Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Wonder Team. Wonder Team Wonders, “Can you use thread to draw?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Wonder Team!

If someone were to ask you to draw a picture, what’s the first thing you would reach for? Crayons? Colored pencils? Markers? Chalk? Pastels?

Those are probably some of the drawing tools that would immediately jump into your mind. But what about a needle and thread? Those are the tools a thread artist might think of first.

Thread art can take many different forms. For example, a knitted or crocheted sweater can be a work of art on its own. But many knitters and crocheters can also use their needles and yarn to create beautiful pictures.

Likewise, many people practice needlepoint and quilting. They can make fabric items that are as lovely as any painted or drawn picture. Even young children can try their hands at string art. They can wrap string or yarn around a series of nails fixed to wooden frames.

Using needles and thread to create works of art has a long history. Hundreds of years ago in medieval Europe, large woven images hung on walls. Some could be hundreds of feet long and broken up into multiple panels. These pieces of thread art told grand stories and were called tapestries.

One famous example of this type of art is the Bayeux tapestry. Over 230 feet long, it depicts the Norman conquest of England. Its primary figure is William the Conqueror. Tapestries were valuable pieces of art, because they could be moved easily and displayed in many locations. They could also be incorporated into pillows, blankets and chairs.

Tapestries can use many different colors of thread. The threads can also be blended and layered in three dimensions. These unique characteristics make them look and feel unlike any other form of art. When displayed in different lights, their colors and textures can take on different qualities from different angles. Tapestries can be as intriguing as any painting.

Drawing with thread is not an easy task. After all, you can’t just erase a mistake! Thread artists are very skilled at using their tools—needles, thread, string, pins, and nails—to create drawings. Many of these look like they could have been drawn with a pencil.

Some thread artists have even taken creativity to a whole new level. Toronto thread artist Amanda McCavour creates thread drawings that seem to float in the air. How does she do it? She uses a fabric that dissolves in water. Once she has her thread creation just like she wants it, she dissolves the fabric, leaving a drawing consisting only of thread suspended in mid-air!

Have you ever seen a tapestry? Would you like to make your own thread art? It’s never too late to start practicing a new craft!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s all-new Wonder of the Day will have you swinging between the trees!