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Paintbrush Rocket | 2nd Grade – Rag Collages inspired by Aminah Robinson
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2nd Grade – Rag Collages inspired by Aminah Robinson

2nd Grade – Rag Collages inspired by Aminah Robinson

Formally known as, Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Aminah Robinson has become one of my top 10 favorite artists I teach.  Her artwork is no narrative, students love to see it, hear the story and are ready to create after the incredible visual stimulation of a slideshow of her work.

Here are a few fun facts about Aminah Robinson along with some of my favorite original pieces of hers:

  • Aminah lived her entire life in Columbus, Ohio
  • Aminah decided one day, she was sick and tired of doing her hair, so she cut it all off.  She lived many years bald by choice.
  • The elder women in her family had a huge impact on her art. They shared many stories of how their ancestors came from Africa as slaves, and then the road to freedom.  Aminah’s art is filled with these stories and stories of others she found in hundreds of hours of research in the library, one of her favorite places.
  • Aminah’s dad also impacted her art, he taught her to see with deep concentration.  She would look at something until she could turn away and sketch it from memory in her sketchbook. He taught her how to sculpt out of “Hogmawg” – a made up clay, made from mud, sticks, glue and pigment.
  • Aminah is most known for her “RagGonNon’s” – A work of art that took years to create and research. They reference the past, present and future.



After becoming completely motivated, my students jumped in with two feet to create these adorable Rag Collages.  Seriously, my favorite project of the year….maybe the toughest to teach, with the stitching, but favorite results.

If you have ever taught a fibers lesson to children, you know that it is impossible to have them cut into fabric with success.  So, knowing that, I precut with a rotary cutter all the pieces needed to build a person.  Circle heads, square body, rectangles for arms and legs.  I put them in boxes and had students choose the pieces they were interested in having.


Day 1 – Students choose a colored piece of burlap.  They glue the fabric onto the burlap with regular white glue.  Students put their names on a pice of paper and left the burlap on the paper to dry.  Next time, the paper gets ruined, has to be torn off, (so don’t use good paper), and their names are written on masking tape and taped to the back.



Day 2- We spent a few minutes using the oil pastels and drawing on the burlap and fabric.  And then…. we started to STITCH.  There are no pictures of stitching, because it is all hands on deck!  It is best to direct the first few stitches once everyone has their yarn taped on the back.

It took us 2 classes to do the stitching, which is the goal of the lesson, to get my students to master creating X’s by stitching. Several did master, some learned, some struggled.  The students who finished went on to help students who struggled.  Overall, all students did a great job of working through the struggle of learning something new.


Day 4 – Students glued their burlap to a white paper background and wrote their names on the front. Then, it was time to embellish! Aminah would have been proud!  We had buttons, sequence, and beads, anything we had laying around, just like Aminah.



Here are the Masterpieces!!!











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