session 1 Meeting the class….
Today was my first session with Ms McCoys fantastic 2nd class at Rathmichael N.S in Shankhill. I knew immediately that we are going to have so much fun before I even entered the classroom as the children gathered around me in the playground asking lots of questions and by the warm welcome which Steff my assisting artist and I received.The children seemed open and curious and were really interested in who we were and if I was ‘A famous Artist’ ? I began by introducing myself and showing them some slides of my work, However I think I was just as excited about meeting all the other artists in the room so I set about creating an environment which would help me to understand them as individuals and as a group better.
I introduced the concept of ‘A sense of place’ and asked the group to create an idea of place for me with different sets of given materials.We arranged the children onto 3 tables onto which I placed 3 different closed boxes of provocations which I had separated into different tones and textures for them to investigate together.
Table 1 investigated shimmering and iridescent materials.
Table 2 investigated a collection of interesting textures.
Table 3 investigated monochrome materials.
The excitement in the room exploded and the children’s natural capacity for invention and creative play took over. I had deliberately limited the materials so as to foster problem solving.The only brief was that each table was to create a sense of place together as tables.
This was an opportunity to stand back and observe the children’s different strategies and strengths.I never fail to feel in awe of different childrens unique way of experiencing and expressing creatively. Some children prefer to work alone and others in groups, some are methodical ,others let ideas develop organically and it is always the process and not the product which is most inspiring! I encouraged the groups to bring their ideas together, which resulted in some incredible narratives (note to self to record more audio!)
The children had some time to showcase what they had created.
Table 1 …The Innovaters.. had imagined a futuristic New York creating skyscrapers and buildings around Central Park, one of the boys had even made a moveable vehicle on an arial road.
Table 2…. The Story tellers…. had pulled all its diverse ideas together by envisioning a Irish time line which linked, Croke park, the GPO during the rising and a mythical lake which created its own snow (the girls had so much fun pouring beads into and out of home made funnels)
Table 3….The scientists….created a funfair which involved a complex entrapment machine and a rollercoaster through which paper balls where rolled and an amazing welcoming statue
Wow! all this on our first day together! what an inspiring group of children! can’t wait to meet them again!