Happiness = Our Nature Playground

 Fabric Color Palette for this EcoMemory

Fabric Color Palette for this EcoMemory

I am back in the studio after a month break. My current project is an EcoMemory artwork commissioned by three families for a local Montessori school. This EcoMemory project was offered as a fundraising opportunity for families to donate money to the school and purchase a custom piece of art that will remain in the school. The subject matter of this EcoMemory project is to capture these 5 children’s favorite places in their nature playground. This school is fortunate enough to have a wooded area, a creek, wetlands and a prairie area. This is the last phase of my Artist-in-Residence at this same local Montessori school.  You can read more about it HERE and HERE. It has been a great adventure working with the staff and students at the school.

 Big trees assembly in progress

Big trees assembly in progress

Phase 1 of this EcoMemory project was to meet the five children whose families bought the commission. It was truly a magical visit because they took me on a tour of their nature playground favorite places and shared fabulous details of what it’s like to be a child at recess at the school. I got to see it through their eyes.  I felt like I was 10 years old again. I heard about their forts, how they take chestnut shells and use them to give water and food to the rust and black fuzzy caterpillars. The stories were simply fantastic. I heard about their trading system with the currency of sticks, a certain kind called Redwood and Chestnut shells.  My favorite part was the role reversal where they were the experts showing me their special places. Once we returned from our tour, the students created a torn construction paper artwork of their special place and how it makes them feel. The word HAPPY kept coming up...like, the trees make me happy and when I am running I like the wind in my face, and running makes me feel happy.

Phase 2 is when I create the artwork based on their input. I have written an EcoMemory Report for the school with my color palette and design. I am still in the artwork assembly phase. I have sewn the sections separately and then will sew each section onto a 34” square piece of muslin. The last step is to wrap the  sewn artwork around the stretched canvas. It is a big 30” square canvas. This piece is the first large EcoMemory I have designed and it is both challenging and very exciting at the same time.

I go back to the school this week for the Phase 3 where the students help me add the matt board backing to the canvas, add a sawtooth hangar, and create a label. Explaining my design for the artwork to all the students and sharing the inspiration I gathered from all 5 children is going to be awesome!!

I will share the finished project next week. You may have guessed the title...

Happiness = Our Nature Playground