The Beaded Branch

It’s nice to be back from my blogging break. A little earlier than expected. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away for a whole month.


Reggio inspired art explorations - decorating a branchWhen we first moved to Canberra, a few years ago now, we attended a Reggio-inspired playgroup. This is the same playgroup that I was fortunate enough to coordinate for a few months.

I had forgotten about an ongoing project the children worked on periodically at the playgroup; a beaded branch, until I came across this post and was reminded of the beautiful beaded branch that hung from the playgroup room ceiling.

Reggio inspired art explorations - decorating a branch Reggio inspired art explorations - decorating a branch Reggio inspired art explorations - decorating a branchThis project is so engaging. It has the beautiful natural tree branch, the colourful beads and embroidery threads, and the soothing, repetitious motions of threading beads onto the wire.

We also yarn bombed a few branches. Jack got the hang of the yarn bombing, choosing some beautiful colours to wrap the branches. Sarah didn’t quite understand how to wind the thread around and so moved onto the beading…and pretending she had colourful rainbow hair.

Jack and Sarah were both so engaged in this project, over the course of the afternoon they threaded all the wire I had prepared for them and twisted the decorations onto the branch. We added a few crystal balls to catch the light and spread rainbows.

Reggio inspired art explorations - decorating a branch Reggio inspired art explorations - decorating a branch Reggio inspired art explorations - decorating a branchThere’s still space on the branch for more decorations, Jack and Sarah have returned to add more beads.

I was thinking about what to do with our beaded branch, do I make it into a hanging mobile like the one at playgroup? When I posted a photo on Facebook, Suzanne from Interaction Imagination reminded me of a very important step in the creative process:

“maybe working out how the “tree” should stand could be something the children could work out – clay? salt dough? Vase?… maybe the little tree would like a real life mother – and the decorations could make it onto a big real tree outside…”

A lovely reminder to collaborate with Jack and Sarah; for them to plan and experiment and design how and where our beaded branch is going to go.

When they feel our branch is complete, that is what we shall do….I’m looking forward to that next stage, seeing their designs and hearing their ideas.

Now check out this tree.

It’s covered in mirrors, beads and other beautiful bibs and bobs.Β It stood outside the American Visionary Art Museum. Beautiful.

14 Replies to “The Beaded Branch”

  1. Were you planning on using glue or other adhesives to stick stuff onto the branch? that might not stick so well

    1. Yeah just with the wire. I think the glue wouldn’t work very well either. Jack really enjoyed using the wire though and our branch is looking beautiful.

  2. hugs!
    happy I could have helped in a little way…
    I have so enjoyed looking at these images… and that you have returned to the beading tree and continued with it…
    will be interesting to see how they approach a Christmas tree after all this inspiratin and decoration fun!

    1. Funny you should say that because Jack was talking about our Christmas tree while we were beading one morning. We’ve decided that we’ll make some beaded decorations this year. I think this experience will influence the way he approaches decorating our Christmas tree.

  3. Hello form Australia!
    Love your nature based inspirational ideas.
    I had a look at the link to the tree in front of the American Visionary Art Museum and was sad to hear the tree died. It looked awesome but the problem with decorating trees with mirrors and such is that it scares away the birds who are your natural bug controllers. The bugs take over and that the end of the tree.
    Mother nature is very clever and is finely balanced.
    Seems to be a trend also to knit around the trunks of trees and I wonder what consequence that has to a tree?
    It is a nice idea and maybe would be OK for a short time but it is not recommend for long term decoration. Got to keep looking after those lovely trees πŸ™‚

    1. I agree completely. I have wondered about the knitted trunks too. We saw some recently at the National Arboretum. You’re right, I think we do need to remember that while we think it is beautiful, trees are living organisms and should be respected as such. For us, we will be sticking with just the branch. πŸ™‚

  4. Lovely to have you back from your break πŸ™‚ This is a lovely project and I really love the set-up you have for the children.

  5. Hi Kate
    Lovely blog! We are from canberra too πŸ™‚
    I was just wondering if you dont mind sharing the details of the Reggio playgroup? We would love to come!
    Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Vonny,

      We don’t attend the playgroup anymore but it is at Blue Gum Community School in Dickson. It is a really lovely and small group run by one of my friends (a trained Early Childhood teacher)

      1. Thanks so much Kate. Do I contact the school directly or is there a way to join the group?

        1. If you give the school a ring they will be able to give you the email and phone number of the playgroup co-ordinator. When we went there was about a term’s waiting list but you might get lucky for the beginning of this year πŸ™‚

  6. I love it! How old were they when they did this activity? I wonder if my two-ish year old would enjoy it as well (I know I would!). You are so inspiring! Thank you!

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