Kente paper weaving
grade 2, fiber arts, curriculum connection: social studies by Instructional Services Dept, Fairfax County Public Schools

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Possible adaptations of the lesson include:

» Curved warp
Students can create a curved warp by curving the scissors and/or using Fiskar edgers with fancy blades to provide a different visual effect.
» Multi layering of warp/weft designs
To create a more intricate pattern, the students can use a multi layering approach by placing thinner strips of paper on top of a woven section of the kente design.

» Long narrow weavings can be made to create bookmarks, or book covers can be made from larger weaving.
» Paper weavings can be stapled together to make banners for an African market.

Additional Information

Kente cloth can be traced back to early weaving traditions in ancient West African kingdoms that flourished between 300 A.D. and 1600 A.D. The origin of the kente cloth is explained with both a legend and historical accounts. A legend has it that a man named Ota Kraban and his friend Kwaku Ameyaw from the town of Bonwire, learned the art of weaving by observing a spider weaving its web. Taking a cue from the spider, they wove a strip of raffia fabric and later improved on this skill. They reported their discovery to their chief Nana Bobie, who in turn reported it to the Asantehene at the time. The Asantehene adopted it as a royal cloth and encouraged its development as a cloth of prestige reserved for special occasions.

Helpful Hints

Students may write the letters "A" and "B" on each warp to help them decide if they should go over "A" and under "B" or over "B" and under "A".

Classroom Teacher Connections

» To obtain the Poster: Ofori-Ansa, Kwaku. (1993). Kente Is More Than A Cloth: History and Significance of Ghana's Kente Cloth. Call (301) 779-7530 or (301) 422-1821.
» Prior to the art lesson, encourage the classroom teacher to read one of the many Anansi the Spider stories.
» If possible prior to the art lesson, encourage the classroom teacher to show the video: Kente Cloth Weaving Demonstration: An Educational Video and/or read the book: How Children Learn to Weave by Louise Meyer.

Kente Cloth Word Splash

Kente Cloth ----- Weaver ----- Anansi ----- Ghana ----- West Africa ----- Pattern ----- Symbol ----- Storybook on cloth ----- Loom ----- Bobbin ----- Skein ----- Beater ----- Heddles ----- Dragstone ----- Tradition ----- Market ----- Weft ----- Textile ----- Warp ----- Rhythm ----- Communal ----- Wrapper ----- Eye of Needle ----- Treadles ----- Cloth Beam ----- Heddle Pulley ----- Stylized

Kente Weaving Loom

click photo to enlarge:

Source: Instructional Services Dept, Office of High School Instruction and K-12 Curriculum Services, Fairfax County Public Schools

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