Project: Stellar Journals
Participants: 24 Year 5 children
Partnering with: Brownhill St Saviours Junior
Artist: Lucy Bergman
We will be exploring the Change theme by each creating a visual and sculptural journal which captures how we look and feel at this point in our lives. Working with Lucy we will learn how to make a book with a difference, using unusual folds to produce a 3D shape. Over the weeks we will fill our books with photos and text capturing how we feel on particular days and even at particular times of the day. The plan is for our sculptural journals to be hung together to create an amazing three-dimensional installation for the exhibition.
Session 1 – 11th February
Today’s session was really great! There was an instant buzz of excitement and enthusiasm in the room and the Year 5’s were all raring to get started. We talked a little about journals and what forms they can take and the group had some insightful comments to make about why they felt keeping a journal was useful and important.
We paired the children up and gave them a camera between two. The children were tasked with taking photos of themselves but focussing on details such as one eye or their hand, shoe, shirt collar. We worked outside and inside the classroom and this enabled the children to capture pictures of other things that were important to them such as their drawings, belongings and schoolwork. After the photos were snapped we started work on constructing the book covers and pages that the photos will be fixed into.
The children worked really precisely, with utmost care and they listened well, asked questions and helped one another. Lucy – artist
- The task was all based around a personal journal of the children.
- The children discussed what a journal was and who would have one.
- The class discussed the differences between a diary and a journal.
- Lucy explained that they were going to be making their own 3-D journal with pictures that are of them. However, instead of just pictures of themselves (their faces), they had to take pictures of different parts of their body as well as things they were wearing ( hand, feet, nose, ear, scarf, hat, school badge etc.)
- Children worked in pairs taking 24 photos each, both indoors and outside.
- Lucy took the photos away to organise, ready for when she returns the next time
- The children then went on to do some paper folding to make pages for the 3-D book. They found this challenging but fun!
- They then went on to choosing a front/back cover (different coloured shiny paper) for their book which they stuck onto card.
- The children were fully engaged with the task and enjoyed themselves. As the project is so personal to them, they are all excited about the end product and can’t wait to finish the booklets so they can take them home!
“I’ve never really used a camera before and it was nice to have time to try out lots of different things”
“I liked thinking about how to show myself without taking pictures of my face“
“I learned how to fold paper carefully and I learned how to make a book”
“I enjoyed making the journal and my favourite part was when we took photos”
“I loved making the book, wish we could have carried on”
“I enjoyed dabbing the glue on the boards then putting it on the sheet of paper. I also enjoyed the part where we took photos of us in the playground”
“I found the session with Lucy very beneficial because after we finish making the journal, it will be something memorable for me to keep”
“I thought the task was amazing! I have never made anything like that before. I can’t wait till we finish them so I can show everyone. Also, I can’t wait to go to the art gallery”
“I enjoyed folding the paper and I enjoyed gluing even more because my hands got sticky”
“I loved folding the paper, I would definitely do it again”
“I cant wait to finish my book so I can keep it for when I am older, so I can show everyone”
Session 2 – 7th March
The children looked through all their photographs today taken last session, 650 images in all! We worked together to make composition decisions based on colour, shape and theme and decided which photos would go where inside their book pages. We carefully trimmed and stuck photos onto our book pages and then finished off the book covers. It was a day of quite intensive and focused working and the time just flew by. Lucy – artist
“I didn’t think I could work this neatly, look how straight my cutting is!”
“I can’t wait for my book to be finished, it looks good already.”
Session 3 – 21st March
Another fantastic session today, this group of children work so hard and with such care that they really are a joy to be around!
We finished sticking their photos into their book pages today and then finally stuck the pages together to create beautiful 3D star shaped books.
The children then took a little time to answer some questions about themselves, which we typed up, printed out and cut into individual sentences, which the children stuck on top of their photographs. Lucy – artist
“Look at my book; it’s brilliant!”
“I wish we could do this project again; I’m going to make another book when I get home.”
“I never thought I’d make something so good, I thought it would be difficult but it was easy.”
A final word from staff…
“Before the project the children had a perception that photography was not art. However, the journals (folding books) have challenged that perception and now the children can accept the fact that art is not just about painting, drawing and model making, but goes much further than that.”
“I feel the journal activity could be part of an ongoing process, as it lends itself nicely to other areas of the curriculum especially literacy. Writing diaries and blogs would be a great way of building on what children have done in the project.”
” I would like to thank everyone involved in the organisation of this project. Children and staff thought it was one of the best art projects that we have ever completed. Also Lucy was an inspiration to our children and her manner with the children was fantastic. The children often ask me if we can do it again, I think that speaks volumes about the success of the project. We look forward to working with you again.”