Storm Doris left us with a trail of winter twigs with early buds strewn across roads and gardens and plenty of ideas and materials for this terms art club.
We started with The Woodland Trust‘s winter twig ID sheet. The twigs were tricky to identify at this time of year but the close looking helped observational skills noting layout of buds, presence of catkins and, the children’s favourite, the stickiness of the horse chestnut bud.
I had prepared long scroll lengths of paper and supplied brush pens filled with diluted ink (a new tool for the children) and watercolour pencils and encouraged them to make observational drawings of the twigs using the length of the paper.
Some of the children used magnifying glasses for close looking identifying patterns and an array of colours within the bark and buds.
In the second session I brought short cut lengths of twigs that would be painted and become a material to use for 3D work the following week.
We started with some colour theory, mixing bright primary colours in acrylic then set to the painting. This simple painting task offered a calm time to talk about the relative vibrancy of colours, how the paint transformed the twigs (would we look at them differently) and what size and shape twigs would we need to make the 3D work.
As the children finished painting I asked them to look at the underlying paper: what shapes and images could they find; what happened if they turned their paper?
The following week I demonstrated joining the twigs with wire and talked about making a hanging or free standing structure. The children joined their twigs to create tree or birdcage like structures using the more pliant materials to create curves. I was very impressed by their achievements but photographing the delicate structures proved very tricky against the classroom backdrop.