In yetzirah (art/creativity) we do lots of amazing projects! Some take a long time, and several steps that build upon each other towards a big finale. Some are quicker and designed to engage new content. And some are all about the process.
“Process pieces” allow the children to explore the materials and determine how they want to use them in their own time, with their own goals of how it should look (if any), and with out any expectations that this time of discovery and exploring will amount to anything that looks like a final product. This also opens the possibilities to individual or partner work (depending on the quantity of the materials) making it flexible for those children who prefer to work alone, or welcome extra hands. And the reason this works so well with our children (ages 3-9 years old)? I’ve noticed time and time again their abundance of ideas for the projects we do, possibilities of how to use the materials, and magical, out of the box, totally kooky ideas spring from their brains on a regular basis! This is a way to honor their creative process.
We are about to embark on a new large, communal project involving weaving. (As you might have read, we are also in the final stages of another large project.) So this process piece was two-fold. 1) Let get familiar with the technical ideas of weaving: over-under, under-over, etc. 2) Let’s see what children come up with! I always welcome new ideas that add a little spice to the projects I think of! And children really held up their end of the deal!
One Nitzanim boy wasn’t so interested in the traditional over-under weaving technique. He opted for simply exploring new ways of incorporating the horizontal materials (weft) into the vertical threads (warp). He soon discovered knotting, twisting and looping as his preferred method of constructing what he imaged as “a boat” and, later, “a parachute”.
Another boy was very interested (and super excited!) about overlapping the horizontal materials (weft) to make many new colors! He talked us through every step of the way, discovering how overlapping makes the color “dark, a little darker than this light blue” and how some were more “see through”.
All in all, I hope to make more time for these little process piece projects. They remind me of how refreshing it can be for our children to live in the moment as they try new things with out any regard for what it “could/should” look like.