I've been working at Prenton High School for Girls over the last few years. As part of my role there I have started working with the girls on projects based around my work as well as running art clubs for them.
I showed the girls images of my work and demonstrated how to create images based on my cell pieces using pencil, pen and watercolour techniques. The girls have created a A5 artwork each inspired by my work for home learning and are now adding them to artist pages about my work as well as adding the finishing touches to their final piece pages.
I was asked to develop a project for a yr10 class based on my coral colony work. My aim was to develop their paper manipulating skills using cutting, sculpting, rolling etc whilst they studied the natural form of various corals. I demonstrated several ways of working over three sessions with the girls, starting them off with simple forms and progressing to the third sessions with more advanced, difficult techniques which they applied to their own work and adapted to suit their tiles, enhancing them with painting techniques and even the choice of papers they used.
The girls worked on cardboard plates measuring 15cm by 15cm but worked on their coral collections for a few sessions first. I found this was best or the temptation to start different corals was hard to resist and I thought it was important to form strong clusters of corals. For this stage of the project, unlike my work I wanted the girls to use colour in their work so that they could study living, diverse corals which could be represented using a variety of papers, textures and paint with the girls working on the additional considerations of colour, shape and size combinations.
I was asked to work with two other classes at Prenton to show them how to create fungal pieces from paper in the same way as the coral. The girls were already working on a project so this is just an additional task to add detail to the lovely sculptural pieces they are already creating. They are producing a small sample piece measuring 9cm by 9cm using a tiny board that they are taking forward by reproducing the most successful fungi as detail on their sculptures.
During my first two sessions I demonstrated simple paper manipulating techniques to the girls and then during a third demonstration i showed the girls more difficult techniques to fill their coral boards.
This project formed as we went, when most of the girls had almost finished their boards I introduced the next and last stage of the project. I decided to restrict the girls to using mainly white paper at this stage, bringing their work closer to mine and concentrating their attentions on the composition, detail etc for their final pieces. They had to focus their attention on perfecting the techniques they had learnt to the ones that work best and the ones which would enhance their sculptures. Although still beautiful this coral would represent the destruction of coral colonies and would reflect the harsh reality of what we are doing to this planet through the opposite of their tiles.
For this stage of the project I showed the students additional altered paper manipulating techniques to the ones used on the tiles. In addition the sculptures look great lit up so the girls have to consider how they want them to look when applying the coral.
I based my demonstrations around these two fungi samples, limiting the use of colour to brown or white papers to keep the work looking natural. I also showed the girls some transferable techniques from the coral samples. But next time I will show my new altered book work as either open books or tree trunk book sculptures when demonstrating.