Vibrant visualizations!

What’s in a huipil?

Ikat and Indigo Across the Globe


This project was my favorite of the class, for a few reasons. First I knew the moment I saw Thinglink it was the Visualization tool for me! I love the idea of annotating images, and creating rich content, layering stories within stories. On a personal level I feel it is a bit like using Instagram, sharing these snapshots and some words about what they connect tot in your life. Professionally, it feels like a relatively simple tool to use but also one that could be used in nuanced and exciting ways. I would love to see my students add tags to selected art works as a form of research of as a way to embody the piece. Finally, something about Thinglink just feels in sync with the ways my brain and process works. Years and years ago we took a learning style or personality type quiz in a class I had and I registered as Abstract Random. I have loved making collages as long as I can remember and this feels very similar. I choose images of Guatemala because the trip this summer that I took there had a profound effect on me and was the first trip I have taken since being an official teacher, so I was always looking at things with multiple lenses. My own experience of an image or a weaving, and then thinking how I could apply I to my classroom, or how it may translate into something my students would be interested in. Creating the visualizations made me thing about the many nuances of textiles and what it is that I actually love about them. It forced me to sit back and think, what is it about this process and art form that fascinates me so, and how can I best share that story? I do love to read but I am also quite visual, so having the ability to connect that in an instant ay to larger portals or information is very gratifying. Often I will be reading a book and then looking things up or writing down in a journal something that the text might spark. I love that in this instance you can embed it right then and there. I had not thought about visualizations as a teaching tool in this sense before, which seems odd as I am an art teacher but I don’t believe I have ever been exposed to the concept as we are employing here. I do have National Standards I align my curriculum to and I see this being a great asset especially in the Responding and Researching analysis sections. I know there are many ways to use visualizations that are not necessarily reliant on technology but I do feel this particular one would be quite engaging. I could also see Thinglink being an interesting way to lead a critique for more mature students, or for students to annotate their own works in a comparative analysis with a chosen work. I see using this in the future in a few ways. One, as a tool I can build to give students more depth of a subject we are studying, and another as a tool students can use to build their own annotated visual text. For example, there is a large Mayan exhibit coming to the Public Museum in February, apparently the larges tin the United States and I am hoping to take some students on a field trip. This could be a fantastic way to research before hand, or to talk about what we learned after. It was hard to choose just a few images and I think I may continue to build my Thinglink portfolio as a form of blogging!


Text Set Blog 3


For blog three I am compiling a group of texts that I envision using with my ideal student group, which would  be a college level course, ideally a study abroad trip and studying the way textiles aid in accessibility and understanding of art around the world. I plan to discuss texts that span a variety of reading levels, from academic essays in a book by the Modern Museum of Art, to a Gujarati textile that includes no words but symbolic images to that culture. I will also be including a video of the women of Gee’s bend as well as a podcast telling stories of textiles along the silk road. I choose the larger text set as I feel it appeals to and is accessible to a wide variety of learners. From my print text example which scored a mean of grade level 20 to my textile example which does not include words but symbolic animals, there is a wide range of types of texts but, but they also enhance and compliment each other. The list of the complete text set is as follows.

Indigo, The Color That Changed the World by Catherine LeGrand

The Silk Road and Ancient Trade Video

Traditional Weavers of Guatemala, Their Stories, Their Lives

Stitchin’ and Pullin’ a Gee’s Bend Quilt

Balotra, The Complex Language of Print

The three texts I choose to study were an essay from Interwoven Globe, a video on the Gee’s Bend quilters of Alabama and a textile from India called a Ganesh Sthapna. I had a really hard choosing the textiles for a few reasons, but I think I went with the three that best represented the set as a whole.

IG Vocab and Readability: (print)

Interwoven Globe is a selection of essays on the textile trade, it is the catalog of an exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It scored at a high level in the Storytoolz readability test ( quantitative) And the link to that is below. I focused on the chapter Global Colors pages 120-135.

Vocabulary one might need:

Dyestuffs, saturated, textile, intersected, global exchange, ingenuity, Age of Enlightenment, commodities.

A text like this is so rich in content but is a high reading level and also could be seen as dry perhaps. I chose it because it comes from an excellent historical source and paired alongside pictures and artifacts from different times in history that I believe to be from an excellent source. I also think that it could be appreciated by a variety of subject area observations, science, geography, history and textile study to name a few. However as it is a dense text, an activity with high reader engagement would be most advised, perhaps reading it and acting aspects of it out or doing a small dye workshop or demonstration using the dyes mentioned here and a globe, or plotting textile samples out along a map.

StoryToolz Readability Results



Gee’s Bend: Vocab and Readability ( Culturally Relevant)

Vocabulary one might need:

House top, layer top, slavery time quilts, cotton gin, quilt, thimble, tribulation

StoryToolz Readability Resultsquilters



I chose the video because I think first of all that it is a beautiful moving history. I think it is culturally relevant in a few ways. One, for my students specifically, it ties in to many of their ancestral history, and I think the way the women talk about their work ethic and creating something with very little is encouraging. Secondly, as Gee’s Bend quilts have now been “discovered” by the Art World, I think first hand documentation and hearing them describe the quilts in their own way is important. You can find information about these women and the history of the work in many a museum catalog and art journal, however it is not uncommon to have them portrayed in a way that is through the lens of the critic or historian, which can include lots of outside inferences and not always facts. I also appreciate the story of these women and as the readability results show, the level of the video is around a 2.3, so not highly challenging technically, but it is important content and one that could be deeply impactful to many people. The women discuss slavery and life coming up in the south. I think this text is a great example of Reader and Task, the task being to better understand the lives of people as well as seeing how different types of people can evolve as artists. One interesting aspect of using Storytoolz for this piece was that the women do speak in a vernacular that could possibly be a challenge for some people to understand, I have watched the video a few times to try and dig in to what they are saying, but typing the words in s I hear them doesn’t always reflect an accent of dialect and I think that can  affect the qualitative reading of the text. For this text I might have students watch it and study the quilts, I might have them listen to the parts specifically where the women got their materials and ideas, and have them make their own quilt square, in fabric or nice paper, and embedding words into them.

Textile: Vocab and Readability. ( Multimedia)

IMG_4519 (1)

The Textile has no real way of quantitatively assessing its readability, but I believe you can do a reading of it qualitatively. Although it is images, it still has layered meaning and nuance depending on the reader. For example if you are someone from India or specifically Gujarat the area of India this textile is from, the shape, animals and colors depicted will most likely hold a different significance to you than someone who does not have a cultural or historical connection to it. With this text ( tile) I think I would have students first talk about the animals and colors they see and make notes of it. I think I would use a group discussion to brainstorm ideas about why these animals are on the textile, their importance, and what types of colors there are. I might then share a bit about the use of Ganesh Sthapna’s and eventually have them write there own stories, first about the characters depicted on the textile sand then incorporating animals or things that are important to them, like a pet.

Some vocabulary for this text that I might share with the students is:

Ganesha, Sthapna, Auspicious, Gujarat, India, sacred, Hinduism, puja, deity, significance

I still see many things that can be learned and studied via textiles so I have a difficult time narrowing down what to focus on which is not a terrible problem to have Still I want to make sure the texts are concise especially when you are using non traditional texts examples. Secondly, it was a challenge to separate my text set teaching intentions from my current students, as it is a  different focus and I am usually researching with them in mind. I am still trying to find the balance of finding culturally responsive an engaging artists for my students, and still exposing them to a variety of examples and cultures. My student demographic is ninety-nine percent African American and I have tried to find things that interest and engaged them, however I think I have become too narrow in my focus ( in my own classroom) and these texts could be used as great sampling of other cultures and artist process.


INTERWOVEN-cotton painted resist

Where I am and Where I Want to Go

Post #2 Where I Am, and Where I Want To Go


I plan to explore the topic of textiles and art across the continents. Textiles traveled and evolved along the ancient trades routes of the Silk Road and Spice Trail and along with them a plethora of innovation, coded messages, and generational knowledge.

My content area is art but many other things tie into the textile traditions and I believe they make powerful foundations for a creative curriculum.

My current understanding of the subject is that textiles have deeply affected our world and the passage of messages, industrial processes and art forms, to mention a few. We are at a place in history (although I believe this is changing slowly) where many of us don’t consider much about where our T-Shirt comes from or why certain brands cost so much (or so little) but in my eyes, buying clothing and accessories is a political act, we are part od an influential ecosystem whether we realize it or not.

Up until the last few years my understanding of textiles has been through the lens of art and process, but my focus has shifted to understand how clothing and textiles changed history and how we can make decisions every day to empower the people who make clothes and textiles around the world. What I would like to know and what I hope to learn through further research is how we can use these traditions to engage learners and build a better understand of connectivity through cultures. I would also like to learn more about our textile traditions int he United States. For example, I attended an International Folk Art festival in Sweden with people from 48 different countries. We were invited to wear our national dress or folk costumes on the opening day and I realized I ha uno idea what to wear, nor could I identify a traditional american costume. I would like to understand more about our craft and textile traditions and why they seem to be so much less focused than the places I have visited.


My future goal and dream would be to create a study abroad program where students learn traditional processes of textile making in two to three countries over the course of a semester while studying the way they are connected to the countries politics, history and art. Even if I just end up doing this on a small scale it is a dream I would like to actualize. My M.A focused on the role of Folk Craft within education and planted many of the seeds I hope to see come in to bloom one day!

I have a textile book collection that I am continuing to add to, and also follow a handful of blogs and podcasts that I feel have a unique and thoughtful approach to talking about these issues, a few are listed below.



Create your own Mudcloth

Wandering Silk Journal 

Collectivitea guest post: Seek What Feeds You

Conscious Chatter

This series on Textiles is a fabulous addition to any library!

Voices on Cloth