Experiments in Land Art

Posted: 28th November 2016

I wanted my Y5 girls to look at art in the environment. They all have a preconceived idea that art has to be done in the classroom with equipment in the art cupboard. We started by discussing what they thought ‘Land Art’ was and what it could be made of…. the initial ideas were very amusing but the general consensus was that it was artwork that might just take place outside…. 

“But how do you paint on the grass? Does paint stick to grass? Can we use pink if we paint on grass? wouldn’t people destroy it?”

We looked at some famous Land Art artists’ work and the materials they might have used and what they thought about it….. we didn’t find any pink paint on grass pictures.The general opinion was it was quite cool. They did have some concerns: “But Mrs Wrobel won’t you get cold and wet when you do artwork outside?” 

We focused on Antony Gormley and how he used natural materials that could be found around school. So on Tuesday we went outside and looked for leaves twigs, stones and anything else that might inspirational. It was slightly chilly and damp but they were enthusiastic, so their original worries about the weather didn’t arise. We got back indoors with a cardboard box full of what everyone else would call ‘rubbish’ but to yr 5 this had suddenly become the best box of material in the world and extremely valuable. The class was divided into two groups (randomly) and they spent 5 min coming up with designs. Everybody had great ideas, but they soon realised that compromise was the only way forward.

We all headed out to the courtyard buzzing with ideas and they chose an area to create their designs.

The next 20 mins was really busy altering designs because they were too big, finding more little stones I had never envisaged them being so taken with the idea. At 11:15am we stood back and looked at the work that had been created. Both groups had created something that was “really cool” and so different. 

We were just finishing out discussion when a small voice said: “Mrs Wrobel…. everyone will ruin them.. they will get destroyed.”

We turned around to look at them one last time; just at that moment, a breeze came through the courtyard and started to take the leaves. There were several cries of “Oh no!”. 

“Its okay,” I reassured them. “I took lots of photos…. and that’s what happens when you make things outside using natural materials, they don’t always last that long, but you can be happy that you created something beautiful, even if just for a moment.”

Categories: Engagement