Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Willow Pattern Story!

I saw this art project on Pinterest months ago and have been wanting to have my students participate! I ordered "The Willow Pattern Story" by Allan Drummond from Amazon so I could have a text based introduction for the project.  I try to relate all of my projects to either something we are studying or to a book that I can share with the kids to give them a bit of background.  The project was fairly inexpensive, I bought about 8 packs of variety size paintbrushes from our local dollar store, Deals Only. The plates were about $3.00 for a pack of 100! You need paper plates, not waxed covered, if you want the paint to stay! The paint came from our school supply closet, blue and white tempera.  Students were given their Willow plate and a second plate for mixing the paint for varying shades of blue. Each group also had a couple cups of rinse water and sets of the paint.  In hind sight, I should have used wax covered or plastic bowls for the paint rather than more plates, because they would be more liquid proof and would be easier to cover with saran wrap. Oh well, to remember for the future! When students completed their pieces I hung them on the bulletin board for all to see!

While they painted, I displayed a tea saucer that I borrowed from my mom featuring the Blue Willow pattern.  This helped give students a visual reference for what they heard about in the story. 

The students worked hard to imitate the original pattern by incorporating the love birds at the top of the pieces, a river, pagodas, a zigzag fence, the bridge with three people crossing, and various trees. 

I had a couple unfinished pieces at the time of the following picture, hence the awkward gap! 


  1. So Great!!! And innovative!! Love the think out of the box stuff!!

  2. Thanks! It was a fun project, and I know the kids had a blast and got a small history/art lesson!

  3. Oh my, this is just awesome!! Love the childrens' creativity! What a great idea!!

  4. Forgot to say that I absolutely love the way they look all together on the bulletin board. It is a gorgeous display!

  5. Hello Melissa,
    I just stumbled across this post while looking for willow pattern knitting patterns and think the kids art work is so fabulous. I see it's been awhile since the kids made the paintings (2012...5 yrs back) but thought I'd leave a message on the off chance...

    I have been thinking for a while of designing a ceramics series based on willow pattern...not surprisingly children have gone and done a better job of interpreting the original design than i ever could...I guess that would be no no surprise to a person who teaches kids art on a regular basis.

    My question is do the paper plates they painted still exist? And if so do you have them? I'd be very interested in acquiring them, buying them, scanning them, photographing ever it might be possible to see the images up close and test some as possible designs for a ceramic series.

    Do you think that might be possible??

    It's a long shot, I know, but I couldn't resist asking the question.

    Kids grow up so quick...I guess the kids that did those painting would be in High School now. I wonder if they remember them? Anyways, if you get this message I'd love to hear from yuo.
    All the very best
    Siobhan Jackson -
    (from Melbourne, Australia)