St. Brigid’s GNS, Cabinteely; Artist: Tunde Toth, Teacher: Laragh McFeely, 3rd class – Session 8

Our 8th session on the 15th of February started with a discussion, responding to what we have done so far and recalling all the different ways we created maps and pictures of spaces, imaginary and real. We also revisited our first mind map about place to see the connections between brainstorming ideas and art processes.

The children were asked to look at a selection of their drawings with the aim of creating a textured collage version of one previous work: choosing between the space/universe drawing, the imaginary place map or the journey map on the long scroll from last week. A full image or a smaller segment of the selected work was chosen to be an inspiration and a guide to the collages – made using a wide range of textured materials, pieces of fabrics, threads, strings, textured wall papers, tissue- and corrugated papers, cotton wool, soft foam shapes etc. These collages will be used as plates for a Collograph print making process at the following session.

St. Brigid’s GNS, Cabinteely; Artist: Tunde Toth; Teacher: Laragh McFeely, 3rd class – Session 7

Session 7 took place on the 8th of February when we looked at again, a different way to explore and create MAPS.

The children drew maps of their journeys from home to school, on long, narrow strips of papers (till rolls). The shape of the paper presents a challenge of course, as everyone has to figure out their own way to represent roundabouts, changing directions and the turns and twists of their journey. There have been some unusual and very clever solutions in the class!

Mapping of the visual elements of these routes was followed by the mapping of sounds, significant colours and smells – turning the activity into a sensory investigation of everyday locations and travels.

Ms McFeely had the long maps perfectly displayed – suspended from the beams in the high-ceiling classroom.

 

St. Brigid’s GNS, Cabinteely; Artist in residence: Tunde Toth; Teacher: Laragh McFeely; 3rd class – Session 5

Session 5

25th January 2019

As I arrived to the class room, I was very happy to see that last week’s beautiful and very imaginative space drawings have been already given attention and displayed! Next to the colourful soft pastel drawings is now also a new surface set up: a board for creating constellations – real or imaginary.

We had a lot of talk about stars, shapes and constellations at this session and had great fun looking at them and creating them in many different ways: using threads and drawing pins on the board, pencils and white pastels to draw them and (re)creating them from… marshmallows!! (It wasn’t easy to resist eating them too). The children also used movement and their own bodies to create imaginary constellations: they worked in small groups, secretly as much as possible to come up with ideas, then they “acted out” and constructed their constellations in the middle of the class room floor. We all had to try to guess what the constellation was: we had a (moving!) boat, an eye, a top hat and a clock!

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Residency at St.Brigid’s GNS, Cabinteely, Artist: Tunde Toth; Teacher: Laragh McFeely; 3rd class – Session 3

Our third session took place on the 7th of December.

The children went for a walk with Ms McFeely to the school garden before our session, on one of those rare sunny and dry days  – and collected plenty of nature materials to fill a large table in the class room.

They worked in 4 groups (5/6 girls in a group) to create an indoor Land Art piece in the class room – inspired by ‘Winter’, using the collected material on large white sheets of paper. The collaborative process naturally presented challenges for the groups as agreement had to be reached about ideas, design, selection of materials and construction of the works. Some PVA glue was used to secure the position of some of the material but most pieces were loosely placed on the paper.

Ownership and the “life time” of the pieces were discussed and after the initial interest in taking the works home, everyone realized that these are one of those ephemeral pieces that will be photographed and documented throughout the process but they wont last and will be later discarded.

 

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Residency at St. Brigid`s GNS, Cabinteely, Artist: Tunde Toth Teacher: Laragh McFeely – Session 1 – 2

St Brigid`s GNS (Cabinteely) — 3rd class

SESSION 1 — 20 November 2018

SESSION 2 — 27 November 2018

We started our residency with two short and connecting sessions in November – so I decided to reflect on these two introductory and discussion based sessions in one post.

Laragh, the class teacher and I started to plan the beginning of our project at the planning evening (Blackrock Education Centre), trying to discuss aspects of our chosen theme PLACE, considering various approaches and creative processes we could bring to the class. We both are keen to create a residency that is collaborative, interactive and participatory as much as possible in a school environment. I`m interested in process led, experimental working methods where the children will be encouraged to develop and express individual ideas, opinions as well as working together with others.

No better way to start this than a session of brain storming and mind mapping! The children were very responsive and there was no shortage of ideas and connections when discussing PLACE. After the general brain storm we tried to break down the responses and associations into 4 groups: nature, buildings, imaginary places and places from memories. The children were asked to write further ideas and responses to these words and make little drawings for each.

 

Laragh was telling me about the school garden at our initial meeting. Considering the significance of the garden in the school`s life and the school`s location next to Cabinteely Park, we knew that nature-places and the natural environment will probably be important when discussing place and connections with places. we were planning a walk in the garden or the park as part of our session but weather conditions made this impossible. Laragh took out the class for a walk later, between two sessions. The children collected natural materials from the grounds – a large pile of leaves, barks, nuts, flowers, grasses etc.

I suggested a Looking and Responding session for the class, exploring exciting, fun and accessible examples of Land Art. We looked at contemporary works and classic Land Art examples, many from Andy Goldsworthy, and discussed ephemeral pieces that won`t last, the concept of site specific works and various materials that artists use.

Rathfarnham ETNS 2nd class – Artist: Tunde Toth, Teacher: Patricia McManus EXHIBITION at the school

The final exhibition took place on the 13th of March, just after the school hours. Patricia, the class teacher organized the whole event with invitations sent to parents and school community, which resulted in a great turn up! She also rearranged the class room to make as much space as possible for exhibits, visitors and the artists – who were prepared to talk about their works, making processes and experiences. I contributed to the installation of the show but the children were actively involved throughout the set up and Patricia made sure they created a very impressive installation! I stayed in the background, observing, listening to the little conversations detailing process and making and took photographs!

Rathfarnham ETNS 2nd class – Artist: Tunde Toth, Teacher: Patricia McManus, Session 10

Our 10th and final session before the children`s exhibition took place in the school on the 26th of February. As we were approaching the end of the residency, I wanted to make sure that we spend some time to revisit and reflect on the project, trying to recall all that happened during the last few months.

After recalling and discussing creative processes, we focused on unfinished works that were waiting in the children`s folders: paper cuttings and dyed papers which gave a great opportunity to revisit techniques of paper folding, pattern drawing and cutting.

We also gave a little more attention to the long wall paper collage piece that the children started at the Project Room of the Lexicon the week before, responding to the exhibition they visited. Taking the collaborative process yet a step further, we assigned the children to a spot by the collage (randomly) and they were asked to add drawings to the piece in a way that they create / recreate / join / re-join images that are already there. I felt that, this time, the process is more fun and less disruptive for the children, somehow they got the idea that they can work on or contribute to other`s works in a positive way. This time nobody was upset about his or her collage being altered by others!

The collection of the paper works in the folders have been tidied up and we talked about the possibility of an exhibition in the class room. This is the first time we mentioned it – and everyone got pretty excited about it! Patricia discussed it with the school and the date of the 13th of March was set for the exhibition.

 

Rathfarnham ETNS 2nd class – Artist: Tunde Toth, Teacher: Patricia McManus Session 9

On the 20th of February we had a gallery visit (always a highlight of a school based art project!): we went to see “Double Vision” – an exhibition by sisters Diana and Shirley Copperwhite at the Municipial Gallery in DRL Lexicon.  It was a great and very busy outing, the children had fun visiting the Lexicon and were interested and responsive in the gallery space. We walked through the exhibition and looked at patterns, shapes, layers, textures, materials – and tried to find more and more shapes wherever we could!

We had the Project Room set up for a workshop for the class where they participated in a collaborative making process again: creating collages on a long sheet of wall paper using randomly cut shapes of coloured paper. There was one rule: every little piece of paper had to be used, no cut-offs were to left over.

 

Rathfarnham ETNS 2nd class – Artist: Tunde Toth; Teacher: Patricia McManus Sessions 7 and 8

I decided to combine these two sessions here because this collaborative process took two days to complete

Our 7th session took place over nearly three hours on the 6th of February.

Following a number of previous discussions with Patricia, we decided to introduce collaborative working processes encouraging the children to try to work together and not only alongside each other. The process included the planning of images and collaborative decision making on large scale drawings. The class was divided for 8 groups, so we had 3 or 4 children in each group only, making it all a little easier perhaps. The large scale drawing responded to the theme of  “light in nature”, linking the work to the original broad theme of “light”.

The process proved to be difficult and challenging for many children in the class, they had to spend time to understand that making a picture together, collaboratively doesn`t mean that they work alone using a separate section of the large drawing paper. Once finished, each picture was presented to the class by one member of the group and discussed by the other children.

We didn`t mark group numbers or names on the drawings as we wanted to take this process further to explore ownership and authorship of collaborative works. The pictures were collected and given to a different group to draw large, simple shapes on the back of the paper. These shapes were then cut out without considering or checking the drawing on the other side. Some children felt that this was clearly destroying their previous work and they found it difficult to accept that their ownership of the work is so profoundly questioned. I was hoping to hold onto the fun elements of the process, trying to focus on funny and unexpected outcomes and make sure that it is a good experience for all involved. We regularly discussed what we are doing and frequently reflected on the possible answers that came up when we asked “Who made this picture?”, “Who created this funny image cut in half?” etc.

The 8th session on the 13th of February continued this process by taking the cut-up pieces and reassembling them into a random narrative, using simple story making / story telling in a way you would use the Story Cubes. The groups were rearranged for this again, so each piece of drawing has been now handled and changed by a number of hands along the way. This story making proved also difficult for many children in the class as they had to agree on a story line as much as possible and they were now working in larger groups.

It will be interesting to hear feedback from Patricia now, a couple of months later, to see if this creative process has benefited group dynamics, group work, connections in the class.

Rathfarnham ETNS Project – artist in residence Tunde Toth – SESSION 6

Our 6th session took place on the 23rd of January in the school.

We introduced another another process connected to Batik: using hot wax from burning tea-lights to create images and patterns on paper. There was some silence in the class room!

We set up a space for each child with the burning tea-light, a small paint brush and paper and started a slow drawing process with the melted wax. As the paintbrush and the wax has cooled down relatively quickly, everyone needed all their patience to create their pictures.

The pieces were then painted all over with fabric dyes. A separate, un-waxed sheet of paper was also painted in a pattern or design, decided or chosen by the children.