'Soundings' with Quirindi Preschool Kindergarten
Posted by Shona on September 22, 2016
SOUNDING THINGS OUT
sound-drawings by preschool children ages 3-5
MAY 22- 25 IMMERSIVE 2016
COLLABORATIONS WITH CHILDREN - CONNECTING WITH NATURE
AN ONGOING EPHEMERAL ART ADVENTURE WITH QUIRINDI PRESCHOOL KINDERGARTEN
made possible with the assistance of CASP ( ARTS NORTHWEST ) and FARMING FOR KIDS ( QUIRINDI COMMUNITY )
the ground on which we play
Posted by admin on November 19, 2015
THE PLAY GROUNDS of Quirindi Preschool Kindergarten 2015
DECIDED TO START WITH THE THANK YOU'S FIRST !
SO THAT THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THIS ALL HAPPEN DONT END UP AT THE BOTTOM OF A LONG BLOG AND NOT GET SEEN.
A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE INVOLVED THUS FAR IN THIS PROJECT
the preschool committee (Charmaine Frith particularly) and community of parents and beyond
IN PARTICULAR THE IMMENSELY DEDICATED TEAM OF EDUCATORS AT QUIRINDI PRESCHOOL KINDERGARTEN
WELCOMING ATTITUDE TO ME AND THE PROJECT
OPENNESS TO NEW IDEAS
ABILITY TO ABSORB, IMPLEMENT and NURTURE CHANGE
WILLINGNESS TO GROW AND CHALLENGE
and most importantly
FRIENDLINESS, CARE AND LOVE FOR THE CHILDREN THEY GUIDE AND FOR EACH OTHER
without your enthusiasm we would not have done this....
The culmination of this year's COLLABORATIONS WITH NATURE WITH CHILDREN saw me head out to Quirindi
for a week intensive of bush excursions with children,educators and parents from this dynamic
community based preschool
the subsequent exhibition of created works and images at the annual and local BLACKVILLE ART SHOW !
BUT to see where all of this creativity was generated we must back track to
THE BUSH - the natural environment.
A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Posted by Shona on June 24, 2015
mid year update - the classroom outdoors explores the bush
'I couldn't believe how the children responded to the natural environment.
I am super excited about going again. Thank you for making the preschool such a
wonderful place and environment for our children to learn and grow ...' Melindah Morgan - parent
Since my initial workshop with teachers and parents back in Febuary, Quirindi preschool has undertaken to take a
series of excursions into the surrounding bush environment to begin implementing and attuning themselves and the
children to being, playing, learning and creating immersed in nature. This particular field day's theme was
The following images and paraphrased text were sent to me by Alison Thompson the director at Qurindi Preschool.
A Walk on the Wild Side!
by Charmain Frith (parent committee president) for the school newsletter
" Wow, what a different preschool excursion!! Excitement was mounting amongst our little friends
are we drove past Quipolly Dam,and the bus bumped to a stop in the Quayle’s paddock....
“Let’s go!” someone shouted, so we forged on through the long grass,
before finding a toppled over gum tree which was fantastic for balancing on...
...the children broke into little groups. We had some girls enjoying imaginative and cooperative play
making a campfire and toasting a few “marsh-mallows”, one of the boys was busily drilling a bore,
a little group was drawing with pastels, and some of the boys were doing what boys do best,
exploring with Kel and checking out some more trees....
"I am a big Bull" "This could be a Foot Tree and it legs go all the way up here"
We started making a pattern with some bigger pieces of wood.
It gradually became a windmill, and we had to co-operate and help each other out,carrying wood
and deciding how our pattern should grow. It was great fun; sharing our ideas, chatting and working hard to complete it!
Check out our finished product,... how awesome does it look!!!
But wow, look at the time! We must head back to the bus, we wouldn’t want to get left behind!
Let’s go team, don’t forget your treasures that you have collected along the way…
Bones aplenty, sticks, rocks, bark...
"It's a dinosaur eye bone"
What an amazing morning of exploration and learning, physical activity and challenges in the fresh air.
And how lucky are we as parents to be able to share these special experiences and adventures with our children?
Not every child is this lucky, and we must be thankful that at Quirindi Preschool they are given this wonderful opportunity
to learn amongst nature. Thank you ..
Have YOU visited the wild side yet???!! "
In response to 'THE CLASSROOM OUTDOORS' blog post in Feb 2015 - I recieved this wonderful , articulate and
supportive response from Warren A Reilly - Industrial Designer/Lecturer Newcastle University NSW - THANKS Warren!
"It appears (to me anyway) that an understanding of nature at an early age is a powerful tool. It not only
introduces the concept of a 'system' in which all elements contribute to the whole, it also gives context to their
This idea of 'connectedness' becomes a backdrop for their lives as they develop their understanding of the world.
That all things are connected, that 'problems' are not just local they are much broader, that their value is
building the strength of the system that supports them...etc
It is no coincidence that the technology race is now looking to the Biosphere for guidance in the 21st Century.
Independent of our own individual beliefs, the living system is a library of more than 30 million well resolved
'solutions' to 'problems'. The truly incredible aspect is that the living system is entirely sustainable on all
levels - there is no waste.
For a child to grow up with an understanding of reality in a way that releases their potential to be whatever they
want, and yet is absolutely consistent and reliable in its structure and content, at all ages of their lives, is the
greatest gift we can give the next generation - surely."
Alison Thompson (director of Quirindi preschool)has noted these reponses and observations from just a handful of
wild excursions with her young charges.
"Our walks have been fabulous. The children are noticing so many more things. They are becoming conditioned to
walking distances and climbing. The children’s creativity at preschool with natural materials that we have
collected and our preschools natural environmental materials are been used creatively and been used with purpose.
Relationships and communication are strengthening between the children. We have a few families who have been very
cautious about our adventures, which is to be expected."
and their inspired teachers in September, when we
will create artworks with natural found materials and photograph them
for a local Blackville Art Exhibition in October this year !!
the classroom outdoors
Posted by admin on March 14, 2015
my art practice has brought me here .........
Quirindi Preschool Kindergarten and Collaborations with Nature have come together to create Collaborations with Nature with Children.
"For young children, the most seemingly insignificant things can be awesome. Finding
a cricket,an acorn or a colored leaf becomes a magical event.
All it takes is to step outside your door and explore..." .1
Who would have imagined ... I would be approached by a community based rural pre-school in North West NSW to facilitate workshops. Quirindi Preschool Kindergarten’s progressive director Alison Thompson says "the environment is the program". With this focus they have created an early- childhood learning program which uses the wonderful indoor and outdoor spaces(the school community has helped create) for children and staff to explore and utilize as a stimulant and catalyst for enjoyable learning.
When Alison became aware of my workshops COLLABORATIONS WITH NATURE, I was invited as part of their professional development program to work with her and her passionate team of educators to facilitate new and deeper creative interactions within their current pre-school environment and ultimately beyond. Alison understood the value and benefit to creative thinking and behaviour that Collaborations with Nature Workshops embodies. As the eminent educator Sir Ken Robinson states “Creativity is as important as literacy".
In addition Alison wanted to explore more meaningful documentation techniques for their activities, since documentation is a critical tool in communicating to parents and the broader community the meaning and types of learning experiences their children are enjoying. And these children really seem to enjoy their time there! All I heard and saw on an introduction day were various forms of concentration, contentment, enjoyment and excitement.
documentation - looking at things up close documentation - looking through the work books and children's journals documentation - looking at things from different angles
So we have begun with me giving a COLLABORATIONS WITH NATURE workshop within the preschool environment with educators, committee members and parents.
exercise 3/3 : bringing found natural materials indoors to combine with man-made materials
I was surprised to discover that even country dwellers are suffering a lack of direct nature engagement as screens/technologies take over their time. I also observed that even though the children and teachers came from farming properties in the main – their relationship to nature was as ‘financial commodity’, they spoke about tractors and crops and weather
(nature as part of machine) - not so much about rivers, creeks, rocks, trees, flowers, sky etc. This is not a judgement in any way – it seems that wherever we may be, we lack the means / time / headspace / heartspace to become intimate with the ‘wonderment commodity’ of nature. WHY?
One of the most poignant experiences and realisations of the day was that on reflection all participants said they preferred working outdoors directly in nature as opposed to bringing natural materials inside to play with. When asked why – no-one could really articulate what is was exactly – it just felt better being outside! So it may be a leap but one would suspect that children feel the same way.
some of the participants final works for the day
Some feedback from participants was:
"Sharing your knowledge has helped to inspire me. Using materials available to us all the time... And the inspiration I felt on the day has continued.....
my four year old son and I have filled my phone with photos of nature and our own ephemeral art! Thanks Shona" Rebecca Tarrant – committee member and parent
"Blissful like a meditation day - so much learning" Jessica Harradine committee member and parent
"Today has inspired me to further engage with our children in creativity and imaginative play..." Jill Barber - educator
Collaborations with Children with Nature hopes to see even further engagement and learning through 'playing' outdoors with found natural materials and the documentation of this journey. The hope is, that with funding, the 3 'learning groups' of children will have excursions to whole natural environments participating in Collaborations with Nature based workshops in their local area where they will interact and create/play/learn.
some of the children engaing with more direct nature art/play/learning post workshop and interacting with artworks which teachers made on the day - looking totally sensitively engaged!
We are keeping the process open and organic, to change and morph according to needs and new ideas that may emerge from the children themselves as they create naturally. Further community engagement with this process may be in the form of a documentary photographic exhibition of the children’s artwork (incorporating in some way their inner worlds of experience via writings or audio recordings) in Quirindi town – possibly a part of the Quirindi Blackville art show this October 2015.
This experience has turned me onto the fascinating area of nature -based creativity and learning. Some further links to these ideas are:
Children Nature Org - http://blog.childrenandnature.org/
The Outdoor Classroom - http://outdoorclassroomproject.org/
The Common World Childhoods Research Collective - http://www.commonworlds.net/
"Nature deficit disorder refers to a hypothesis by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioural problems.”
The Nature Priciple by Richard Louv - the consequences for not just children but adults of Nature Deficeit Disorder.
I have worked with natural found detritus for the last 25 years as a sculptor. My own creativity has been borne out of Nature.
My art practice has lead me to this understanding ... for healthy humans and environments we need to directly re-engage with the natural environment with our hands eyes, ears – all of our senses. Without interacting with Nature how do we have the capacity to know it, hold it dear, love it, care for it? Being in Nature brings us home to ourselves –in caring for Nature we care for ourselves. Our happiness/survival is in direct and immediate relationship to our natural environments' happiness/survival.
A VERY WONDER-FILLED JOURNEY HAS BEEN EMBARKED UPON..... thank you Alison and the whole pre-school community for putting your trust in me and thinking outside the square.
MORE TO FOLLOW.....
1. 16 tips for getting outdoors: Kathy Ambrosini February 10th 2015 blog.childrenandnature.org
ONE FROM NONE
Posted by Shona on July 14, 2014
the minimal aesthetic in art
"Less is more"* & "Doing more with less"*
Japanese traditional design and architecture has highly influenced the minimal aesthetic and philosophy in western art and culture.
image from : http://2voices1song.com/the-garden
HAIKU - Japanese Poetry
Furu ike ya An old pond
Kawaza tobikomu A frog jumps in
Mizu no oto The sound of water
Samidare wo Collecting all
Atsumete hayashi The rains of May
Mogami-gawa The swift Mogami River
Yagate shinu Cricket, from your cheery cry
Keshiki wa miezu No one would ever guess
Semi no koe How quickly you must die
Bashó (Matsuo Munefusa 1644-1694).The name Bashó (banana tree) is a sobriquet the poet adopted around 1681 after moving into a hut with a banana tree alongside. He was called Kinsaku in childhood and Matsuo Munefusa in his later days. Bashó's father was a low-ranking samurai from the Iga Province. To be a samurai, Bashó served the local lordTodo Yoshitada (Sengin). Since Yoshitada was fond of writing haikai, Bashó began writing poetry under the name Sobo, later changing to Bashó. During the years, Bashó traveled through Japan, especially the northern regions. There, he wrote Oku No Hosomichi (1694). He is considered the "Shakespeare" of Japanese poetry.
an upcoming exhibition at Newcastle Regional Gallery AUG 23-NOV 16 2014
curated by Sarah Johnson.
"Emerging from the traditions of minimalist art, contemporary artists often use the elements of one medium to narrate a story, and use three dimensional objects to create ‘an aura of calm beauty’ in space.
By using one element in their work of art, artists are often ‘pushing the boundaries’ of art practice by using materials or media that defy tradition or common perception.
This exhibition brings together diverse artists whose use of a singular media such as steel, light bulbs or natural detritus as a material metaphor and where actual space becomes more powerful than depicted space. Featuring works by Jonathan Jones, Dani Marti, Hossein Valamanesh, Hillary Mais and the steel floor installation by seminal minimalist artist Carl Andre, SumΣ16, exhibited for the first time since its unveiling in 1978."
-Sarah Johnson Curator ONE FROM NONE 2014 Newcastle Regional Gallery
I am very thrilled to be showing amongst Carl Andre, Jonathan Jones, Dani Marti,
Hossein Valamanesh and Hillary Mais! Examples of these artists work below (not necessarily in this exhibition)
Stream-line 2005 - twigs & banksia on wood 3m x 1m
image : http://www.breenspace.com/
you may also want to check out :
*Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
one a day - picks of the fortnight
Posted by Shona on April 19, 2014
themes : graphic - colour - landscape
collaborations with nature workshop in the southern highlands
Posted by Shona on April 10, 2014
wild - a bit wet - and 'woollybutt' wonderful....
a not unusual mist saturated morning in the Southern Highlands of NSW began unusually with 12 curious creatives turning up to share an ephemeral art making experience on a simply glorious property called 'Woollybutt'
many thanks to it's its wonderful caretakers and owners the Goodalls
the calm before creation
a gorgeous feast- fuelled the body and mind
then the down pour.....resilient and intrepid or just compelled to create
but all succeeded!
we gathered to celebrate the day's creations
we all went home - thoroughly inspired and satisfied
a huge thanks to everyone who paticipated in the day
a special thanks to Harriet Goodall
who was my catalyst
and made everything happen!
to see another interpretation of the day go to:
Posted by Shona on April 01, 2014
a re-direction back the other way ......
.....to my social media sites where you can follow my daily posts...
....because life has just been a bit too hectic...
...i hope you enjoy !
day 88-94 / one a day
Posted by Shona on March 17, 2014
colour and radiations
day 94 - my garden - 10 mins
radiation # 3 for this week
such serendipity to have exactly the right no. of Dracaena draco leaves for this stone
day 93 - finger drawing - 15 mins
tide coming in - working fast
anemone or radiation #2 for this week
difficult to photograph due to extreme shadows but helped to articulate the inscibed lines
day 92 - 45 mins
sticks and stones
working amongst the sea boulders
spider or radiation # 1 for this week
sticky tricky - balancing
collecting the sticks inspired 2 young boys to join in
what openness to creativity 5-6yr olds have!
their 'buildings' shown here at the bottom
day 91 - my garden - 20 mins
these leaves are eaten almost away by some undetected (as yet) predator
i played at being that 'muncher' - but in a very systematic way
piercing surfaces - allowing flow of air and vision
day 90 - fire tree - 30 mins
transplanted autumnal leaves onto burnt remains of a shrub
striking optical effect with the sun behind
day 89 - yellow banded serpent - 40 mins
elevated arch of fig roots - alien - serpentine
wrapped fallen fig leaves around the roots that fitted the diameter
quite fiddly and frustrating at times
disturbed by zealous bush regenerator
day 88 - 15 mins
markings with lilli pilli fruits
such a dazzling
takes me back to childhood musk stick lollies
day 78-87 / one a day
Posted by Shona on March 09, 2014
pulls and tugs and reaching for centredness...
day 87 - 40 mins - near home - in a muddy pool
sometimes i wonder if it's worth risking ross river, bama forest, and now dengue fever?
i always keep going - it always seems worth it
just felt like sitting on the freshly cut grass - away from wind and mozzies
two spinning wheels- cogs
clock wise/anti-clockwise - forwards/backwards - meaningless
day 85 - 50 mins
break-wall or dispersal
tried lots of different things with pumice again
eventually decided to work with the chance of waves and their collaboration with a line
day 83 / 84
driven away by mosquitoes - it took 2 sessions
my garden - 30 mins
day 82 - my garden - 30 mins
seemed like a lot of effort for little reward
petals disintergrating quickly in the sun
hot - lots of breakages
really worked the photography to make something of it
day 81 - 20 mins
untangled grass runners to make a plait
unintentionally became a streaming heart
which i only noticed after the photo was taken
day 80 - inside job
too wet to go out - pouring for days
apparently these forms replicate breast milk glands
sub conscious fertility symbols
.... and then a moon?
day 79 - 30 mins
raining at last and want to work with the water somehow
i think these look like spikey udders - sort of weird and creepy
but they did perform the dripping action i intended
day 68-77 / one a day
Posted by Shona on February 27, 2014
day 77 - 30 mins - more with pumice
fjord / pumice jam
lots of people around
day 76 - 15 mins
pumice pumice pumice
my infatuation with this material continues
so easy to use - light and floats!
array of sizes, shapes and shade of grey
day 75 - 20 mins
hot and hungry - rushing
wanted to show case this amazing piece of kelp
tried lots of locations
day 74 - 20 mins
trying not to repeat materials and methods
in the burnt out forest across the road from my home
day 73 - my garden - 10 mins
day 72 - in a carpark - 15 mins
very tricky to make
leaves kept popping back out
happy with result
day 71 -20 mins - by wallis lake
passage 2 ....
day 70 - 45 mins/1 hr?
a special place
pathways to infinity
day 69 - 15 mins
had to find the right crab hole that was wet/hard enough that it didnt crumble away when i placed the pumice
obstacle course for a crab
day 68 - 1 hr
quick to make - washed away once - took along time for the right wave to create the bow -wave shape
wanted to accentuate the shape of the triangular shape of the 'sand-cusp'
day 57-67 / one a day
Posted by Shona on February 17, 2014
diverse and delightful
3 quick ones - 30 mins
exploring shape and colour around a muddy pool
rain dance - 20 mins
the leaves bounced around like piano keys when hit by a droplet
would love to see wht notes it corresponds to and play it
made a video - still working on it
memorial for a friend
POW - in lieu of sunshine
15 mins - my garden
front to back
wallis lake foreshore - 20 mins
sand flats at smiths lake - 15mins
30mins - forster
nordic summer - 35 degrees
20 mins - smiths lake
how can a photograph translate heat?
day 59 - lost ?
kelp @ elizabeth beach - 20 mins
didn't really work for me
overexposed! - very windy and didn't want to stay long
very windy - 15 mins - elizabeth beach
lots of tumbles
finis for now...