What a wonderful last day in the gallery! A year 9 group from Redland Green School came in to visit the exhibitions and to take part in a workshop run by Debbie and Sara, who taught the class about drawing and collaboration. I was lucky enough to assist them and even had the chance to make my very own cotton-reel drawing machine and demonstrate how to use this to the class.
The groups were asked to think about drawing and mark making from a different point of view with several practical challenges set to help get the creativity flowing and encourage collaboration. The gallery was set up into different sections so the students could collect marks and find ways of creating interesting compositions by letting go of the need to control the outcomes of their drawings.
The students thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, leaving with a variety of new ideas and a different perspectives on drawing practice and working collaboratively. The group left with an assortment of different work they had produced throughout the day and the teacher suggested she would be taking some of the ideas back to her other classes. It was fantastic to see them get so involved and so quickly grasp the concepts they were presented with. From the feedback it is clear that they enjoyed the day.
I’ve also compiled a list of some of the tasks that the children were set as these might be useful ideas for other teachers, artists and school holidays!
1. Tag Team Collaboration: If you are lucky enough to have access to a projector the aim of this is to have a collection of objects that will encourage different types of mark making. The objects are placed on the projector and the image it creates is projected onto a large piece of paper. Each person is allowed 2 minutes to change the objects and draw onto the paper using different mediums. After the 2 minutes is up it’s the next person’s turn. They can change the composition of the objects and draw into or over the drawing that is already there – this is great for producing an unpredictable drawing that everyone has had a chance to contribute to and to teach a group how to cooperate and to be less precious about anything they make.
2. Moving Drawing: Moving around the room/garden/playground with a pencil and paper quickly drawing the details your eye focusses on as it happens. Using continuous line you will create an abstract drawing of your movements that captures the feel of the environment you are in. For example you might create an impression of a road sign, a lamppost, bricks, buildings and people’s faces all assembled, creating a snapshot of your journey through your chosen landscape.
3. Cotton Reel Machines: These are based on old fashion cotton reel racers. Made from cotton reels, elastic bands and clothes pegs, with felt-tip pens attached. These homemade wind-up toys drag the pens around the paper making juddery, smooth or blotchy circles. These are just great fun!
4. Texture & Layering: Collect rubbings using charcoal over different objects – thinking outside of the box about what might create an interesting texture on the paper. Have fun lay layering one rubbing over another or collecting several rubbings and picking out your favourite details to create a layered collage from.
5. Rucksack Drawing: A simple cardboard box with paper at the bottom and pens suspended above to pop in your rucksack. Add string handles so you can carry it around and document your journey through the marks that are created. You can get differing results dependant on pen placement, the amount of movement and how much time you spend on each piece of paper – you could also try different tools such as pencils, brushes, charcoal, fine liners.
6. Lego Drawing Machine: This is one of Debbie’s own methods of collecting marks and she often uses machines she has designed herself when creating her own artworks. This particular machine is programmed Lego – but you could use any mechanical or moving object that is able to have pens attached. A large piece of paper is placed on the floor inside a wooden frame, with the machine on top. With pens attached, it drags them along the paper creating different lines as it goes, bouncing back off the sides of the frame.
Happy mark making!