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 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.

Ballinteer ETNS – Session 4 – Artist: Tunde Toth

30 January 2017

Assistant Artist: Kim Jenkinson

Our fourth session in the school was a bit more structured and focused than the previous ones – this was necessary for this part of the process: finishing the collagraph plates, checking every piece while completing the shapes/drawings and filling remaining spaces.

This was followed my mark making: adding extra texture, decorative markings to the soft foamy shapes with pencils. This will create additional detail in the final prints…

The plates are completed beautifully with plenty of patience from such young artists!!! Ready for a PRINTING SESSION!

Ballinteer ETNS – Session 3 – Artist: Tunde Toth

23 January 2017

Assistant Arts Practitioner: Kim Jenkinson

Our third session started with a little more `looking back`and further discussing shapes. This was a great introduction to the process of developing collagraph plates for our printing sessions: children made simple drawings (that incorporated basic shapes) on mounting board cards. The large shapes/drawings were then filled with little shapes  of pre-cut soft foam in a mosaic style: the small pieces needed to be firmly glued onto the board with little gaps in between and without any overlapping… many instructions to keep in mind! There was also a bit of a difficulty with having to cover the lines of the drawing here and there but everyone had a great start and the colourful images started to emerge by the end of the class!


I would like to include here a few photographs of the impressive class room displays of the previous drawings (already “exhibited”!!) and some of the detailed and very impressive drawings in the project diaries.




St Mary`s NS Sandyford – Session 7 – Artist: Tunde Toth

St Mary`s NS Sandyford – SESSION 7

5 April 2016

Final stages of Batik processes always involve the removal of wax from dried pieces. To do this in the class room (at least to introduce it) we chose to do a bit of ironing – ironing out of melted wax from paper based batiks, so we truly kept up with the “Danger Art” as one of the children called it earlier in the year!

Ironing is also a reason for not having many images to show from this session – we were all so busy that there was little chance for documentation.

While the children were taking turns with the ironing we also started to work on plans and ideas for a three dimensional, sculptural work: small installations, constructions of the places/locations identified and explored earlier. I wanted to make sure that we try to approach this with a bit of abstraction and minimalism, so decided to limit the choice of materials to 3. This definitely doesn`t make it easier and we went through a lot of discussions and explaining and describing etc. But everyone had a plan, an idea developed and a material`s list at the end! Thanks again to Ms Broderick for her fantastic support and help, she assisted the children with these plans after the session, talked through them all and made sure that everyone in the class has the experience of the ironing in the same time…!

Really looking forward to the construction phase!

St Mary`s NS Sandyford – Session 6 – Artist: Tunde Toth

St Mary`s NS Sandyford – SESSION 6

1 March 2016

This week`s session was shorter and directly followed on the works of the previous work: we had many waxed pieces to dye! Using fiber reactive cold water dyes again, the children painted all the waxed designs and pictures they prepared last week. “Re-visiting” processes and materials is always interesting and reassuring.

A very enjoyable and rewarding process – resulting in myriads of colour shades and mixes!

Truly beautiful work by everyone!

St Mary`s NS – Sandyford- Session 5 – Artist: Tunde Toth

St Mary`s NS Sandyford – SESSION 5

23 February 2016

Our 5th session was a very busy one in the class room: we continued using hot wax for batik processes, but we also introduced a professional wax heater and wax application techniques.

This equipment certainly needs a careful, safe set up in a class room and a structured way to include it in a school session involving a full class. We tried to keep everyone busy, focused and occupied with various activities: drawing places and locations of selected memories, preparing sketches for the batik piece and working on write ups of previous sessions.

Dividing the class this way we were able to work with 4 children at a time from the hot wax pot and keep the process safe and rewarding.

The children prepared two batik pieces with a mixture of pure beeswax and paraffin wax: one referencing the chosen location/place/space, the other a multiple line drawing of simple geometric shapes. The geometric shapes were carved/scratched with large masonry nails afterwards, preparing them for a crackled, textured batik finish.

I also would like to include a few pictures of the very impressive, colourful and creative displays of previous works on the corridor, just outside of the classroom. This is a small school building where one needs to be very inventive to find an extra space for anything, including art works!!

St. Mary`s NS, Sandyford,Session 4 – Artist: Tunde Toth

St. Mary`s NS, Sandyford, SESSION 4

1 February 2016

Following from processes of the last session – oil pastel drawings painted over with cold water fabric dyes – we started on a basic wax and dye technique using burning candles!

NB. You need to be obviously very careful, in fact everyone has to be, so maybe this is not one for a very lively or very large class, unless you can do it outdoors..

NB. One also has to consider the smoke alarms as Maria pointed it out to me even before we started; I was grateful for this as I did not think the alarms might go off…

We had 4 long candles burning in the same time and we had a space arranged and allocated at the front of the class room and children were called up for their turn: dropping hot, melted wax onto papers.

The children prepared 2 drawings for this process: one of simple shapes and another of a little more detailed image. Taking this process further, we started the application of hot wax with paint brushes, using a wax heater (specialized for Batik processes). The children were still working on papers, having choices of various sizes and colours

All waxed paper pieces were then painted over with the cold water dyes and left on the drying racks to dry over the next day or two. It`s an exciting waiting time to see how they turn out; the drying process often has an unpredictable element.

I think this session was certainly the most enjoyable for everyone so far – working with burning candles and hot wax in the class room is not an everyday occurrence!

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St. Mary`s NS, Sandyford,Session 3 – Artist: Tunde Toth

St. Mary`s NS, Sandyford, SESSION 3

19 January 2016

Our third session on the 19th of January was much more colourful than the previous ones: we took the exploration of memories further with oil pastel drawings.

The children were asked to try to choose and focus on one particular memory – a place, a holiday, a family event – and try to `find` and the select visual elements of this memory.

Was there an important colour? (or anything else for our senses – smell or sound?) Did something change or transform in that memory/story? How important is this change/transformation? How can we signify and show this in our drawing? Can we leave out detail that doesn`t seem to be so important – would the memory be represented still? – all these questions were raised and discussed… and decided that it is all rather difficult…

Still, everyone tried and we all had fun and the children made beautiful and striking pictures. We also used fabric dyes that I prepared and mixed beforehand to paint over the oil pastel works: this process introduces the basic technique of Batik, where wax is used as a resist on cloth.

St. Mary`s NS, Sandyford,Sessions 1 and 2 – Artist: Tunde Toth

Sessions 1 and 2 at St Mary`s NS, 4th class, Sandyford

7th December 2015 and 13th January 2016

I have decided to join these two sessions in this first post about our primary school residency project – both sessions were more about introductions, discussions, planning…etc, great conversations with a very responsive and interested class!!

I was happy to meet the 26 enthusiastic children in the 4th class and happy to see what an international and multicultural class it is!! For the first time, my name is not the most unusual one! I was also looking forward to working together with Ms Maria Broderick, the class teacher who has a deep interest and a great level of experience in artistic processes, forms of creative expression.

Multicultural backgrounds, different languages and diverse heritage – these all offer a rich source for the explorations during our project: the broad theme is MEMORIES, Collective and Personal RECOLLECTIONS, the process of REMEMBERING – so we could not have arranged better.

We are planning to focus on memories as stories to tell, memories of people, space, sound and colours – using processes of drawings, Batik, paper/fabric constructions and installations.

Writings, drawings and collections of `memory-stories` have started in the project diaries this week.I can see how the diaries will be filled quite soon…