Sep 27: Nail and string art

Nail and string art.

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • Have a look at the top photo in this article. Why do you think the photographer may have chosen to shoot this image in black and white rather than colour? What mood is created by this choice? How might a choice like this be about telling a story?
  • The article talks about how public interest in helping stranded whales has “never been higher.” There are stories about how stranded whales were treated in the 19th and early 20th century, which contrast with the way we try to rescue them these days. Why might people have become more sensitive and compassionate towards stranded whales?
  • In the coloured photos of pilot whales and dolphins, are you surprised to read in the caption that these species can congregate in groups of up to 1,000?
  • What do you think about the stories of “inter-species altruism?” Can you explain this concept in your own words? Can you think of any other species – plant or animal – that exhibit this behaviour?
  • What kinds of things might be causing the increased noise levels in the sea that may be a cause of stress for whales? Could we reduce these noise levels? What kinds of decisions would we need to make as humans? What might be the positives and negatives of making these decisions?

Activity: Nail and string art

If you feel inspired by the article on whales today, you might like to try this retro art activity. Sketch a whale or anything you like, bang in some nails and wind string between the nails to create an outline that you can “colour in” with string.

You will need:

  • A piece of wood – any size or shape will do
  • Some nails – small nails would be ideal
  • A hammer
  • String or wool
  • Paint, if you want to paint the background
  • A pencil and a reference picture of what you are sketching

Step One: Sketch an outline of your chosen image directly onto the wood. It might be helpful to look at a picture. If you are drawing a whale, you could use one of the pictures in today’s article.

Step Two: Hammer in nails around the outline of your sketch. If you’re working at a table, it’s a good idea to put a heavy book or some cardboard under your work to absorb the impact of the hammering (you don’t want to ruin your desk or table.)

Step Three: Tie string onto one nail and double-knot it to secure it. Wind the string around the head of an adjacent nail and so on around the nails until you come back to the first nail. This is the outline of your image. Now crisscross randomly from nail to nail inside the outline, making sure you keep tension in the string, until your image is as “coloured in” as much as you want it to be. Tie it off when you have finished and trim the end of the string.

Send us a picture of your nail and string art!