I’ve been thinking a lot about words and communication recently. Firstly working with learning disabled students at the excellent Rowan Humberstone arts centre in Cambridge. This was part of Kettles Yard’s Open House programme, this season exploring radio and capturing overlooked voices. Continue reading
An end of primary school treat for a class that loves art. The etching press came to school for the first time and we worked with the students to make memory zines of their time at the school: everything from school dinners to who kissed who. Continue reading
First of six art sessions with families in Nowton Park, exploring and engaging with a woodland copse through art making. Continue reading
Back to Art Club today with quite large group and an expanded workspace.
This term I want to offer activities that encourage the children to always be looking with the eyes of the artist, exploring, collecting and documenting what they see. I have decided to use the art club activity room as the place to explore and over the next four weeks we will try and look at it with fresh eyes, perhaps discover things we haven’t noticed before and make some art that will share our findings with other users of the room.
Today we started with sketchbooks. The children closed their eyes then opened them, looked around and sketched the first few things they saw that they felt they hadn’t seen before. We tried lying on our backs to get a new angle on the space.
Next each child selected a shape from the table and explored the room, recording in their sketchbook the places where they found the shape in the environment. I’ve posted the sketchbook entries of a couple of the circle collectors.
Finally we explored the room again this time using viewfinders. We’d looked at how using the viewfinder was quite similar to using an ipad to capture an image. The children used the viewfinders to focus on particular areas of interest to them and to decide what to include in their drawings. They sketched in charcoal on white and in chalk on black. Here are some of the drawings.
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 a 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: