Being Drawn into Art and Nature

April 26, 2011

LANDMARKS: NATURE, ART, SCHOOLS

Week 10 – 25 New Participants

Total Individual Children Participating: 191

Total Participation Rate: 391 (Some school classes have returned 2-3 times)

“The kids really enjoyed the day. The presentation was excellent and language used was very child friendly, which made it very easy for the children to access what can be difficult concepts for even adults to grasp. Very enjoyable” Collon National School, Teacher (3rd Class)

The website Nature-Art-Education (www.naturearteducation.org) is a collection of resources for artists interested in working with natural materials, landscape and atmospheric conditions. The website has emerged from the projects and writings of artists, academics, philosophers, and community activists interested in arts based environmental education. The website was developed by artists based in Aalto University, School of Art and Design, Helsinki.

One of the articles included in this website is called  “An Artist’s Way of Knowing” by Peter London. Peter London has written a book called Drawing Closer to Nature, which examines how nature can be a source of artistic practice, and a means of re-making our personal and collective experiences. He believes it is vital that everyone has primary encounters with nature, in order to cultivate enhanced experiences of intuition. Intuition is an artist’s way of knowing, and it is essential to making art that evokes personal experience.

Experimenting with natural materials is an opportunity for children to be alone with themselves amidst classroom activity. This time apart from structured learning can offer a short pause in which a child can rejuvenate focus. The advantage of a nature based classroom environment is to signal the necessary of inward retreat. A child can be stimulated by the re-making of a classroom, through collections of natural objects, writings, sculptures, photographs and indoor shelters or dens which engage the senses and offer a place for reflection.

The idea of a classroom also being an art studio suggests the importance of process and discovery within art making. The preciousness of a studio is to “inhabit a tiny microclimate, a wee ecosystem in which I am the main determinant.” (Peter London).

The Landmarks studio, located within the Ardee Library, is an opportunity for children to develop their own insight, perspective and to make a small habitat for themselves. A studio allows children to create a flow of artworks that carry their own insights and ways of being into the world. Artists “see the possibility of the new,” art is an activity of making and for children this activity can “act out in the manifest world, their singular experiences, intuitions, and reveries” (Peter London).

The photos were taken from a Landmarks workshop with Collon National School 3rd Class students.




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