Artist: Helen Barry, School: Our Lady Of Good Counsel GNS
The focus of this session was to create something for the outdoor area. There are a number of open spaces within the school grounds. One particular space is the garden adjacent to ‘The Meadow’ a building hosting special classes for children with Autism. This space is quite an active area offering an environment for children to explore, look, observe and just ‘be’ in a child friendly space. There is even an outdoor classroom built into this garden offering seating in the curve allowing a teacher to hold a class in the outdoors.
I had asked the children to design and think about what we could create for a permanent piece or pieces for this space. The children designed and sketched out their ideas in great detail. The teacher Ms Walker emailed me a list of their suggestions prior to this session so I could look at their ideas and see what would work best. I brought an assortment of materials to test out ideas. I had done some editing myself from the children’s ideas. As we were considering creating an outdoor permanent piece or pieces health and safety always plays a leading role.
The children designs included an outdoor installation, sculptural work, murals, swings, birds in flight, animals, bamboo structures, arches linking trees to name a few. We went into the garden and I asked the children to take me through their ideas. This enabled me to take a good look at the space itself. My first observation is that this space uses all organic materials and to place something in too contrasting materials or colours would take away from this space rather than add to it.
On returning to the classroom we drew large-scale drawing of garden area and in groups they drew their designs based on our discussions. We also tested out the little glass bottles collected with translucent cellophane to hang against the windows to play around how this would look and see whether this would potentially be something to be recreated in the garden area.
Our character Frank who is still being built was also given a few extra limbs and will be complete by the end of the programme. I left the session with a better understanding of what would be needed and felt quiet challenged by how I could best support the girls to deliver their ideas.