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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Living Sculpture

Recently I had the pleasure of working with 10 Key Stage 1 gifted and talented pupil’s from a local school. The school has been taking part in the forest schools project that encourages and inspires individuals of any age through positive outdoor experience. The children attending the school have been visiting a local space at Wat Tyler and wanted to create a living sculpture that would be based at their school. The idea for the project stemmed from collecting natural form from around the school grounds through various mediums to create a sculpture. This would be a sculpture that would be designed by the children, constructed by the children and finally nurtured by the children.
So here's what we did.....
Rubbings collected from around the school
At the start of the project we walked around the grounds and used crayons to take rubbings from textured areas. We used our hands to feel whether the surface was smooth, rough, bumpy and then laid our paper over the top and took a rubbing using crayons. Children worked hard to collect as many patterns as they could, filling the whole paper.
Once we collected our rubbings we looked at the various patterns we had found. We then drew these onto a new piece of paper, making them bold and colourful.
    Patterns created from the rubbing collected from around the school grounds
    Children taking time to observe their natural form object and then drawing on paper
    Whilst we collected our rubbings we also collected items from the school ground that had fallen on the ground, such as twigs, leaves, feather etc. We took these objects inside and spent time talking and observing the shapes, colours, textures before completing an observational drawing of the object.
    Observational natural form drawing
    The children using watercolour to paint observational images of natural form on the canvas
    Working out where to place the photos taken by the children on the canvas
    Before we started work on our final sculpture we decided to create a  documentary canvas of all our findings. The children printed off photos they had taken, cut squares from their rubbings and natural form drawing and laid these out to complete a canvas. The children decided to use watercolour paint to paint images of natural form in the empty squares. The final touches included cut out of describing words of natural form pieces before gluing on twigs found around the school.
    The completed mixed media natural form canvas
    The winning design for our living sculpture
    The children designed the living sculpture after spending time exploring elements from their drawings, photographs, found objects and rubbings to create a natural form abstract drawing that encompassed patterns and details explored in one single image.
    The children chose a design they wanted to make from the final drawings which was of a boat form based on stones and leaves that had been found on the school grounds.
    Chicken wire frame covered with newspaper, having a mod roc layer applied
    Plaster being added to build up the sculpture form
    Painting our Sculpture
    The base of the sculpture was made using chicken wire which was then covered with newspaper. Children then applied modroc to the armature adding areas of details and areas for plants to be potted. Finally a layer of plaster was added over the tops for added strength.
    Once the sculpture was painted the children planted an arrangement of herbs and cactuses completing the living sculpture that the school community can nurture, observe and enjoy.
    Planting herbs in our sculpture
    Planting the cactus
    The finished sculpture
The Forest Schools has demonstrated success with children of all ages who visit the same local woodlands on a regular basis and through play, who have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. Forest School programmes run throughout the year, for about 36 weeks, going to the woods in all weathers (except for high winds). Children use full sized tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and become self motivated.
So Forest Schools will aim to develop:
  • Self Awareness
  • Self Regulation
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Empathy
  • Good social communication skills
  • Independence
  • A positive mental attitude, self-esteem and confidence
To find out more about forest schools have a look on this website