Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Woodford Folk Festival and Wild Art Workshops
In heightened anticipation we had been counting down the days till our launch of Wild Art. An idea cooked up in one of those lengthy conversations you have with a friend over a cup of coffee and a fabulous organic cake. We hatched a plan to change the world, or maybe scaling it back a fraction. A plan to take the love we have of true nature art to as many adults and children as we could.
Woodford Folk Festival was our big launch, and we agonised over and over again about the goodies we had collected. Would the children like the soft flowers, maybe one more handful of feathers plucked from the backyard chickens? Perhaps a few more of those salty sponges which smell of the beach and fill our hearts with the warmth of the sun. We paced, packed then paced some more and in the end, we took everything. One small car crammed to the roof with all our essential items and more.
Our first workshop! We unpacked our nature treasures onto the plastic tables. Said a little prayer and hoped that we would get a half dozen people to come and enjoy the art experience we were offering: ‘Creating Nature Tools to Make Marks on Recycled Materials’. We both shared a nervous giggle and imagined the worst but hoped for the best. In the end we needn’t have worried. We were literally swamped with children of all ages. Some young children required a little assistance before they were immersed into the pure tactical love of exploring the natural items. Adults already armed with skills were just as eager to immerse themselves in natural visual art feast before them.
Instinctively this eclectic group set to work. Exploring, touching and experiencing the richness of the loose foliage. Sticks were selected with great care. Then feathers, leaves and loose objects of assorted lengths. All clasped tightly in hands, while eyes roamed the table in search of rope, string or coloured cords to tie it all together. Individuals began the beautiful dance of ‘Wrapping’. A skill of hand eye coordination, which we have sadly observed rapidly disappearing from the physical language of children. This was it, this was why we had laboured over those coffee conversations. ‘Wrapping’. Simple but in the same sentence, quite a difficult task to master. A skill required to move developmentally forward.
These nature artists all gave it a cracking go! Around and around the stick the fibre rotated. Intense concentration, perseverance and pride in their own creations! The experience didn’t stop there. It was time to make unique marks on paper and to explore the hidden potential of the newly constructed nature tools. It was time to paint!
The colours were rich and robust and floated snugly in their wooden bowls awaiting the hearty dunk of that first nature paintbrush. Now, I must put these words in capitals: RED, YELLOW, DEEP INTENSE GREEN, PURPLE, OCEAN BLUE. You get the gist. We absolutely loved the colours. More importantly, we loved the expressiveness of the language being verbalised through the handmade brushes. Through the marks that were made as they swished and scraped across the paper card. A dance of colour and hand movement worked in perfect symmetry to create meaning of the world around us.
Sometimes all good things must come to an end, as our workshop eventually did. Groaning could be heard around the table from our artists. We slowly packed away the remnants of our constructive art makings, now scattered haphazardly across the tables. We assured our artists that another workshop was to be held later in the week, where more exploration and experimentation could be enjoyed. The second workshop was another huge success and firmly cemented our desire to take Wild Art to the wider community.
With full hearts, we thank the Woodford Folk Festival and all who joined in and celebrated our fledgling creative Wild Art experience. Our vision of bringing the enjoyment of nature art to children and adults was bought to life. Future workshops for children and adults include: immersive days filled with exploring Mark Making and Eco Dying, Wild Clay and Wild Weaving. Come and join us!