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.
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.
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`.
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:
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!
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!
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.