Green Town Group – Wearable Art, Wood & Willow
Since my last post on progress within my Green Town Group residency, I have run a wearable art session with families at the MK Gallery called Collaborate: Becoming An Animal (inspired by the book Becoming Animal by David Abram), and the first two sessions for St Thomas Aquinas School, Bletchley at Howe Park Wood.
Families joining us for the Collaborate session at the gallery, were asked to create something to wear based on an animal that lives or might live in Milton Keynes. Together we made winds, tails, feet, whiskers, masks and head dresses. I am running further Collaborate sessions at the gallery within each school holiday this year, so keep an eye on their website for details and book in to join us.
My first session with the Year 2 children from St Thomas Aquinas school was planned to provide them with ways of exploring, noticing, collecting, recording and making. We were using our senses and different media to come to know the wood and its inhabitants more fully.
The children used drawing, printing, and writing to record what found, heard and smelt. They chose images of site-specific artwork made by other artists, and explored how they might have made them, before working in groups to create their own simple artwork from found materials.
Our second session was yesterday, a beautifully sunny Spring day, with birds singing and bluebells carpeting the more open areas of the wood. We talked about the role of coppicing in managing the wood and increasing biodiversity, and the children used a willow framework with other organic materials to create more complex sculptures of animal and plant-life which benefits from this kind of management (see here for more photos of the children at work).
Within both sessions Project-Assistant and sound/spoken word artist Alice Boland-Rhodes led the children in exploring the sounds of the wood, using their own voices. I’ll add a little taster to a future post, the effect of the words and sounds shared together and in sequence by the group was lovely, and echoed the richness of the soundscape around us all day as we worked.