Embroidery of the Russian Goddess Mokosh

Activity and discussion ideas

How this resource could be used:

We currently have a unit of work in year 10 entitled 'Pattern with Meaning’. Students research into a broad range of cultures, especially those including pattern in their textiles, body painting, carving etc.  Students then use their own symbols and motifs to design 2 or 3D work to symbolize meaning in their own lives.  This resource could be used in this unit.

Amanda Duke, Faculty Leader for Creative and Performing Arts, Steyning Grammar School

Activity ideas:

  • Think of an activity in which you are regularly involved.  Using squared paper design a symbol or motif that could be embroidered. Use the squared paper to help you to keep your design geometric and stylized. Select a colour for the background and one for the symbol/motif. Extension: Draw your design onto linen fabric and embroider.
  • Look at another My Learning resource called Embroider the World and embroider a small piece of fabric using just two colours of thread.
  • Weaving has to have tight vertical threads, known as the warp and horizontal threads that are interlaced over and under the warp threads known as the weft. You can weave with something as simple as a small forked branch of a tree or bush.
    • Tie together the ends of a forked branch so that a shape is created and held tightly.
    • Wind a continuous thread between two opposite sides of the shape to create a warp.
    • Then thread a long thread 'over and under' the warp thread and back again. This is the weft thread.
    • Continue until all the warp threads are covered, and you will have created basic fabric!
  • Collect different types of fabric including linen. Let a group of people feel the fabrics, then with their eyes closed and just by feeling see if they can identify the linen sample.

  • It is likely that the linen that this towel was woven from came from the region near Vologa in Eastern Russia. Research what it is like today to live in that part of Russia. What language do people speak and what religious beliefs do they have? The links at the bottom of the page will help you.

Discussion ideas:

  • Look for something embroidered and find out if it was hand or machine embroidered. If it is hand embroidered, who made it and for what purpose?
  • What things made of cloth are very important to some customs and traditions that you might experience today? Think of different types of clubs, celebrations and activities.


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