Session Three – Anál Mór –To take a deep breath.

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Artist: Helen Barry

Teacher: Eoghan O’Neill

Ranga Dó: 30 paiste

We had decided to break the session into two parts ensuring that the children would get to work on something on their own and the second part would involve teamwork. We began the session with creating our rhythm pattern again using the sound nest exploring pattern-pátrún ceol, introducing the children’s voices. The zoom mike picked up the children’s introduction very clearly this week.

The school is a multi-denominational school and the children throughout the school explore the different religions around the world. This is a theme that my own practice had researched over a number of years so I am keen to begin to look at this with the children. As yet I am not sure in what form this will manifest itself. This term one of the religions the children are looking at is Shintoism, a belief with a large following in Japan. This week is also the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Both of their written language share common origins and as I have practiced Chinese Calligraphy for may years I brought the traditional tools required to share the art of Japanese and Chinese Calligraphy.

Callagrafaíocht – Calligraphy

Seapáinis – Japan

Sínise- Chinese

Ióga – Yoga

Machnamh – Meditation

Dúch – Ink

Gualainn- Shoulder

 Through Calligraphy we may find calm and focus. In Ireland we are more familiar with the practice of yoga to support us in a little meditation. The beginning of the each session the writer grinds the hard black ink into the carved stone using a circular motion to create liquid ink. This can take several minutes to complete. Chinese script or symbols are created from a series of pictures simplified down to a symbol or caricature using a few brush strokes. We practice making marks with the brushes which are held in an upright position. The action uses the whole arm and not just the hand. The children created some beautiful marks as they got used to the movement and flow of the ink on paper.

We moved on to intruding some of the characters or symbols. This script is a lot less abstract than using the 26 letters of the alphabet. The children really focused and worked hard to create the symbols. Each symbol describes the object or verb often through a series of actions.

Some examples of the words they were working on



Bláth daite ag snamh sa ghao (a colourful blossom that swims in the wind)

A colourful petal that blows in the wind.



Bamboo blowing in the wind.




Scian a mharaíonn gan fuil a dhóirteadh

A knife that kills without drawing blood.

The children seemed to really enjoy what they had achieved during the sessions. Once we had cleared up we headed down to our ‘Studio’. The teacher Eoghan had talked to the children about teamwork and how important it is a skill for them to learn whilst they are in school. Teamwork comes naturally to very few and through practice the understanding and benefits of it can be seen.

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The class divided into 5 groups, this time remaining in the groups as they sit together in the classroom. At this stage we had only 30 mins left to design and build. Each group was given 1 sheet of paper. The children were asked to discuss and sketch out what they were going to build. The emphasis was on the discussion between the children. Each child need to feel that they had shared their idea and the group would choose which they liked or take ideas from the different suggestions and build something together as a team.

The discussions went really well and Eoghan and I carefully monitored the groups to ensure that all of the children felt heard and their ideas shared. The discussions were interesting and as the children talked they saw their ideas grow and the designs take shape. We did not start to build and decided to leave the building until the next time.

One group gave us a little feedback as to what we did in this weeks sessions.

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