In the last few weeks I have been working with Year 4 children from Earlsfield and Beatrix Potter Primary Schools, creating word artworks on the theme of 'aspirational journeys'. As mentioned previously, this project is leading up to the STEP BEYOND temporary public art trail in Earlsfield which will be part of the Wandsworth Arts Festival and Fringe in May.
Collaborating with the very talented writer Sarah Butler (who recently published her first novel 'Ten Things I've Learnt About Love'), this project has brought together creative writing and mixed media art, taking a fresh perspective on words, while considering their relationship to space.
Following an introductory workshop looking at word artworks in public spaces by a range of artists, experimenting with font design and stenciling, the children were encouraged to think about aspirations, for themselves, for the world and for others.
They developed their ideas into a series of poems that included 'My Aspiration to be a Paleontologist', 'The Ice Cream Adventure' and 'If Everyone was Happy'.
Using a range of different materials suitable for outside including letter based toys from Fara charity shop and Sugar Bay Blue gift shop in Earlsfield, they then went on to construct their own word artworks for each school playground.
Activities have also included chalking selected phrases and creating short films documenting their work. In the last series of workshops they created temporary food artworks and collages using fast food packaging for two of the trail venues.
This has been a great experience for me, both in terms of working in my local area on a project that I have devised myself, and as an exciting opportunity to work alongside a writer. While I believe art should be all about breaking down perceived barriers, interdisciplinary projects such as this provide a unique opportunity to make learning a truly exciting experience. The real world is not divided into subjects with a sliding scale of accomplishment. As one boy said, it has taught him:
' You don't have to be good at art to be good at art'.
While I don't want to do myself out of a job - how right he is!