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One of our exhibits at St Albans Museum + Gallery is a piece of Tudor armour made for a man called Sir Richard Lee. He was an important adviser to Henry VIII and was given land in St Albans to build a manor house - the remains of this house are Sopwell ruins and can still be seen today.

Richard Lee died in 1575 and it is believed that this shirt, along with a helmet, was specifically made for his funeral to symbolise his impressive military career. The shirt is made of rings of metal woven together to make a strong, protective layer, similar to ones that would have been used by soldiers in battle to help protect them from harm. 

Art Challenge!

For our art challenge, we would like you to use the photographs of this armoured shirt shown above to inspire your very own woven creations!

There are 3 different projects to try below, each showing a different weaving technique. We've included a short time lapse video of each project to help you.

We would love to look at your wonderful creations so please post some photos of your work for us to see on facebook, twitter or instagram tagging us @stalbansmuseums. Have fun!

Project 1 - Paper weaving

Paper weaving

To complete this challenge you will need the following materials:

Coloured card, paper or magazine pages, scissors, a glue stick, paper and a pencil

Instructions:

  • Fold a piece of A4 paper or card in half (portrait) and cut evenly spaced lines (approx 8 slits) from the fold you have made to a few centimetres away from the edge of the paper. Open up and straighten out. This sheet is your ‘loom’
  • Cut a selection of coloured papers into evenly sized strips.
  • Match up the edge of your first paper strip with the edge of the A4 card loom and begin to weave your strip through the cut slits. Glue the top and bottom of the strip in place to secure.
  • Repeat this ensuring you alternate starting from the front of the card loom to the back with the next strip so that the touching strips will be opposite in terms of going under and over the loom.
  • Continue with this pattern until your page is full.

Project 2 - God's eye weaving

God's eye weaving example

To complete this challenge you will need the following materials:

2 evenly sized sticks or twigs and different coloured yarn/wool/string

Instructions:

  • Start by crossing your two sticks over each other to form an ‘X’.
  • Tie them securely together so they stay in place – knot the yarn several times and wrap around the centre point, rotate and then knot and wrap again to make the frame stable.
  • Wrap your yarn around one stick close to the centre of the God’s eye, and take it across to the next stick. Wrap it around that stick, and take it to the next stick. Continue wrapping and winding in that fashion, rotating your God’s Eye frame as you work. Whether you wrap the yarn over the sticks or under doesn’t matter, as long as you are consistent.
  • Change colour by tying your new yarn to the end of your old yarn and continue until your frame is full.
  • Knot to finish and cut any loose yarns with scissors.

Project 3 - Paper chain hanging

paper chain artwork

To complete this challenge you will need the following materials:

Paper or card, ruler, pencil, scissors and glue stick.

Instructions:

  • Use your ruler to measure equal size strips on the A4 card or paper longways – approx. 7 per sheet.
  • Cut multiple sheets using the top page as a guide.
  • Use your strips to make your chains and join together securely using the glue stick.
  • Create 4 x rows of 7 chains to begin – you can make as many as you like but this is a good starting point.
  • Once you have your 4 rows you can now join the rows together in the same way using the strips and joining them using the following the pattern – join one, leave one. Ensure they are all in the same position so lay flat before you join – watch the video to help.
  • Continue until you have a ‘blanket’ of chains just like Richard Lee's shirt.