Recently, I started thinking about where do people who love nature hang out. Thinking about this idea sparked another idea about being an Artist in Residence at a nature center. I could make art at that location and be surrounded by people who appreciate nature and actively seek to spend more time in nature. I thought about people I knew who could help me think more about this idea. I have a friend who I went to summer camp with as a child in Maine who lives in my local area. She works as the Outdoor Classroom Director for the local Montessori school. (How cool is that title!) So Montessori schools place a lot of emphasis on nature and being outdoors year round. This particular facility is fortunate enough to have a wetlands, prairie and woods on their property for their students.
My friend and I met a few times to talk about the possibilities and now I am the Winter Artist in Residence at the school for the next month. The school hosted a Meet the Artist event last week where I showed some of my art and talked to students about Connecting to Nature through Art, the name of my upcoming workshops. I had some examples of my EcoMemory artwork, View from the Dock which I included in the Studio Notes last week. In addition, I made an EcoMemory for my dear friend who works there titled Sandhill Cranes Landing. Based on some of the staff reactions, I think the idea of a custom piece of art from a special memory in nature is a powerful one.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be teaching workshops for elementary age children to think about their favorite place in nature and how it makes them feel. We’re going to use torn construction paper glued together on thick watercolor paper to create their special place in nature in art form. The torn paper is a process similar to my sewing solid fabric together. We use shapes and color blocks to evoke the image.
We’ll see what develops after these workshops; maybe a class for adults, maybe a session where I hang out in the woods and make art. This is the beauty of having creative friends because they’re open to possibilities and quick to support a vision of something totally new. Thanks to my dear friend and all the Montessori staff who made this possible.
I have a new EcoMemory project in the works involving palm trees and beaches. I am currently writing the EcoMemory Report outlining the fabric color palette and the design sketched on graph paper to get the go ahead from the client. I will start creating the piece next week. More on this in future Studio Notes