Tool kit

I am creating this book with an understanding that art is of vital importance to children and their education. Art and design experience makes practical use of visual and tactile language. This involves engagement of children with materials to reshape, reform it to make statements of their personal expression. The art and design learning here involves:

-discovering one’s own self

-translating verbal into visual or tactile material using fabric- discovering the visual language of communication

-translating the images onto textiles by using appropriate techniques

-exploring the visuals that are feelings, thoughts, a memory

The idea is based on deep respect for children’s thinking, of them becoming self-dependent and free to express. Children’s understanding and performance can be enhanced by using art and design experiences and beautifies their self-reward.

The process is as important as the end product, involving understanding the ways in which children are thinking and working, their environment and experiences and how they see these, so that we and they can access their strengths and weaknesses and work on development.

The focus also relies on the need to discover and utilize the potential of a material- its limitations and possibilities. This kind of learning experience involves sensitivity-exploration-using-sensitivity.


The activities have been planned in a way that will enable the children to acquire basic capabilities of visualization, conceptualization and textile based understanding of techniques and materials. They have been thought out to help children to find words and images and vice-versa, to connect emotions to color, and different kind of lines and textures of fabric.

Through these activities children with become “creators” and “makers” knowing their capabilities. It will give them the opportunity to say “I did it” and gain the pride and confidence that comes with such achievement.

The activities also look at finding their individuality. Children and adults often end up imitating or borrowing ideas from others and there should be some encouragement to generate differences that are creative.

Asking ourselves about meaningful moments in our lives, meaningful things and music and (understanding children and their needs and contexts and aspirations in relation to ourselves can help come up with meaningful activities that enrich them at many levels.


My project aims to give a little hope to children who live precarious lives and to help them be less unstable, fulfills the need of “self worth” of children - recognizes their potential, their capability to create which needs to be acknowledged by themselves and the outside world. The original meaning of the word "precarious" is "revocable", "uncertain" or "shaky". Nowadays however the term is used to describe the spread of insecure working and living conditions which is the situation with the children my project includes.

I began my project with a summer camp at Drishya involving 19 children of ages 14 to 16 over a period of two to two and a half hours a day across 10 days. Throughout the summer camp, I was exploring the tools of design, particularly in my area of textiles, to provide children with a tool kit that empowers them by giving them a variety of skills.

The information from the summer camp is the basis of my research into ways of facilitating and learning with these children and especially relating to their needs and discovering what design activities and tools could help them to go beyond their needs to their dreams and aspirations.
I asked myself how the process can be undertaken by means of appreciative inquiry and its 4Ds. What would be the components and sequential steps to look at in order to design a tool kit for these children? Here is what I discovered:

Envision: how the process used can be useful in the long-run as a replicable process that is long lived (sustainable and possibly universal) to benefit children. The objective was that the facilitation and the design approach would enable children to retain their learning and understanding of the design tools and process.

Design: designing and planning activities and their outcomes that help them bring out their dreams and aspirations - “to know their state of being”. This includes designing the activities that would empower them to make connections between themselves and the larger world through metaphors, visualization, textile design skills and making of samples to demonstrate their learning and understanding.

Fabricate: Collect or improvise with easily accessible materials and skills through the process of the summer camp to generate an empowering design process using visualization and textile techniques and recycling that would help children challenge their precarity.

Express: implementing what they learn in the process of discovering their being and their dreams and aspirations, using textile techniques as their medium, choosing the tools to use to suit their “being” that they will portray through garments they design that would emerge from their own understand of their being and be expressed in an individual and unique way.

Summer camp activities as research base


Identifying needs- Can the needs be identified through this process that can be worked further.
Uses of metaphors- can children find connections and patterns between themselves and the world around them.
Form-Can children the possibility of expression in embroidery. Do they find the potential/possibility of form (embroidery) in self expression?
Visuals- what is the nature of their mental vision. What symbols/patterns they use to portray the thoughts show their view of seeing the world around them.


Discover- children discover that travelling along the lines in a graph paper can bring out patterns they have not though or planned.
Recognize- Can they identify patterns from their cultural context? [Can they identify similarity of patterns in mandala they make every morning?] Does it help broaden their vision of using cultural inspired rituals in their own work?
Translation- they translate new found geometric designs through embroidery. Would they be able to translate geometric designs in mandala and vice-versa?


Discover- what lies inside them which are a strong factor that relates to any of the four elements? How would they use embroidery to enhance the visual they create of their own characteristics?
Connect emotions- children explore the variations in line-difference in the intensity, different kinds of lines that change the feel of the visual. Does the feel of the lines connect to emotions? How would change in lines change the emotions?
Texture- explore and plan different stitches to use together to give different textures. This can also enable to replicate the textures in the nature on a piece of fabric through embroidery.


Discover- how an unexpected pattern be formed by cutting various parts of folded paper. It can be worked out in a planned or unplanned way of cutting.
Translation- how the translation can happen from paper snowflakes to embroidery? Do they see positive space or negative space to start embroidery? What forms do they see in snowflakes?

FIND THINGS IN PAIRS (for younger group)
(Children had to find things that are seen in pairs-one cannot do without the other)

Little thinking- this activity is planned for younger children (13-14 years) to start them to seeing and observing things around. The idea is to keep the activity simple so that they do not lose interest by finding it extremely hard to think that leaves them lost sometimes. This let varied perspective come out to know how they observe things around. Some example that came out: mother and child, bat and a ball, earth and sun, lock and key etc.


(Children had to draw the first object they touched in the morning)
Findings- it made children who were not interested also interested, as some of them touched the object they liked the most or they were most close to like a football, cycle, radio. It made them embroider the object whole-heartedly and they felt happy.

Creating illustrations for tool-kit

The main character for the book.

Rough sketches for box activity

Trying various styles


some iterations for illustrations for tool-kit

First cover for an activity card.

second trial cover for an activity card

third trial cover for an activity card.

fourth trial cover. I think I will fix with this kind of
cover for all the activities.