Artist: Helen Barry
Teacher: Eoghan O’Neill
Ranga Dó: 30 paiste
Spring was out in all her glory for our trip to Airfield, a working farm in the urban jungle. The air was light, crisp and filled with children’s smiles. The beautiful spring morning caused the children to spontaneously burst into song. The background effect is the sounds of a milking parlour as the children watched on.
Once the animals many of which were new born had been observed and their sent inhaled the children headed to far end of Airfield. This area offered a little protection from the wind but allowed us a space for building whilst soaking up the sunshine. We divided the class into the same 5 groups of the previous week. I had brought with me bamboo, willow, wire, fabric, wool and twine. The task was to build a structure or den of their choice. Little instruction was required and the children picked up their supplies and identified an area where their group would create. The only stipulation was that no two builds were to look the same. Also no growing plants or branches were to be picked, they could use various trees and pre-existing structures within their own build. The adults and I moved through each of the groups assisting and from time to time suggesting what would add more stability to their builds.
There was so much discussion about what and how they could build. At times the children and I forgot to speak Irish! Their ideas flowed fast and they eagerly compromised their plans to bring in the ideas of others. There were some quiet interesting approaches used and lots of things got figured out. I was surprised at how long the builds kept their attention. I didn’t give the children the fabric until well into the session. The sunlight offered some gorgeous opportunities to play with light and shadows on the fabric. The work looked really beautiful and the energy and dynamic of the group was positive and very productive. If not for the approaching school bell I think the children would have stayed for a few more hours. A bonfire and marshmallows would have been just perfect to accompany the wonderful smiles on the children’s faces and mud plastered uniforms!