Renaissance Unit Study - Week 1 - Venetian Cloth

Week 1: We colored maps of Renaissance Italy and then made Venetian Cloth.

Many scholars consider Italy the center of the Renaissance. Venice, Genoa, Florence, Milan, Siena, the Papal States and Naples held the majority of the land in Italy.

Italy Map Work

To begin the Renaissance History Unit, maps of Italy during the 1500's were colored. Here is a map similar to the one which was colored.

Venetian Fabrics

The Venetians were expert ship builders, sailors and merchants. Fabric, pepper and alum were important products controlled by trade passing through Venice. Pepper from the east, was used to flavor foods, while alum, also from the east, was used as a mordant to set dye when coloring fabrics. Today alum has many uses and can be found in deodorant, vaccines, flame retardants, modeling clay and skin whitener. Both Genoa and Venice created beautiful dyed fabrics which were traded with the Ottoman Empire. Many of the fabrics resembled Persian carpets.

Therefore, the children made their own Venetian fabrics.

White Satin Fabric
Permanent Markers
Rubbing Alcohol
First the fabric was cut into long skinny strips (scarves) and the edges were surged.

Next, permanent marker was used to create geometric designs on the fabric.

Rubbing alcohol was used to set the color with one of two methods. Either the entire scarf was quickly dunked and squeezed in a bath of alcohol (above right) or a dropper was used to place the rubbing alcohol on specific desired locations on the scarf (above left).

Next they were hung up to dry.

Finally they were placed in the dryer to set the color permanently.

This is the first week of our Renaissance History Unit. Please sign-up to follow Highhill Education and receive hands-on history activities each week.

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