s ok. It’s very tight and high up. I put on the bra and asked what people thought. Everyone says it looks nice but I disagree. I choose really stretchy fabric.” – Sutchat

“I think that I go camping a decent amount, and every time I’ve found the same problem with my sleeping bag; it doesn’t have sleeves. I find myself in the middle of the night reaching for my drink, but my arms are constricted by my sleeping bag. I have to take my arms out of my sleeping bag and consequently makes my arms cold. To solve this problem I made a sleeping bag with arms. The initial pattern for this garment was a faux leather jacket, it may look different now, but it still has the same purpose, to keep you warm.” – Oscar

“I started tracing my jacket and then turned it into a sleeveless hoodie. I chose camouflage because it was cool. It’s cool because it blends in with what’s behind you. The original garment was a jacket, a hoodie, that was warm. I made the opposite of what my hoodie was by making another hoodie with no sleeves this time.” – Jacob 

“This hat is based off an Ushanka. It’s a Russian hat made for keeping Russians warm since it’s always cold there. I took this idea of furry winter time cap and one upped it. I shoved rice in it, two minutes in the microwave and the hat will be warm for about an hour. Hats have been a big part of my life, through the ages of eight through eleven I wore a beanie every day. Not just for warmth but for safety. I feel safe when a hat’s on my head.” – Felix 

“Something that worked for me in this project was cutting, making the ears, and a few parts of the sewing.  Some stuff that did not really work for me was sewing the arms and hood, pinning, and tracing.  If I had another week to work on this project some things that I would do differently would be that I would try to make a more complex jacket, and I would experiment with different fabrics.” – Harper

 

 

Weave Been Busy!

It’s hard to believe it’s already the last week of Cloth Exploration! With Expression just around the corner, the Green Band has been busy learning new skills, strengthening old ones, and thinking critically about the role clothing plays in culture and presentation of self. With Aaliyah Hinds as the newest addition to the Band, the Greenies have jumped head first into an exploration of weaving/”looming.”

Greenies work on building their frame looms in the shop.

In addition to finishing up our “uniform” sewing projects, the Greenies were fortunate enough to be visited by a number of professional weavers who taught us how to use various different looms. Tien Chiu, a programer turned professional weaver and friend of Liz’s, came and shared her knowledge of weaving and showed us how to use a floor loom. Travis Meinholf, Sierra’s artist and educator friend, came in and taught a few bands how to backstrap weave, which became a favorite amongst some Greenies. Kate Colwell, a doctor and weaving teacher and friend of Piper’s family, came in to teach an exclusive lesson to the Green Band. She set up a number of table looms and a back-strap loom, and taught the kiddos how to use them and how to bind off. Kate also taught us that there are only two real rules to weaving—put on the warp hard and the weft soft. Many thanks to our weaving experts!

Kate Colwell shows the Green Band how to use a table loom.

Students were given cardboard looms (donated by the generous Indigo Band), on which they practiced weaving techniques. Some kids creatively used rulers as weaving swords and wooden chopsticks as shuttles. Although not the sturdiest, the cardboard looms were used to create weave after weave, with Greenies often choosing to weave during read aloud and quiet time.

Liam and Griffin using rulers and chopsticks to weave on their cardboard looms.

The Greenies then took their passion for [woven] fashion to the shop, where each student created a frame loom using wood, screws, and wire nails. Generally following this how-to, shop-expert Evan lead us in this endeavor. Students each made a different-sized frame loom to fit their needs, Charlotte even made a backpack to carry hers in! With their upgraded looms, Greenies even brought them on our field trip and wove on the bus, impressing and shocking other passengers.

Charlotte, Charlotte’s loom and Aaliyah on the bus to Levi’s.

Getting to the Source of Cloth: A Day at Slide Ranch

Settled on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Slide Ranch was a breath-taking site to explore the beginnings of cloth.

Exploring the many facets of cloth and its by-products to the Orange Band to one of our prettiest excursions yet: the always wonderful Slide Ranch in Marin. While our destination was new to some and familiar to others, the Orange Band got to participate in a pilot program with a focus on wool and yarn on the ranch, with the steady hand of Amelia leading our investigations.

Amelia, our fabulous naturalist, led the Orange Band through a search for food, clothing, and shelter at Slide Ranch – with an emphasis on clothing, of course!

 

You mean you can LIVE on the ranch and take care of the animals everyday?!?! Lily (aka Lillian Sheep Goat, her nature name) contemplates her future dream job.

 

The sheep at Slide Ranch were a bit skittish, staying at the back of their pen for most of our visit.

 

The Orange Band took this in stride and gave the sheep their space, in hopes of approaching a particularly friendly ewe for an up close look at her wool.

 

Slowly, but surely, kiddos got to get a closer look with Little Girl (actually a grandmother on the farm!).

 

Little Girl’s wool was so soft and dense! Also, multicolored: It was MUCH lighter closer to her skin.

In the beautiful yurt on Slide Ranch’s grounds, the Orange Band explored the different forms that cloth takes when shorn from the sheep that live here.

 

Amelia presented the Orange Band with wool in its various forms at the ranch: unwashed, combed, and spun.

 

Tasked with matching artifacts to the wool-to-yarn process, Orange Banders got to see the bigger picture lain out in front of them.

And then set out to recreate the wool-to-yarn steps: kiddos washed wool,

carded, or combed, the wool,

and hand spun their wool pieces!

Amelia demonstrated how to lengthen the wool before hooking it up to the spindle.

With help from her partner, Tamasen has a beautiful lock of hand-spun yarn!

Kiddos even had an opportunity to test out some natural dyes from fruit and veggies (that turned out to be less successful, though.)

No trip to Slide Ranch would be complete without a little goat milking and garden excursion!!

Dream, the goat, was most patient while Orange Banders took a hand at milking her.

Dreamy Dream

Soleil, Sadie, and Lily each took a turn milking Dream.

Soleil and Lily even tried some fresh goat milk — REALLY fresh!! (It was warm!!)

The other kiddos were content to gather treats for Dream to eat while she was being milked – Dream DEFINITELY expected the treats!

Gathering treats for Dream.

Dream demands more treats!

Even goats reach a treat limit, it seems.

Slide Ranch treats are not just for the livestock; Orange Banders got to wander and sample the MANY delicious offerings in the garden, collecting fragrant herb bundles to be tied up with their hand-spun yarn.

The beautiful lower garden

Fresh chives are truly scrumptious!

Flowers are edible sometimes, and chard leaves make great hats!

It was a truly magical day on the ranch – from sheep to wool to yarn, the Orange Band got the chance to see wool through its rudimentary steps of basic production, and get a little goat and gardens in, to boot!

 

 

Story Plays and Cloth Beginnings

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the Red Band blog. Can you believe we are already at fall break? Last month we bid farewell to our friend Piper and welcomed Kimberly and Daniel into the Hive. We did so much baking to support relief efforts for our neighbors to the north in Sonoma County we were able to donate $100 to the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund. We spent two nights near the seashore at NatureBridge, some of us for the first time without our parents. We’ve kicked off Cloth by adding weaving, sewing, cutting, gluing, and knotting to our skill sets.

Our first attempt at measuring and cutting fabric

Exploring our first Cloth question, How can you connect two materials?

Costumer designer Tiff came to visit and share some of her work

The kids worked on circle bags during morning centers

And we’ve introduced project time in the Hive, these are one hour guided experiences led by Kimberly or me. So far we have made stuffies, skirts, dog shirts, and pillows. We’re hand-stitching, sewing machine-powering people now!

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Also new to the Hive has been the introduction of Story Plays with Liz. Each child will have the opportunity to share a story straight from their imagination to share with the entire Hive. After the story has been dictated to Liz, the child identifies the characters of the story who will later be played by their Hivemates. During our closing circle the children will hear the story read aloud and can then choose to become an actor!

Stayed tuned for more Cloth adventures with the #brightworksbeehive!

Magenta Starts BWX’s “Museum of Everyday,” Inspired by Icelandic Museum

From the earliest brainstorming sessions for the Cloth Arc, we’ve found that cloth is inextricably tied to metaphor and story — we cannot help but think of the many ways which cloth (and fabric, threads, and more) carries meaning in our conversations. The “moral fabric of our nation,” “weaving of a story or spinning a tale,” finding a “common thread” and more. To deepen our exploration of this connection, we started to discuss creating stories of meaning and how the things we wear carry meaning.

Paired Storytelling

Story of Our Clothes — Storytelling Workshop

First, we had 60 seconds to share a story about an article of clothing with a partner. After each partner had shared within their pair, we joined pairs into groups of four. In these double pairs, we shared what we remembered of our partner’s story (partially a challenge in memory and listening and partially an opportunity to hear your story told back to you). We then had a whole-band discussion about what makes a good short story and what our challenges we had in telling our stories.

Best parts of stories:

  • Unique Experiences
  • Specific Details
  • Make people laugh
  • Stories with emotions, sentimental value, meaning or nostalgia
  • Context to action (set the stage)

Problems with our stories:

  • Need to create meaning
  • Rambling
  • No context
  • Lies
  • Keeping forward motion to the story (linear action)
  • Time management and flow

Sharing stories

Museum of Everyday, Ísafjörður

Ísafjörður, Iceland and the Museum of Everyday

Ísafjörður is the largest city in the Westfjord region of Iceland, but in many ways, it is a very small town (it doesn’t even have any stop lights!). It is surrounded by steep mountains and the cold North Atlantic and it is so close to the North Pole that during summer the sun is visible 24-hours a day and in the winter it is dark all day long.

Many residents of Ísafjörður used to be fishermen, traders or farmers from nearby villages. In recent decades and after the 2008 economic collapse, both the farming and fishing industries faced many challenges and many Icelanders moved to the cities to look for other work. One innovative and new industry for Ísafjörður is using fish skins to produce medical bandages for burn victims.

Jay, a high school collaborator, traveled to Ísafjörður and was inspired by a museum he found there. In the Museum of Everyday, he found a wall of shoes with headphones for people to listen to stories shared by the owner of the shoes. The shoes and stories were collected from people living in Ísafjörður to allow tourist to learn about life in current day Iceland. We were given permission to share these stories with our students and to make our own museum inspired by their collection.

Creating our Brightworks Museum

After our storytelling workshop, we scripted our stories, edited our work with peer feedback, and then read them into our podcast kit, creating an audio file. We combined our audio files with photos of our clothes to create videos and posted it all to @bwxmuseum on Instagram.