Friday, 21 March 2014



Sometimes pinning drawings to the wall is just not enough.  I wanted my pupils to gather their drawings in the form of a book.

We used goose quills and ink to decorate the front and back covers.  The children learned that repetitive words can make a great pattern and texture, regardless of spelling!  They loved to break all the handwriting rules: no spaces between lines or words, mixing upper and lower case letters, vertical, horizontal and diagonal directions, and drips and splashes allowed.

Drawings were glued together in a long panel and the pages were simply constructed, folded concertina style.  

Simple little fastenings were made by wrapping pieces of scrap fabric around the finished article, and adding the used quill.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Fantastic Feathers

First term, and a three week block of observational drawings.  Not quite finished but too good not to share!
I wanted to get the pupils to really look at details of small, unfamiliar objects.  Feathers seemed to be the perfect thing.  We started off looking at the linear patterns and recreated the feathers with soft pencils and water soluble crayons.

Peacock feathers next, what a gift!  Looking at colour and pattern we used a mixture of pens, watercolour, water soluble graphite and soft pencil.  New words now added to our vocabulary include iridescent, rainbow like.....they sure are.  I have offered £1 for every child that includes it in their next story!  Shall I start saving?

I have really enjoyed floating around my schools with armfuls of peacock feathers! 
 Attention seeking behaviour or what?

Some of the infants got involved too, can you spot which drawings are theirs?  

Looking at texture and tone now, with white feathers, chalk and black pen on black paper.  Studies too of the best little spotty Guinea Fowl feathers.  

We drew the feathers twice the size to include the detail and introduce the idea of scale.

Some of the classes used masking fluid with watercolour to try and reproduce the patterns of dots on the Guinea Fowl feathers.

I plan to make these drawings into wee books - next term.... 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

New School Year, New Classes, New Inspiration

By name and by nature.

I have seen so many of these little guys in the past few weeks, the sweet sickly smell both turns my stomach and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  New water soluble graphite worth the investment.  Such a simple and effective way to create a sense of shadow.  

I have done these with 5 to 8 year olds, but I think all age groups would love to do them.  

  • The class start by drawing 3 hearts, before the biscuits are even produced, this ensures that the hearts are drawn bigger than life size (and adds an air of mystery....) 
  • the biscuits are opened and divided up, for observational purposes, not consumption.  I get the children to draw the splodge pattern and then the outer circle.  Starting with the nearest biscuit.   If there are issues with shapes overlapping, the further away circles will be neatly tucked underneath.  you will need to point this out, but once they see the effects, they will be delighted.

  • a thickness is added, to create 3 dimensions (and a layer of jam), then a shadow.
  • water can then be painted over the biscuit thickness, shadow and carefully round the splodge shape, thus creating a a wash and really simple, effective hint of realism.
the same effect can be achieved with black  Berol pens with water



Last term at school and all the budget is spent....time to get creative.  Saw this idea somewhere and thought it a good one....and it was.  Hundreds of milk cartons later, here are some examples.

Our inspiration was a London elephant parade.  
Organised to protect Asian elephants and their environment.  Fitting nicely into my environmental/recycling theme.

It also gave me an excuse to dig out the wee bits of fancy papers and shiny odds and ends that were (always) tucked away in the far recesses of all my schools, workshop and studio. Cathartic!
It did, however, involve transporting bags of smelly plastic milk cartons the length and breadth of Angus.... with the windows open.

The children just loved these projects.  There were no 2 elephants the same. Some classes wanted to write stories about their elephants, some wanted to make little animations with them.  Well worth doing.  So now I need an idea for a milk carton for next any? 

Friday, 28 June 2013

LAST TERM - lets get sculptural

Its been a while since I managed to sit down and organise my last terms photographs, so bare with me there may be a lot!

Summer term is traditionally dedicated to dimensional work.  Ironically it is also when most of my schools have exhausted their resources and most of the funding, so a lot of the work I have done this term have been eco projects, using recycling materials.

A chance find in a cupboard gave these books a new lease of life.

The children absolutely loved making these.  I thought that they would get bored repeating the  folds on all the pages, but no they couldn't get enough!

It's off to the jumble sales for me, to gather more supplies.