Curious about how we're bringing art and science together in Vermont classrooms? Here is a glimpse into the Cerebella Education Outreach Pilot Program...
There are many moments I am designing patterns and products for Cerebella and my mind wanders to the following questions: " What can people learn from these patterns?", "How can a textile company straddle the worlds of art, science, and education?", and "Can Cerebella influence how students think about the natural world through art?"
Some of the most well-articulated answers I have heard to these questions have in fact come from the first 40+ fifth and sixth graders I visited in a local school in Vermont earlier this year.
I got extremely lucky during my first school visits; each Cerebella Ed Outreach session was full of amazing kids who were engaged and excited to learn about the intersection of art and science. In each session (which lasted a bit under an hour), we talked about the history of microscopy; the technical aspects of preparing slides, viewing them, and capturing them with cameras attached to scopes; the material science behind digitally printed textiles; the implementation of sustainable practices in a new business; the creation of Cerebella wearables from slide to product, and much more.
Throughout the interactive presentation, I was very impressed as students asked questions about everything from biomimetic materials to sustainable practices in garment construction. We then shifted to an activity where students worked together to determine what specimens inspired the different Cerebella patterns.
During this time, I walked around and shared samples of different kinds of fabric so that the class could learn more about the materials we use to make Cerebella products.
One of the concepts that was fun to talk about was scale, and how an image can look very different if it is made bigger or smaller, and if it is repeated in a certain way. This also led to conversations about using scientific tools to make art, and how images can be reinterpreted when they are placed in a new context.
The most exciting moment for me was to see students around the room spontaneously tying ties on each other and modeling the products! It was too good of a moment not to capture (see picture above :) ).
After coming together again and "revealing" what specimens inspired the different patterns, we concluded with questions. A number of students approached me afterwards to share ideas for products they wanted to see, and patterns they thought would look cool on future items. This interaction alone made me realize that it does not take much to start up the conversation about how art and science can work together; in fact, sometimes it is helpful to have a tangible way to start this process, which is how our Cerebella patterns took on new meaning and purpose as "teaching textiles" in the classroom.
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We are still in the early phases of establishing our larger education outreach initiative for schools outside of Vermont, however you will be hearing about this more in the coming months. If you are interested in getting involved (in or out of VT), or would like to partner with us, feel free to get in touch!