Thursday, 22 July 2010

Drawing Laboratory - Gatley Primary School

In January 2010 I was commissioned by Creative partnerships to work in collaboration with Matt Cahill to take up a residency within the school.It was very open as to how we might engage with the curriculum teams to facilitate a creative learning process. Working two days a week for a six month period, Matt and I decided that it was each of our drawing practices which was a ready subject for collaboration. We came upon the idea of creating a drawing laboratory, a space in which the children could explore and investigate subjects that they were working on in the classrooms.

The process began organically whereby we led some workshops in the classroom to enable the children to begin to produce imagery -using mono- printing techniques we started with the theme of dinosaur.
Matt led a workshop on expressive mark - making and that is where it took off.

We had a small empty room in the school in which to work and this was our base. We brought the children in to use the source material they had already generated.

They used their own and others drawings. Collaging, photo-copying, overdrawing, over- printing, they instigated and decided where and how images were put together.

They made connections on all levels, thematic, technical and intuitive. Drawings inspired drawings, imagery generated new imagery.

Curriculum themes explored were poilitical art - The Murals of Derry, healthy eating, trees, web camera on a bird box which fell under maths, literacy, humanities, science.

Once the initial installation was finished we began all over again. This time however, using snippets of selected imagery to create large screens for screen printing.

We wallpapered the walls with the help of year 6 top set maths who did the important job of measuring out the paper to recover the walls.

An important question which floated in and out of our heads was this: Who does imagery belong to? Can we be sole authors and does it matter if we appropriate images? The children themselves asked these questions. The head of the woman above began as a small doodle by a year six girl called Maria, it was then taken on by a year 2 boy ( pictured above ) who photocopied it and enlarged it and stuck these part together. This was then made into a screen which was printed as a pattern, see below.

We taught the pupils how to screen print. They experimented playing with shape and texture, over laying prints, trying out different compositions.

Space changes with powerful screen printed images.

Finally we brought the teachers into the space and facilitated them to respond to the installation. This was so that they could then go on with their year groups to work inot the prints and drawings and continually develop the space whilst enabling them use it a resource to explore new topics.

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