Monday, October 12, 2015

EB (Exploratory Block)- "Nature Worth Gold" Andy Goldsworthy

 Nature is that bonus area of any classroom that is already equipped with infinite art materials, creativity and possibility.  Environmental Artist Andy Goldsworthy demonstrated a keen awareness of nature's artistic potential and has created numerous temporary structures and installations all around the world.  

                                                                                                                 He has also created numerous volumes of books with his photographs showing evidence of his work.  Goldsworthy stated, however, that he is not trying to duplicate nature for it didn't need to be, but instead celebrate it.  After documenting his structures of leaves, rocks, twigs, snow or ice,  Goldsworthy returns items used to where he found them or allows nature to whisk them away with time.
Our  EB (Exploratory Block) workshop today consisted of viewing some of Goldsworthy's amazing photographs of his structures made from natural materials.  We then ventured outside with wicker baskets in tow to gather materials and create some structures of our own.

The children used mirrors to see their structures from a different perspective while working.

Our EB-ers chose to gather mostly rocks, sticks, large maple leaves, tiny pine cones, and pine needles.  They each made thoughtful arrangements of their own and photographed them (after a mini photography lesson on digital camera use and the proper "tripod" stance.)

Here are some of their first (and unaltered) photographs.  They showed keen eyes and creativity while making their natural structures.  
We lastly combined all of our materials and created a beautiful and clever collaborated structure.  At cleanup time and in the style of Goldworthy, we returned all of the rocks to the drainage bed and removed the large sticks from the parking space, but decided to let the wind carry our leaves and pine needles away as it chose to.  The tiny pine cones are decorating our classroom.

This first set of EBs will take place on Mondays 12:30-1:30 and Tuesdays 10-11:00 for three weeks October 12-27th and with several other topics throughout the school year.    EBs allow for opportunities to delve into a topic in a more intimate way and with  interested students.  (The children select from four different offerings each time.)  These multi-aged collaborations also allow for teachers to pursue some of their own passions and  explore topics in new ways along with the children.

EB-ers converged outside with another workshop of kids on our way back to class.  Mrs. Carpenter's group were just returning from a nature walk at County Farm Park and had collected flowers, twigs, and other nature finds to add to charming sticky bracelets.  Sweet! 

Check out this blog about Andy Goldsworthy sent from our lovely former Kindergarten Parent, Linda, and this NPR interview sent by another awesome K Parent, Jessica!   Thank you both for participating in our learning!

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