Learning Looms in 7th Grade

Students in Art teacher Caroline Gardner’s 7th grade classes, after wrapping up their unit in digital art, began a new lesson that focuses on sculpture and mixed media work. To kick off this new unit, students studied weaving.

Although Parker students get a primer in the basics of weaving in the Lower School, Gardner saw an opportunity with weaving and using looms, not only for its applications to their unit but also for its value on a social and emotional level. “No matter what age the students are, weaving is like magic,” she explained. “I already knew that MS kids loved weaving for its calming repetition, but then COVID hit, and I knew the kids were even more in need of the therapeutic benefits of weaving.” To that end, and in true Parker fashion, Gardener decided to connect this reflection with action and worked with the school on a special grant to bring 18 looms into the classroom.

Thus, with some inspiration from Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui—who weaves huge, gorgeous, shiny tapestries using found and recycled materials—Gardner and her students got to work. After weeks of work, the students proudly displayed their finished pieces in the hallways around their classrooms.

“Weaving has a long history dating back to ancient Egypt in 3400 BC,” Gardner shared. “I hope they realized how much goes into the fabric they wear every day. We take for granted how much we owe to looms.”
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.