Museums of Very Tiny Objects
I’m still feeling inspired from my evening workshop with Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination exploring smallness. I wanted to think about this further with art club and also explore the idea of collecting as an art form. We started the session talking about what we collect and why. All the children had fascinating collections at home and could explain why they were collecting them. I wonder if we forget our motivations as we get older. Quite a few of them were collecting things to use in their artwork and enjoyed the process of sorting and categorising. I brought lots of tiny natural objects with me; shells, rats’ jaws, scapulae, lichen, dead wasps and much more. The children selected two objects and spent some time observing them in different ways; colour, texture, shape, smell, scientifically, by language, habitat, preferences. They then talked to a partner about the similarities and differences between their chosen objects. They spent a lot longer than I expected doing this and also created charts and diagrams to explain their findings. After reflecting on the first part of their collection they then selected another three artefacts to build their museum collection. I’d brought a long materials for simple construction so that the children could build an exhibit or mini museum to show their collection. Most of them opted for a hanging display so that the objects could be handled easily. Some liked the idea of semi concealing their display to add surprise and drama to the experience.
I’m going to try out this project with a different art club next Tuesday so hopefully will have some museum photos then and probably a very different take on it.
As Rojo Art Projects CIC we’re currently developing ideas for a heritage and arts project in Bury St Edmunds centred around a walking exploration of hidden water in the town.
Sometimes the River Lark and Water Meadows take a back seat in the landscape and how often do we question the history behind street names such as Well St, Pump Lane and Raingate St. We would like to work with local people exploring the heritage of these enigmatic names and places through performing and visual arts leaving in place a walking trail that helps us view our town from a different perspective.
If you have any stories or information that you’d like to share with us please get in touch by email email@example.com or of course you can also contact us via Twitter or Facebook if you prefer. Any water based stories are of interest, they don’t have to be from the distant past.
We’re be posting water related snippets on this blog so follow us if you’d like to keep up to date. In the meantime I reckon this must be the highest body of water in the town.
This was a day long project working with years 3 and 4. The children had been studying mini-beasts and we were asked to work with them to create giant mini beasts from recycled plastics with emphasis on a scientific approach. We decided to split the day into three processes: sculpting the bodies from plastic fencing, creating an exoskeleton and wings from flat plastics sealed into stickyback plastic and finally threading cut bottles and bottletops to make flowers and legs. The children worked in teams throughout the day making joint decisions on design and mirroring activity to achieve symmetry. At the end of the day the very helpful caretaker managing to install the huge mini beasts high onto the wall. Here are some photos that don’t really do justice to the children’s work. Hopefully we’ll get some better ones soon.
The end of our ‘journeys to school’ project. This week the children thought about the surfaces they travel across on the way to school then created textured footprints to convey the feel and look of roads, paths, fields and mud. They then carried on experimenting with animal footprints.
I’d intended to work with them creating a huge map of their journeys to school using all the artwork we’d created in this project. In reality, there was so much to explore with the travel textures that we ended up exhibiting all the artwork on the classroom floor at the end of the session.
I feel that during this project the children have closely observed and thought about their journeys sometimes using them as a start of an fantastical narrative. At the end of this session the children invited their parents to view their art and talked them through their personal view of the daily school run.
A chaotic day at art club today as we were sharing our space with all the parents in for book day. Last weekend I’d been at Tate Britain exploring ways of creating trails using digital technology and I wanted to play with some of the ideas for our ‘Journeys to School’ theme.
So this week I decided that as part of our large trail we’d create some stories about imaginary events on the way to school. The children started by drawing rough stories thinking about place, character, something they find and what happens and how the story ends.
I’d made some concertina books for them to work in and after working with some rough stories they set about recreating them using fabric collage and oil pastels. Sometimes the fabrics themselves took the stories in a whole new direction particularly when Sebastian discovered the tiger fur and feathers.
Week Two of Art Club and the second week of journeys. The children have been looking carefully on their journeys to school and this week started by sharing some things they had noticed. Rosie had seen a dead pheasant this morning and other people noticed familiar people, buildings and vehicles.
I showed some photos of an artist who draws entire cityscapes from memory and we talked about how we might remember a place in so much detail. The children started describing the landscape of their journeys starting with the immediate surroundings of their home then moving through their journey.
Working on long lengths of paper they started to draw what they remembered moving into finer detail as they progressed.
As an extra activity we used some natural materials to create tree prints to add to the drawings.
Back to art club today and we’re thinking about journeys to school with the idea of sharing the work by creating a 3D map and trail in the hall on the last week. All four sessions will encourage careful looking at things that might be passed unnoticed.
Today our starting point was home and the children talked about their houses and tried to remember as many details as possible in a drawing. Where possible I hope to use materials that the children might encounter on their journey so I found some old flat surface bricks to paint their houses onto. We discussed how they could make marks on the bricks and which media would be most successful. Most of them tried paint with wax crayons and some children carried on to make marks in the wet paint with a pencil.
Here’s what they got up to so far:
For our last session this term we explored the idea of creating a narrative from the idea of the plants the children had created just keeping on growing.
First of all we had a 10 min session sharing ways to use charcoal. The children then set up their plants within a white box like a stage set and added a few more props to create a story. Using torches they looked at ways they could light the scenes in the most dramatic way.
With the lights off they used charcoal to draw their dramatic scenes-in retrospect I think this would have been fun photographed or filmed so maybe next time…. The children then decided to share their stories with the rest of the group. I’m really enjoying the fact that even the youngest members enjoy standing up in the group and talking about their artwork
Sorry no photos as it was rather dark and we were rather rushed but here are some photos of the children’s plant laboratory.
Our four week project imagines the type of plant that might grow from discarded plastic bottles. This week the children tried different ideas and techniques to transform the plastics into plant like shapes.
Here are some work in progress. Next week we will be thinking about how scientists classify new species of plants and the care that our new plants may need.
Wetheringsett School invited us to work with the whole school as part of their eco week. They were keen to create a shared large piece of art to be exhibited in the school. Before the project we agreed that the theme would be about an imaginary plant that might grow from discarded plastic bottles as they start to decompose.
The children collected sacks of plastic bottles and more Christmas sweet wrappers than we’ve ever seen gathered together in one place before, there’s something very beautiful and tactile about them en masse.
After an assembly introducing the theme the children took part in three activities. We worked with them exploring ways to transform the plastic materials into component parts of a large plant installation for the library area. The children discovered some ways of transforming the plastic bottles that we hadn’t seen used before.
Alongside this we asked the teachers to set up a large scale shared drawing allowing the children to imagine plants that might grow from the plastics. In another activity they put themselves in the position of scientists classifying the newly discovered plant and determining it’s growing needs and habits linking back into growth as a curriculum topic.
Here are a few photos of the artwork assembled in the library;