Friday, 15 June 2012

School day, Update

A couple of weeks ago I posted about attending my daughters school to teach the class for the day on the subject of sculpture/making from what we see around us.
This lesson was structured to re-enforce the day previously spent with the class at Lulworth cove and Durdle Door, Dorset.
Initially several sculptures that I have collected from different makers, together with various found items from the beech were placed on each table for the children to view. These included, wood, stone, metal of both abstract and figurative styles and the response was, well, refreshing.  The room was buzzing with excitement and I made it clear that the sculptures should be picked up and explored. 
First we discussed sculpture and the different types on the tables. The difference in perception of children compared to adults was very apparent. One of the sculptures I previously made and took along is shown below.  The response to this from adults in forums and family etc has been interesting, some have seen a human form and others just haven't got it, others have said ' ah a way to use up an old cracked bit of wood' followed by a laugh as they walk away.
But when I asked the class of 26 eight year old children what they thought it represented their hands shot up and the first reply was ' an old man' , followed by,  ' a human' and so it continued.  It struck me how much we lose as adults due to our exposure of opinions from others, and how this effects our view our own work and that of others. But mostly how little creativity we hold onto as we get older without keeping an open 'beginners mind'.
We all go through this as we get older, I know I certainly did, and I arrived at the point of being creatively constipated. Peer pressure meant I would only turn items that were round and showing the wood, as I could be confident that this meant I would receive praise and acceptance rather than ridicule. In turn I would only turn pieces that I really did not want to turn. Eventually my brain shut off and I had to go through a great deal of soul searching to break out of my self imposed mould.

Back to the lesson;

The day went well and the enthusiasm and hard work from the children did not wain at all. It also made me realise how skilled the teachers are as by the end of the day I was exhausted. In a demo I may get one or two questions at a time, with the children as soon as one asked every hand would shoot up and I would be flooded by searching questions. They are not frightened to ask and keep on asking.

The children produced sculptures using wire and other materials including items collected from the beech. In all one of the best experiences I have had and it would appear the children and teachers also enjoyed it so much that I have been asked if I would do it again in the future as well as being asked to become in volved in the designing of their new garden area.

Obviously I was not able to take pictures without parental permission for my blog, however the teachers did and some of these can be seen on the official school web site here. Pictures are at the bottom of the page if you scroll down and click on page 7, you will see me grinning at the back in one of them. :-)

Bronze figarative Geisha, again a sample of my collection taken for the students to view.


Philip Streeting said...

Looks like you had a brilliant day.


Mark said...

Hi Phil

Yes it was very enjoyable. I am amazed at reading the subjects covered on the pre-amble on the page that the students cover in year 4, such as studying Japanese artists etc.

Can't remember school being anywhere near as interesting when I was going. The main skill we studied was how to dodge the black board rubber. :-)

Take care Mark

George Foweraker said...

Hi Mark.
I have just been looking at the pics on the School Website.The children obviously enjoyed themselves and made some interesting pieces.It is really good of you to give up your time to these children and I am sure they appreciate it.You are very generous with your time when it comes to helping others.It is good that somebody like yourself is prepared to share your time with others as you do helping me to refine my work and help me progress.I know sometimes you feel taken for granted and not appreciated but I can assure you your efforts are very much appreciated.

Mark said...

Hi George

Thank you for your comments. I do enjoy helping out where I can as many people help me out.

I am looking forward to going back to the school another time as and when, is is a valuable experience.

Take care