I am working at St Davids RC Primary School with 2 classes: a p4/5 class and a p5 class. I am working with Morwenna Kearsley, a photographer and filmmaker. Our project is about objects and collections. What objects are special to us, precious to us? Why? Why do we collect objects? What are the stories that connect us to things? In our intro session in December, we asked the pupils what they collected and also how many things they thought there had to be in order for it to be defined as a 'collection'. Was one object a collection? Two? Three? We brought in some of our own collections to show the pupils. Belly button hair, sushi fish, hands, eyeballs, stones and eggs.
Our first workshop focused on objects and drawing. We brought in lots and lots of objects. We played some memory / drawing games to warm up, before each choosing an object and placing it in silence on a long roll of white paper. We're going to be thinking a lot about arrangement and composition in the work that we do this term – as a foundation for making all kinds of art. After we had arranged the objects, we turned off the lights and everyone had a torch to make patterns and shapes with the shadows created. The pupils got into small groups and made shadow photographs and afterwards we drew the shapes that the shadows had created on the white paper. Morwenna brought her film camera in and the pupils took it in turns to film what was going on (we're going to be making a film this term.) Morwenna also brought in a Hasselblad camera and the pupils made photographs of each other. We also made an 'invention drawing' today.
Our warm up today was an exquisite corpse object drawing! Exquisite Corpse is a game invented by the Surrealists, and we are looking at some Surrealist artists and photographers this term. We then focussed more on our work about arrangement and composition. I brought in lots of objects and we arranged them as a class in different ways; by size, by colour wheel, by shape. Everyone then worked individually on their own arrangements/compositions. Morwenna gave a wee session in 'how to get the most out of your I pad camera', and everyone photographed what they had made in different ways. We got some really amazing photographs and also some animations!
Today we started to think about the sculptural and performative possibilities of objects. We warmed up with a couple of performative object games focusing on imagination, invention and transformation: super fun! We then gave everyone a strip of foil and a word (ie: FOLD, SCRUNCH, TWIST, RIP, TEAR, ROLL) – the challenge was to transform their foil by using only that instruction. It was incredible to see what everyone made. Everyone then photographed their creations, thinking about how to make a really dramatic photograph. We then made vacuum pack sculptures by arranging objects inside vacuum pack bags and closing them with a hoover. To date this has probably been the most popular activity! We photographed the sculptures in the playground.
Today's focus was on foraging and finding our own collections. We went on (quite a long!) walk from school to Silverknowes Beach. It was cold and windy but bright and sunny. Everyone had bags and instructions of what to look for. . .
find something blue/pink/yellow/green
find something round/spiky/straight/long
find something strange
find something very small
find 5 different shells
find 5 different leaves
find a piece of seaweed
find 5 things that are the same colour
find 5 different textures
find 5 different shaped things
find something rough and something smooth
find something that fits in your hand
find something bigger than your hand
find 5 different patterns
We arranged our favourite finds in a long line down the beach, and then took our new collections back to school to use next week!