LANDMARKS: NATURE, ART, SCHOOLS

Week 12 -18 New Participants, St. Finian’s National School, 20 New Participants Monastery National School

Total Individual Children Participants: 247

Total Participation of Children: 447 (Some school classes have returned 2-3 times)

“Pamela had the children in the palm of her hand. As soon as we walked into the “studio” there was so much inspiration, so many things catching the eye. The central display was extremely expressive, I thought at first that it might be distracting when Pamela was talking, but she used the pictures very effectively. The children had to search for samples of artist’s work and show them to others. All the activities were simple yet exciting and interesting. She orchestrated the children to develop their work offering suggestions yet encouraging their own creativity. An enjoyable experience for all the children and an inspiring lesson for me as a teacher (St. Finian’s National School Principal) 

A recent article in Heritage Outlook: The Magazine of the Heritage Council of Ireland  (Summer, 2011) called Running Free: The Importance of Children Enjoying the Outdoors” by Isabell Smyth discusses the effects of children’s participation within nature. She stresses the importance of “mucking about,” as an opportunity for children to explore the wonder of the world in which they are part. Mucking about outdoors, is not about built playgrounds, it is rather a free exploration of landscape and nature. The materials of the natural world – the earth, stones, sticks, trees, flowers, and water – that engage a child’s senses also inspire a child’s creativity.  It can be argued that these natural elements are an entry into the world of land artists, the simplicity of observation, collecting, and building are inherent within nature play and art.

Within the Landmarks project, mucking about with mud, creating prints from trees, stones, pine cones and leaves and working with charcoal (gathered from abandoned campfires) layer textures within children’s artwork. Children are encouraged to work instinctively in the ‘rough.’ The importance of engaging a sense of freedom, and working physically with natural materials, brings feeling and sensation to children’s art.

To the right a photo showing a ‘wood cut’ print, which inspired the printmaking from wood, stones, leaves, etc. with children in Landmarks. There is also a photo of the Malone Room, Ardee Library the ‘studio’ for Landmarks.

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LANDMARKS: NATURE, ART, SCHOOLS

Week 3 – 9 Repeat Participants, 1 New Participant

Total Landmarks Participants – 79

Location: Ardee Library, County Louth

Feedback:

“Nature is art. Nature is so creative and colourful,” Ardee Educate Together National School, Teacher (5th Class).

“It was creative, colourful and fun,” Student (5th Class), Ardee Educate Together National School.

Land artists create artworks from natural materials, within a variety of atmospheric conditions, temperatures and terrains. Learning about the methods and ideas of these artists can fuel discussion, critical thinking, and generate new ideas for working with natural materials.

Richard Long (www.richardlong.org) is a walking artist, who uses his feet to create lines of drawing (or paths) across a variety of terrains throughout the world. He also creates cairns, stone circles and lines within the landscape and inside art galleries. These stone arrangements are also accompanied by ‘mudworks’, the mixing of clay and water to create large scale handprints and smearing across interior walls. Long uses photography to document the stones he assembles along his walks, and uses words to create a picture about his travels. He collects words, like he collects stones and clay, that are directly related to the landscape in which he walks. These ‘textworks’ are word pictures; they are direct encounters with the elements, his activity, and his senses. They are also precise statements about his experience. “Day to Day, Camp to Camp, Water to Water, Summit to Summit, Boulder to Boulder, Footpath to Footpath, Rainstorm to Rainstorm, Experience to Experience” (A Eight Day Walk in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland 2007 by Richard Long). 

Richard Long considers his art to be about a person walking down the road making his mark. In essence, Long makes his own map, his own route through territories both personal and elemental. He says, “I use the world as I find it” (Richard Long quoted in Land Art by Michael Lailach) His art offers a compelling influence for children and young people finding their sense of place. He encourages us to make our mark, and create landmarks as we make our way through the world.

This series of mud pictures, inspired by the artwork of Richard Long, were produced by 5th Class students at Ardee Educate Together National School. Two students wrote the following alongside their mud pictures:

“Nature is where my art is”

“Flower, Tree, Mountain”