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.

Rathfarnham ETNS Art Project – Session 5 Artist in residence: Tunde Toth

Our 5th session was a short class on the 12th of January – reconnecting with our project after the Christmas holidays.

We looked at our collections of paper cuttings, origami pieces, paper windows and snowflakes and the children made choices and preferences on which pieces need finishing touches, more colour or more cutting.

They also made new pieces: patterns of little people cut out from folded tracing papers – which is not easy to draw on or cut neatly. The little people are lined up on the blackboard, `​dancing`.

 

Rathfarnham ETNS Art project Session 4 Artist in residence: Tunde Toth

Our 4th session took place on the 5th of December: a very wintry, Christmas-like session, filled with candle light!

With the patience and help of Patricia the class teacher and the support teachers we re-organized the class room to set up different workstations. The children drew simple shapes of stars, Christmas trees, presents etc on regular white paper. These shapes were then filled with drops of hot wax from burning candles – 4 / 5 children working in the same time and then taking turns.

The waxed pieces were dyed with golden yellow fabric dye (cold water dye) and let dry on the drying rack.

To the delight of everyone we had time for a second piece, this was again a simple sheet of paper but without drawing this time, filled lightly with random drops of hot wax. This was dyed a light blue/turquoise color and will be used at a later stage.

The children really enjoyed this process, worked carefully with concentration but it certainly needs planning and supervision!

 

The children worked later on with Patricia in the class room to gently remove the wax drops from the dried pieces and cut out the shapes. They had a striking display on the window, letting light through the wax dots:

Rathfarnham ETNS Art Project 2018 Session 3 Artist in residence: Tunde Toth

On our third session on the 28th of November (2017) we have been looking at contemporary installation art works by other artists – a slideshow of perhaps little challenging but curious and interesting works where the artist uses light / shadow / reflection as a material.

The images show details of installations by Martina Galvin, Felicity Clear, Chris Fraser and from a collaborative participatory project “Silk Gardens” I did at the Bloom Festival in Phoenix Park a number of years ago:

 

The looking and responding session went really well and we found that the children were curious, focused, very responsive and full of great ideas about possible making processes, materials used, scale,`transportation`and installation of works. These conversations introduce a new vocabulary and support the seeing and understanding of contemporary art, works that are site specific, interactive, collaborative and may integrate light, sound or their environment.

For the rest of our session we continued with paper folding and cutting processes, finished the `windows` we started previously and introduced a simple `pattern – cutting` process: we made lines of trees!

Rathfarnham ETNS – artist in residence: Tunde Toth SESSIONS 1 – 2

We started our collaborative project with 2nd class and their teacher Patricia McManus with a couple of short sessions in November 2017.

I have worked with Patricia some years ago during a residency that focused on print making processes, textures, layered collages (collographs) and mark making – so this time we decided to do something very different, working with making processes that are simple, using tools and materials that are easily accessible and already available in schools, introducing and experimenting with techniques that the children may already know. Working this way, challenges and questions will center around the development, discussion and expression of ideas.

We decided to explore the broad theme of light, using a variety of papers, drawing, paper cutting, Origami and paper construction / installation. Processes will include painting with wax and Batik on paper at a later stage. We started with discussions and brainstorming of ideas about light – with a great response from the class!

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From our little mind map of responses we chose windows / sunlight / shadows to work with and started our process with a bit of Origami and Kirigami (paper cutting), to create a simple window.