After last week's foraging trip, today's session focussed on working with the things that we had found. Morwenna set up a darkroom in the stationary cupboard. After various failed attempts at getting things working, we realised that actually having a darkroom is very simple – more simple that even we realised! You need:
- a dark room (we blocked off the light coming under the door with some black cloth)
- some basic chemistry (we bought ours from Stills on Cockburn Street)
- a torch
- a red light (or a torch inside a red capsule)
- close access to running water (doesn't have to be in the same room)
- photographic paper
You DON'T need an enlarger, a power supply or any fancy gadgets. It's cheap, easy, and DIY. Every school stationary cupboard should have one!
Morwenna worked with two pupils at a time in the darkroom making photograms (photograms are made by placing objects directly on photographic paper – you get instant magical results.)
Back in the classroom, I worked with the pupils on sorting out, cleaning, arranging and drawing the finds, and then we made cyanotypes in the playground. Cyanotypes are made by using the UV rays from the sun to expose the photograph – again, it's a very simple and hugely satisfying process. We got such beautiful results – they looked like images of ghost objects.
We changed the focus a little bit today and worked with clay for the first time. We gave every pupil several small balls of clay, and various object related challenges. Make 6 tiny objects! Make an elephant! Make a shoe! We brought in a range of unusual found objects to work with as clay tools. The pupils absolutely loved working with the clay – I think they enjoyed the tactility and the directness of working with a material like clay. There was a busy buzz in the room, and today was probably the quietest it's ever been in the classroom!
The other exciting thing that happened today is that we decided upon the title of our exhibition! It will be called THE SALTY CAT WALKS THE SHINY HOUSE. We decided this by playing the Surrealist game of 'Exquisite Corpse' - I think the title is absolutely brilliant – I'm really pleased with it.