Last week I spent three days doing woodlands arts workshops in two schools in Wordsley, Stourbridge, West Midlands. The schools had approached me to put on some woodland inspired workshops for children aged 7 - 8 and 8 - 9 as part of their Irresistible Learning education program.
Four classes of 25 at Belle Vue Primary spent an hour each learning a different weaving technique with natural materials and willow, making an individual item to take home. Their term had started with a letter from Lord Locksley asking for a band of men to join him. My half-term activity was to help them make something nice to give to Maid Marion, made from natural materials. Each class made different items so the teachers could swap techniques later on.
At Blandford Mere Primary School we had two consecutive days to work on a project. I was asked if the children could make things to put in their new school corridor, so I suggested making bug sculptures - insects, flies, bees.
After an introductory talk and questions at assembly, three classes of 30 pupils spent an hour on both days with me creating woodland insect sculptures using fresh willow and other natural materials including natural dyed sheep wool, leaves, sticks etc..
They learned how to strip the leaves off the willow and bend it to the shapes they needed to make wings and body shapes, decorating these on the second day.
It was a learning curve for both me and the children, as they got to grips with the nature of the materials - and I raced about helping their sculptures take shape.
Most of the children were very excited about the activity and I think it was quite a challenge for them on many levels. I hope they got a lot out of it. It was great to be able to use my artistic and practical woodland knowledge with so many young people.
If you are interested in having a school workshop. I am happy to devise a suitable activity for your class. Please contact me to discuss details and costs. I am currently working across the Midlands. I'm hoping for pictures of the school displays to arrive for this blog post soon.