We’re Moving Onto the Northwest Coastal Indians

Meeting is at 1:00 Tuesday, 4/24 on the stage at Templeton.

The project will be ready to start this MONDAY, APRIL 30th.

Northwest Coastal Indians Powerpoint Presentation (this is on Skydrive, so after you click the link, you will see my document called “Northwest Coastal Indians”.  Click again and voila!  You will see my Powerpoint Presentation in your browser.

Information about how totem poles were made can be found here:  NW Coastal Indians Totem Poles and here.

We are going to be making totem poles!  Here are the totem poles Grace and I made:

Project Description:

We are making totem poles in the spirit of those created by the NW Coastal Indians.  Here’s how it works:

For the actual poles, we are using posterboard and Kraft paper.  Kraft paper is brown paper, the kind post offices use to cover boxes or painters use to protect areas from splatter.  The purpose of the brown Kraft paper is to replicate the look of wood that the Indians used when carving their totem poles.  The purpose of the posterboard is to provide a solid base upon which to attach the flimsy and malleable Kraft paper.  I will pre-cut all the Kraft paper and the posterboard so all that you won’t need to fuss with that.  I will then attach the posterboard onto the Kraft paper so all you’ll have to do is help the kids roll them into tubes when they’re done.

The basic idea is this:  tell the children that totem poles were used by the Coastal Indians to  tell a story or to depict the history of a family.

Step One:  Give each child the pre-cut piece of Kraft paper upon which he or she will begin the totem pole design.  They will be making a total of three faces on their poles.  The kids should attempt to divide their Kraft paper into thirds to make equal room for each face.  Grace and I eyeballed the paper and drew faint pencil marks to demarcate each 1/3 of the page.

I will have templates on the cart (you can also view them below) that show how the Coastal Indians depicted various parts of human and animal faces.

Step Two:  With the templates on the table for reference, have each child begin making the three faces they’ve chosen with our Crayola Molding Clay.  Lay the Kraft paper flat on their desks, the clay will stick nicely on the paper all on its own.  Only a little clay is necessary- a little goes a long way.  You might want to show them how to roll the clay into “snakes” to form the ovoids and u-shapes.  Most of the sculpting can be done by hand, but there are craft sticks available for those who want more detail.  The sticks can be used to sculpt the clay.

Rolling the clay into a snake... work in progress!

Remind them about symmetry since the totem poles emphasized bilateral symmetry.  Make sure they notice all the u-shapes and ovoids in the templates… this will make it easier for them to visualize the individual facial components.

They may not have time to make ears or eyebrows… it depends upon how much time your class has carved out (no pun intended) for Art Lit.

Any blank space can be covered with any of the traditional Indian shapes (see below).

Step Three: 

Roll the posterboard with its attached, finished Kraft paper into a tube.  Secure with tape or staples and tape.    There is both double sided and regular tape available… use whichever seems to work best.

Step Four

If they are adding any wings or feather shapes, do this now.  You can cut a long strip out of the Kraft paper, cut the edges as you wish (i.e. zig zag like feathers) and wrap it halfway around the pole securing with tape.  Then bend each side so the wings stick out horizontally. Here’s a picture of what I mean:

How the wings were attached....

Alternatively, you can just cut out each of the two wing (or whatever) shapes and attach them to each side of the totem pole.  Traditionally, the wings go at the top of the poles, but they can place them wherever they want

I got feathers, pipe cleaners and Raffia to decorate the top and/or wings.  Raffia is the straw-like substance you can see on the top of the human faces totem pole above. You can either glue or tape these finishing touches on the poles.  We tapes ours… it was really easy this way (less messy, too).

You’re done!





Traditional Indian Shapes

More shapes...