New uses of grass and straw as art materials in teaching education

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Straw has not been officially adopted in schools and colleges as an art material even though it is a good raw material in the traditional weaving industry especially in the northern parts of the country where it is widely used in the making of hats, begs, mate fence and other products. In other parts of Ghana it is not used to any appreciable extent perhaps because people do not have the skills to handle the material. It may also be unfamiliar to students and teachers of art who have not realised its potential or do not regard its use is the classroom as worthwhile. Because teachers, students and school administrators are ignorant of the use of gross and straw as art materials, the materials have not been considered when drawl up art syllabuses. The neglect of these materials as art materials in schools over the years probably account for the lack of teachers specialized in their use in teaching, and students being unfamiliar with the materials. Furthermore, in the Northern part of this country where grass and straw are popular, these materials are made use of only by illiterates in the production of hats, bags and other crafts. Schools do not use then and regard than as materials for illiterates. In the present Educational Reforms, Vocational and Technical skills are stressed and grass and straw are cheap and readily available materials the use of which will enhance the realisation of vocational skills in the visual Art. The above problem and the general lack of conventional art materials such as paper, colour and brushes in our schools, call for a serious look to be taken at the situation to adopt grass and straw as art materials in our schools. It is also the objective of the writer to produce step by step guide to the new uses of grass and straw in creating art works with the aim of helping students in the near future. The introduction of grass and straw art activities in Teacher training Collages will go a longway to widen the materials scope for the subject. As a result of this, student teachers will learn new skills to broaden their knowledge in the subject and enable them to teach art more effectively. Student will enjoy diversity in art activities using grass and straw. The collage concern stand to gain as grass and straw are cheap and readily available. Furthermore, precious foreign exchange expenditure on art materials will reduce. The first activity involves the, us of grass and straw, in king a table sat, while the second activity is illustrated on how straw is woven into a canvas for painting. The use of grass and straw in making picture frames, collages works and for weaving hate are illustrated in the third, fourth and fifth Chapters respectively. In the sixth and seventh activities use is made of elephant grass to create curtains and table mats. The last three activities are illustrated guides in the weaving of a lady’s bag, straw calendar and a serving tray respectively. In conclusion, the problems that are likely to face the student and his teacher in trying to carry these activities are outlined. Possible solutions to the problem of the student and the teacher are also put forward.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Art Education, 1992