Line Design

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Throughout human history, man first creates a useful object, and then he decorates it to make it beautiful. Expressing oneself by creating beauty is a basic fundamental need of man. As we look at the beautiful decorative masks and pottery of early man, we can admire their strong artistic sense. The American Indians decorated their teepees, created beautiful headdresses, beaded moccasins, richly patterned blankets, and carved masks and totem poles rich with symbolic ornamentation. The Victorians took great pride in making elegantly crafted objects for their homes, and also in the workplace. Victorian tools have beautiful decorative handles and Victorian windows have elaborate carvings. Even coal grates were intricately patterned.

Every culture creates beauty from the raw materials available to it, and incorporates its ideals, knowledge, customs, and innate artistic sense into the decoration and ornamentation of its artifacts. Understanding line design and patterning helps children appreciate beauty in the everyday items and artistic creations of the world around them.

We can help children understand the basic ways patterns are created. Make a collection of fabrics and useful items that incorporate each of the following line designs to share with the children. Also draw children's attention to the line designs in their clothing, or that decorate objects in the classroom. They might like to bring in other examples from home.

Depending on the age and the interest of the children, these exercises can be spaced over time.