A Frosty Start with Appleshaw St Peters

The mist stayed with us throughout the morning at Appleshaw St Peter’s Primary School. With a similar range of materials and the same introduction as the other four schools, its really interesting for Becky and I to see how the children respond.

Appleshaw has lovely wooded grounds with quite a few Ash Trees, as well as a few other species. After introducing ourselves, the project partners, and our plans for the year ahead (including the Ash Tree Stream exhibition at Chapel Arts Studios at the end of the Summer Term next year), we took the children outside.

There was quite a lot of work that used words today, with several poems developing out of our request to the group to pay attention to their senses.

The thick frost on the ground, frozen spider webs hanging from bushes, and the pale mist filling the spaces between the trees and across the fields, lent the landscape a real character. The children certainly seemed inspired.

“We normally do sketching indoors…” Girl talking about her experiences of art

We started by basing ourselves under a beautiful big Oak tree, which dropped its leaves into our boxes of materials and onto our paper, then we moved away once the frost melted and the dropping leaves became drips of water.

The children were a bit cold after an hour outside, but after a break inside to look at each other’s work and thaw out a little, we moved back outdoors and challenged them to learn from each other’s artwork, to experiment with layering different resources together, and to persevere with a piece of artwork even when it didn’t turn out as they had hoped.

“My favourite thing is drawing and making all the stuff that we can see and hear…”

“If you’re doing art in nature, you connect with nature” – Girl reflecting on her morning

We will continue our discussions with Zoe Yelland, the class teacher, as the project develops and we plan the second session. At the moment we seem to be heading in the direction of exploring words and sounds, poems and stories, and their relationship to our embodied experiences of trees in general and Ash Trees in particular.

Published by James Aldridge

Visual Artist and Consultant, working and playing with people and places. Based in Wiltshire, UK

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