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Arts & Activities - Page 28

Aloha Shirts by Linda Crawley T he theme for our school’s Evening of the Arts was to be “Something is Fishy.” After creating fish-themed art works, we moved onshore. In Florida, a tropical climate and casual dress is the norm, so students are familiar with Hawaiian “Aloha” shirts. Inspired by the tropical foliage of southwest Florida and this unique fashion, I was ready to begin. Hawaiian Aloha shirts first appeared in the 1920s, using colorful and exotic fabrics offered by Far East merchants. The style became popular when Hawaiian tourism took off. The colorful patterns and comfortable style became even more popular after World War II. Add the celebrities—think Elvis and Sinatra—sporting the shirts, and we have a timeless fashion fad that continues today. To begin the lesson, I displayed several Aloha shirts—borrowed from my closet and a few colleagues—across the front of the art room. My second-graders were excited the moment they spotted the bright-colored shirts. We reviewed the history of Aloha shirts and looked at a wonderful resource book, The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands by Dale Hope. We also discussed the random repeating patterns/motifs on each shirt. After a quick demonstration on drawing tropical flowers and leaves, students each received a 6" x 6" piece of newsprint for their image. I stressed that flower petals don’t grow perfect and even. We discussed a bit of science about the center of the flowers as they drew, including stamen, pistil, stigma, sepal and pollen. The next week we transferred our sketches onto foam printing sheets and imprinted the line work with ballpoint pens. As the students finished their printing plate, I quickly cut out the image around its edges. For “printing week,” I laid out two long sheets of brightly colored bulletin-board paper on two tables, and designated the other tables as inking stations. We reviewed random patterns as opposed to a formal layout. Then, using white ink, students each printed their motif twice on one of the paper sheets, which gave us 16 flower motifs on each panel of “shirt fabric.” We washed and saved the printing plates. 28 november 2012 • 80 YEARS x

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