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Educational Resource Library: Natural materials

Weaving Community

by Ashley Davenport
Abundance Farm / Gan Keshet Preschool
Traditionally, weaving has deep roots in the Jewish culture. The craft of weaving is one of the 39 crafts that the Jewish people used to create the Mishkan (tabernacle) in the desert. Weaving, and many of the actions associated with weaving are mentioned specifically in the 39 Melachot, the list of labor forbidden on Shabbat. Although many of the traditional Jewish weaving techniques have been lost to exile, modern day ritual objects are often still made from woven materials, including challah covers, kippot and tallis. Looking back, history shows us that the nomadic Israelites used what fibers they had on hand, such as camel, goat, and sheep, to create their clothing and dwellings. These ancestral methods were simple. Using this simplicity as inspiration, the loom for this project is crafted from sturdy cardboard, the warp is made using cotton string, and the weft consists of long pieces of recycled fabric. Simplicity is often key in introducing new textile art projects to preschool age children. These projects are multifaceted and engaging to young minds, integrating core skill sets such as language and literacy development through oral storytelling, problem solving, pattern recognition, and fine motor development.