We often have art exhibitions at Rosemoor, but during the winter months, the Garden itself has been the backdrop for over 60 sculptures, large and small, by a variety of different artists, working in wood, metal, resin, glass, fabrics and stoneware. To coincide with this, the Education team here devised a schools workshop to link with it, as part of our curricular education programme. Visiting schools have tended to take the workshop in the morning and view the Winter Sculpture Exhibition in the afternoon.
School children are encouraged to work individually and in small groups to look closely at colour, shape, detail and natural objects before creating their own shapes and sculptures. Initially, they look at a range of pictures covering the work of several artists who work with natural materials – leaves, flowers, trees, turf, pebbles and willow, which opens their eyes and stretches their imaginations. Out in the garden, they each have a small sticky card on which they collect small samples of colour from plant materials found on the ground. Despite it being winter there is still a very wide range of colour available, though in smaller quantities.
Using old slide mounts they look at the fine detail of leaves and petals by sandwiching them and holding them to the light. In this way they can see the lacy patterns of leaf skeletons and the vein structures of slightly thicker leaves, and they focus on the coloured marking on petals.
(Using Slide Mounts)
Moving into the woodland, they use larger cardboard view finders to frame parts of tree trunks, patterns of wood chip mulch, individual fern fronds or general views.
Having focused the children’s minds on natural objects they are asked to work in small groups, agree upon a shape and use whatever they find on the woodland floor to make it. Fir cones, twigs and pieces of bark are used to make outlines, and some become more elaborate.
(Shapes on a tree stump) and
(A Circle of Cones under a Twig Web)
We move further into the woodland to an area already prepared with a collection of larger branches, old tree stumps and roots, cones, small logs, sticks and stones. Working in the same groups they choose a woodland creature and begin collecting the necessary materials to make a 3D sculpture of it. Some groups carefully consider the shapes of tree stumps, which might suggest a creature to them. The children are given half an hour, some set to immediately and worked well together, some deliberate over what to make, others are more interested in exploring the woods ! However, they all create a creature and each group in turn is asked to explain their sculpture to the rest of the class.
(Crocodile – showing how diverse Rosemoor’s woodland creatures can be)
Rosemoor’s Winter Sculpture Exhibition closes on Sunday 26 February, however, a brand new exhibition on the work of Quentin Blake and his wonderful illustrations for children will open on Saturday 26 May and close on Bank Holiday Monday 27 August. A schools workshop for Key Stage 2 school children, based on the exhibition, will be available during the second half of the summer term, and although all our curricular education workshops for children are free, they must be booked – please follow this link for more details :