Our Lady of The Wayside N.S Kilternan

Visual Artist Jane Groves with Ms Martins 1st Class.

Session 12..

Today was our last session, we continued with our weaving adding beading, learning to thread and weave back into things.After tidying up we had a little review, looking at pictures of all the creative ways we’ve looked at things this year and chased about what we thought about the project.

It was very sad to be leaving ms Martins lovely class, they’ve been an absolute pleasure!


Many Thanks for having me and hopefully you will continue to engage with the world in very creative ways!


Our Lady Of The Wayside N.S Kilternan


Visual Artist Jane Groves with Ms Martins 1st class

Session 11 … After all the collaborative work , Ms Martin suggested that the children would like to work individually on a fabric and fibre project, they had told us how much they had enjoyed making the felt and that they loved texture and colour, so we decided to use the last sessions to experiment with weaving. I made some looms from cardboard and wire for everyone and collated a selection of ‘threads’ using a variety of reuse materials such as ‘Avoca’ off cuts , plastic bags, packaging, off cut cardboard etc. We talked about the warp and weft and the use of a shuttle and I explained that weaving could be compacted to create a dense fabric.

We realised that not everyone in the classroom was happy tying Knots, so some people had a little practice first!

simple skills can be overlooked but are really important!

The children helped cut the fabrics and wove them into their looms


Our Lady Of The Wayside N.S Kilternan

Visual Artist Jane Groves with Ms Martins 1st class

session 10…

Its all about Maths!!! … using the willow which we had made into long rods last week and the circle which we had measured around 2 people to guess the size we needed, today we worked together to balance, measure and construct a willow frame, I used words like circumference and diameter and asked the children to measure equal distances, halfs and quarters. Everyone helped to tie the willow together with masking tape.The Children did brilliantly considering this would be difficult for a group of adults to complete, let alone being one of 30 over excited 7 year olds with a wobbly willow frame, I’m so impressed with them.


The class were then split into two rotating groups, one which went outside to the garden to gather a variety of leaves and petals..

and another which began to cover the framework. The children worked in pairs, stretching the sheets of tissue which had been pre soaked in the ‘disgusting’ mixture of water and PVA in diamond shapes.

The children had decided that they had wanted the structure to be decorated with natural materials so when the first group returned from the garden we began to embed the petals and leaves in the paper..

some of the class even got inside the little Den to embed flowers inside

One of the biggest learning outcomes apart from all that architecture, maths and nature was about how to negotiate and collaborate as a team. High Five kids!

Our Lady of The Wayside National School Kilternan

Visual artist Jane Groves with Ms Martins 1st Class

Session 9…

Today we discussed what we might like to create with the willow, we talked about different shapes and ideas and then voted. The children decided that they would like to make a little habitat to stay in the classroom and provide a quiet reading/meditation/Time out space. we talked about the kind of shape and size we intended and the set about investigating the materials which will be willow and wet strength tissue paper. Everyone worked onto a small circle of willow, stretching out a piece of set strength tissue paper which had been soaked in a mixture of P.V.A and water. The children thought it was sticky and ‘disgusting!’ then we used different colours of tissue to create patterns.

we worked in-groups to make large roof rods with the willow placing each rod tip to tail and securing with masking tape, we also measured and constructed the round floor shape which will form the bottom of little ‘den’, watching the class work, measure, collaborate and communicate ideas together in the small space made me notice how much progress they were making as a group, really quiet different from the group I first started with!

I was so engaged with measuring , balancing and juggling the demands of very sticky paper that I sadly didn’t get any pictures of the beginnings of the willow construction, better luck next time!




Our Lady Of The Wayside N.S Kilternan

Visual Artist Jane Groves with ms Martins first class

Session 8….. It was a glorious day today and I’m never one to miss an opportunity to take the children outside.Our session was about exploring lines more before investigating some 3 dimensional shapes.

I had wanted to work on sparking the children’s own initiative and letting them lead the way, while working within defined parameters so I gathered the children into a circle around a  smaller circle of electrical tapes and scissors and after instructing them all to be silent I invited them one by one into the circle to the materials were they could take the tape and ‘draw’ onto the playground. I had intended the exercise to be silent, but as I watched the class merrily chatting, mirroring each others lines or creating patterns together I thought it was far nicer that way.

Some children saw the exercise as a way of creating a transport system across the playground. others created patterns and abstract shapes, some worked together and some alone.We found our shadows and taped around them and gradually a strange mandala began to emerge from our starting point it was important that everyone was included.


After clearing the playground we had time to investigate a new material….

I showed the children the willow which I had bought along and  after talking about how and where it grew, we experimented making circles. Using our measuring skills, the kids then worked in groups to turn the circles into spheres utilising balance, concentration, measurement judgments and teamwork. I think it was a big adjustment from working very freely to then being asked to be quiet methodical, but eventually they rose to the challenge which is pretty impressive considering it was quiet tricky for small hands..well done first class!




Our Lady of The wayside N.S Kilternan

Visual Artist Jane Groves with Ms Martins first Class

session 7….  Ms Martin and myself decided that today the children would love to work individually so we decided to introduce them to felt making. The children gathered round and I told them a story about felt (early man with sweaty feet and Mongolian horsemen with friction bums!) and explained the basic recipe for turning unspun wool into such a useful and robust material, the key ingredients being heat, water and friction. I had bought in some semi felted sheets to work on as it is sometimes difficult for small children to keep up the friction to bind large amounts of fibres together and we drew on our previous weeks of nature imagery as inspiration

The children selected the coloured fibres they were attracted to and the sheets were layered with fine wool, I described them as a network of cobwebs.pictures were created on sheets of bubble wrap sprayed with warm soapy water and then ‘put to bed’ inside the bubblewrap and sprayed again so that the children could easily rub their knuckles or the rollers I had had bought with me to help small hands.we played music as they worked.

Its  hard work this felt making, so Id bought in some Sushi mats with me to break up the ways of creating friction. The children worked really well and when they’d run out of elbow grease dunked their felt into hot water to ‘shock it’ ( many thanks to Aideen!) the water and soap were squeezed out

It was great to see the children learn a new methodology and to see them taking such pride in what they had created.

Our Lady Of the wayside N.S Kilternan

Visual Artist Jane Groves with Ms Martins first class

session 6…

Today I explained to the class, I was always experimenting!and so we started the session experimenting with mono prints whereby a piece of glass or in this case individual piece of acetate is inked up and then a piece of paper is lain on top to be drawn on top acting a little like carbon paper. we discovered quiet quickly that we needed to blot away the first layer of ink as initially the results were ‘quiet a mixed bag’ ! I think its useful when things don’t work out straight away as its a brilliant way to connect back to the process and for the children to be fully immersed into what works and why. Im always open with classes that Im engaging in play just like them.

For the second part of the session we concentrated on the panels the class had made together. we gave each of the tables a season  and they decided which colours would describe that best. it was challenging for the kids to share all the jobs, like rolling the paint , using the dry rollers on top and then pulling the paper away for the big reveal but they worked brilliantly and there was great excitement at the results










Our Lady Of the Wayside National school

Visual Artist Jane Groves with Ms Martins First class

Session 5…. After gathering inspiration from outside and our session last week concentrating on mark making, today was a perfect time to work more on drawing and show the children how they could create prints using foam board. I had bought in some interesting natural inspiration from our local habitat together with what the children had collected and some botanical images and demonstrated how the children could use some of the marks we had previously discussed to build up texture. we chose a feather and I lightly drew on the foam board to plan out my design and then etched deeper with my pencil to create a deep groove which would resist the printing ink. The class already had a good knowledge of colour mixing but we refreshed our  memories and the children mixed some colours together for us all to use. I instructed the children that the printing ink had to be rolled out until in made a sound like a sizzling sausage and organised the class room into wet and dry areas.

The children made lovely drawings ready to print..

Then inked up their prints.

When the children had finished their small prints, each table set to work adding to a larger piece of foam (reused insulation boards) which will be printed next week. It helped to keep everyone in the classroom happy and engaged while each person took a turn inking up their plate on the printing table.

so excited to see how these turn out!

What impressed me so much today was how well the class worked, following instructions, being patient and working as a team, what a brilliant class!

Our Lady Of The Wayside National School Kilternan

Visual Artist Jane Groves with Ms Martins first Class

session 4… My objective today was to investigate mark making. The session was split into 2 parts both using music as the inspiration allowing the children to be free to express them selves.

In the first part of the session I intended to play a variety of music which loosely related to Habitat, I had chosen pieces from kila, relating to sea, a piece entitled ‘mountains’ another entitled ‘river’ and some of vivaldis 4 seasons etc. I had given the children chalks and sugar paper after a conversation about different marks  like dashes, dots, swirls, undulating lines, angular lines, rapid lines, slow lines etc. I then asked the children to close their eyes and make marks to the music. After each piece the children opened their eyes and described the feelings the music evoked and the corresponding marks made.we discussed what kind of habitat each piece of music described.




for the second part of todays session, we moved into the hall, where I described that our bodys rather than our pencils would be making the marks. using the music ‘Gradual Motion’ by Peter Jones we used a number of exercises which began with the children learning to use eye contact as a signifier to change place in a circle and then counting beats and changing shape.We experimented with ‘river’ shapes jagged ‘mountain’ shapes etc. We worked in pairs mirroring each other and using the whole space of the hall without touching anyone else.At the end of movement session we created a ‘dance’ where a partnered pair led two mirrored lines including the whole class. It was absolutely beautiful to watch every single child work together as a team and create such fluid and engaging moves!




999dd7ad-38b0-42f9-be5b-3ce34ff9242dBack in the classroom  we discussed  how we felt and what we had learned

‘we were listening to our art not just the music’

‘my body was the pencil’

‘I liked the way we danced’

‘I just , I just wasn’t expecting That!’

Our Lady of The Wayside National School.

Visual Artist Jane Groves with Ms Martins first class

Session 3… Today was a beautiful bright autumn day and so we grasped the chance to take inspiration from outside, examining both our own immediate habitat, our sense of space and to take a close look at nature,

Gathering in a circle I asked the children to close their eyes and by mindful. We focused on our breath and after scanning our bodies from our feet up to our heads, we concentrated on our senses, what could we hear? birds? cars? from what direction?, what could we smell? the fresh air? the leaves?. what could we feel? the direction of the wind? the sun on our skin? Could we taste anything? I asked the children if they knew which way was north and which way was south, Where were the mountains, the sea, and the motorway? which way did the children walk to school?

The children could smell foxes and taste bubblegum, their ears were so sharp they could hear the cars off towards Dublin and even the cows in the fields!


After strolling into the church garden the children separated into 3 groups which were rotated

The first group were guided into a line, each holding the person in front of them with one hand and a small mirror up to their eyes above their nose with the other. The intention had been to look not only at the habitat at eye level but that within the trees above. The children were probably more interested in the disorienting effect of the mirror and used  words like spooky , magical and weird as well as a few gasps at the beauty of the branches and sky.


The second group were invited to go on a nature treasure hunt using words in an egg box, ‘treasure’ ‘smooth’ ‘spikey’ ‘seed’ ‘coniferous’ etc. The class had lots of fun searching for different textures.


Group 3 were given a ‘ nature palette ‘ and were looking for different inspiring colours in the garden.I encouraged the children to look at the subtlety of colour, that yellow can gradually turn to green and then blend into brown.


Taking our inspiration inside we sat down in the sunny classroom to record what we had discovered and made some beautiful drawings.


The children had been high spirited but returning to the class they were calm and relaxed, so glad we got a chance to take the classroom outside!