Today we are focusing on an African-American artist: Faith Ringgold. Faith Ringgold creates beautiful story quilts. My personal favorite is called Tar Beach. Tar Beach is a story about a family living in the city. The father works on the bridge and at nights they would escape to the rooftop of their apartment to enjoy the cool breeze of the night air. The little girl in the story imagines that she is flying and anything she flies over, she then owns. What a fun thing to imagine! Look up a picture of this quilt online or check out the book Tar Beach from your library.
You can make your own story quilt as well. You could work on one part each day until it is finished. Here’s how:
large piece of construction paper–dark blue or black is best
poster board (slightly larger than the construction paper)–any color will do
scraps of scrapbook paper or construction paper–several colors
glitter–I like to use silver, but any color will work too!
oil pastels–crayons or markers can be substituted but might not show up as well on the paper.
scrap fabrics or wallpaper scraps from a local store
1. First draw the bridge outline in pencil. Look at some pictures of bridges–you can make a similar bridge or be creative and make up your own. Make your bridge go all the way across the large piece of construction paper and keep it towards the top of your paper. See how the bridge is in the background on the cover of the book Tar Beach?
2. Outline the bridge with liquid glue.
3. Sprinkle the glitter over the glue that you just placed. Shake the glitter around to cover all of the bridge areas. Carefully dump the extra glitter into a small jar.
4. Let this dry thoroughly.
1. Use the scrap papers that you have and draw small buildings. Be creative and add details to the buildings using the oil pastels. What buildings would you like to own? Draw your favorites. Or maybe you want to create a new building! Go ahead and be creative. Make sure your buildings will fit on your picture right underneath the bridge.
2. Cut out the buildings that you designed.
3. Add details to make them look colorful and interesting.
4. Paste the buildings of your city that you just created right on your painting under the bridge.
1. Use a pencil to draw a picture of yourself flying. Color this and cut it out.
2. Who else is flying with you? Your brother? Sister? Best friend? Or are you flying alone?
3. Draw and cut out any people who are flying with you.
4. Paste them on the top of your picture, flying over the bridge.
5. Use oil pastels and add some night sky details–stars, planets, shooting stars, the moon, etc.
1. First, glue your dark construction paper (the one with the bridge and city on it) onto the larger poster board. Center the construction paper so that the poster board makes a border around it.
2. Use the fabric scraps (or wallpaper samples) and cut out small squares out of each one.
3. Glue the squares onto the outside edge of your picture–covering the poster board. You can layer the squares in a pattern if you’d like, or just place the squares randomly on the board.
1. Once your artwork is completed, write a story to go along with your picture.
2. Faith Ringgold wrote her story right on the quilt. You can do the same, or you can write it on a separate piece of paper or type it on the computer.
If you would like to know more about Faith Ringgold, you can find out more at this website.
Another great installment of the ABC’s of American History series. Have you missed a few? Check out the entire series below: