Land Art

The children really embraced the work of Andy Goldsworthy! In many ways, his work is an invitation for all of us to participate with land in a similar spirit on our own terms and indeed the children did. From the initial stage of discussion to gathering materials to creation, the process was well thought out and considered by them all. 

Many of us view his work through photographic documentation so it was important for this workshop children had some way to document their interpretations of Land Art. We decided to introduce the polaroid camera. The children were of course fascinated with this device and couldn't wait to have a go. The film for this particular size polaroid is increasingly hard to find and I managed to source some from e-bay. About half the children's images developed whilst the other half  developed more of an abstract tone. However in true artist style this did not deter the children, instead we interpreted what the photographic splodges and shapes might be which led us on to a who conversation about abstract art and interpretation.


Viktor and Rolf's Spring/Summer 2016 'wearable' art based on Picasso's cubist period inspired this workshop. Children deconstructed and re-constructed elements of a monochrome installation to make their own works using paper and card.

Fischli and Weiss Rock on Top of Another Rock

Rock on Top of Another Rock by artists Fischili and Weiss outside The Serpentine Gallery oscillated between stability and instability, construction and destruction. The children embraced this concept and worked with various materials to explore these themes. Balancing was a key part of the workshop as the children manufactured rocks and tested how these could balance. They also looked at different rock structures and drew these from observation noticing the natural differentiated colour schemes and patternation. Its amazing when we really 'look' at what's in front of us how much more we notice!


Half- Term Tate Britain

Art hunts, story-scape observational drawing, plaster-cast interventions and book art inspired by John Latham's (1966) 'Film Star'. What a day! This group totally immersed themselves at the Tate Britain today and produced some though provoking interpretations. Seeing the 'Vanilla and Concrete' exhibition and making our own plaster casts inspired by the show was a highlight. We even created our own interventions within the gallery space and discussed how this might disrupt/ add to the exhibition. :-)

Tate Modern

This group rocked it today; they were totally in awe of the Alexander Calder works we saw at Tate Modern. The children took part in some observational drawing inside the show, and later worked collaboratively to transform each other into 'human mobiles' (sounds scarier than it was!!!). A favourite part of the day was bending wire to make their own wire-line drawings a and seeing the shadows these created on the floor. 


Performance Art

Yesterday our young artists were introduced to the concept of Performance Art which of course they immediately 'got' (many adults still don't get it). Performance art is an act of doing; there is no rehersal or recreating a narrative but is an experiment with elements such as time, materials, space and action. The children became 'statues' on plinths and worked together to instantaneously perform in character responding to one another's actions. 

Family Workshop at Parasol Unit

On Sunday I led a workshop titled 'Rock Wall' at Parasol Unit for Contemporary Arts based on their current exhibition by artist Julian Chàrriere. The room was packed with families all enthusiastically making mythical, symbolic and literal rocks.

John Baldessari

I have just finished teaching one of my absolute favourite sessions in a school. Introducing the children to John Baldessari who himself was a teacher, describing seeing no difference between his teaching and making. His practice is about shaking people up and encouraging them to reconsider their ways of seeing. I challenged our young artists to do the same today.  Many of his works play with the erasure of identity and disguise. Faces in his photos are masked by coloured dots and Although they can at first seem forbidding, the mysterious absences in his work enable participation, as we have to find our own ways of uncovering the hidden. The children used this idea to create their own pop-up worlds and played so well with the concept of 'not knowing'. We took it in turns to interpret our friends' characters and worlds and I have to say they were so incredibly perceptive and imaginative I left beaming from ear to ear. 


From yesterdays session thinking about 'playscapes' which was a term first coined in 1959 to define play sculptures designed to relate to the user in new ways. I love how this era blended art and play so well and yesterdays children really embraced this concept and with bundles of imagination they designed and constructed their very own collaborative playscape

Bauhaus Costume Making

A few images from the weekends Bauhaus Costume making workshop which were made alongside dancing to Paul Hindemith’s Bauhaus Ballet compositions

Tony Cragg explorations Part 2

Yesterday's session inspired by Tony Cragg's artwork 'Menschenmenge' 1986 from Brooklyn Museum. We took it in turns to draw around our friends’ bodies with string, cloth and pens (how does it feel to use these different materials as a drawing tool?), and then using tape we constructed shapes and used plastcine, to stick 'loose parts' to the wall. The children thought about the word ‘abstract’, we discussed shape, positive and negative space and what it means to reuse materials. The children I teach are all so unique with totally different interests and styles of working. With this in mind, I try to make my sessions varied and as well as giving the children choice, I aim to introduce different elements that appeal to these different learning styles. Some children naturally gravitate towards collaborative, process and play driven work such as the wall piece, whilst others prefer to work independently. It is imperative that as an educator I remain sensitive to this; I will often work intuitively, changing components, adding materials and generally shaking things up as a session progresses, which i hope continues to positively challenge both the children and myself.

Under table exposion

One of the things I enjoy most when visiting schools is changing the children's perceptions of what art can be and where it can take place. So down we crouched and under their school tables the children worked. The children were introduced to artist Cornelia Parker's 'Cold, Dark, Matter'. Thinking about items in the home that hold memories and meaning, we played with constructing these using plasticine, hanging them under the tables and using torches in the dusk we caught their shadows and drew reflections. The children were so articulate in their descriptions of what they were aiming to do and thought so deeply about the items they chose to depict.