Sunday, 23 April 2017

Last chance......

Last week was spent helping deliver 'The Nature Collector' school holiday workshops for children at the National Museum of Australia, as reported in an earlier post. Despite thinking I might be out of my depth trying to inspire four-year-olds in the joys of making rocks and seaweed out of tissue paper, it was actually awesome!

Firstly, the children and their adult escorts went to view the two seaweed albums held by the NMA that I have been researching - The Port Phillip album and The Port Arthur Album. Although these were housed in a glass case, everyone really responded to the colours and fragility of the preserved specimens. Then everyone headed back down to the main foyer where the workshops began.

Welcome to the Workshop! - Ally, Sasha and Amanda from NMA
This program was so engaging we had parents and children, grannies and friends all exploring different ways of representing nature - from sitting and drawing, looking at details through a light microscope, developing sun prints (cyanotyping) of nature arrangements, and helping to make a collaborative underwater collage of seaweeds.

Part of the collaborative seaweed collage
In the first week of the holidays I was in Ballarat at a fibre retreat, but also investigating another seaweed album, at the University so my good friend, sculptor Mary Kayser, started off making the seaweed collages with the children.

There were two workshops a day and there were 30 children per workshop (plus adults and littlies).
Each panel of the seaweed collage measured approximately 2 metres x 90 cm and each day we stuck the panel up onto clear glass barriers so the light could filter through.  By the second week we had started attaching the panels to the other side of the glass, so it became much more layered and complex.

Part of the final collage - thanks to everyone who contributed!  

It was an exhausting week, but I was surprised at how quickly the time went during the workshops - we just became absorbed in the task, and I hope I have inspired some up and coming marine biologists, phycologists, scientists or artists through my own artworks on display and also the workshop.

MOST IMPORTANTLY......The seaweed albums are only up for 2 more days at the NMA, so its your last chance of seeing them before they are housed safely back in their archival boxes. Who knows when they will be on view to the public again?

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