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I am a Forest Artist

What a lovely morning spent in the crisp fresh air, the smell of pine and sound of birds creating a calm and peaceful atmosphere for our session.

We started by reading the book ‘Anywhere Artist’ by Nikki Slade Robinson and explored what being an anywhere artist means. The children engaged with the ideas in the story and how by simply noticing the world around you, you don’t need paints or paper, just your imaginations to create art.

The children started their Mini Nature Artist journey by becoming Forest Artists today, exploring a range of different natural materials foraged from local woodland and forests. We explored the different items which included sticks, stones, different types of pinecones, reindeer moss and different pine and cedar. We explored each material in more depth, looking at patterns, shapes, textures, and smells and used a variety of adjectives to help describe what they were noticing and experiencing.

This is when the true magic started to happen, as the children explored their imaginations came in to play and they engaged in playful chatter about how the pine looked like hair, sticks looked like the legs of a spider and one particularly interesting stick looked like a gingerbread man!

One child ventured off with clear intent, using items to create a face, another child joined bringing along their own contribution and between them the art evolved into a reindeer. More children joined in, bringing their own ideas, engaging in conversations about their materials and ideas, showing incredible teamwork. They spent time observing the examples of land art on offer and the art evolved again into a fish, using pebbles as scales and sticks for the jaw.

Another child viewed the materials in different way, keen to join pieces together to create a gingerbread man. This provided an intriguing opportunity to explore the materials from a different perspective, how can we possibly join them together without glue? Discussing and exploring different ideas resulted in stripping the cedar revealing the thin twig which can be bent and manipulated like string to tie the pieces together. What an exciting discovery!

Maths was a common theme throughout the session too, with the exploration of shape and space, counting out eight sticks to represent spider’s legs and lining up stones in a spiral shape to make a snail. Children were counting the ‘treasures’ which then sparked an imaginary journey to hunt for treasure, each time counting out their finds and lining them up in a very specific sequence.

Portraits were made, using wood slices as eyes, pebble as a nose, pine as a body and some very volumized hair, sticks as arms and pinecones as feet. Once child spent the session exploring the texture and properties of a variety of pebbles, challenging himself with different configurations to stack them up.

So much learning and imagination within a short session, the children asking to explore even after the session was finished. We discussed how we would add clay to the materials in the next session to create their very own forest sculptures which sparked lots of excitement and sharing of ideas, so watch this space for more to come!

Back to observations.

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