Batley Girls High School


Science Topic: Matter

Participants: Year 7

Artist: Fiona Goodwin

Cummins Buddy: Abdul Ishaq

We’re having fun creating some unusual structured surfaces, using a range of mixed media experimentation and techniques that show chemical and physical changes in matter. Our scientific experiments will drive us forward as we trial natural versus man-made, absorbent versus repellent, enlarging, layering and overlaying images alongside our experiments. We’re excited about discovering some happy accidents in our art too! We will document our results and creatively use them to inspire our final collection of Art Matters.

Session 1

Yes! We’ve started our project ART MATTERS and we’re already having fun! We are looking at States of Matter by doing an analysis of Solids, Liquids and Gases. There are lots of changes to observe, all at once, things seem to happen really quickly depending on the type of background material we’re choosing. We’re observing and comparing the way that materials behave as we use water based inks, testing them on different surfaces, some natural, some man-made, some of them wet, some dry. It’s interesting experimenting with table salt, epsom salts and white vinegar as we know what two of these things are but we can’t really predict what might happen at first.  Our engineer Abdul is great at helping us understand the chemical and physical changes that take place, explaining why things happen in the way that they do and we’re hoping in the next session to be able to repeat some experiments and learn a lot more.


The white ink went hard when I added it to the vinegar.

The outcome depends on the heat of the room or the container and the material which slowly gives the particles energy to separate.



Session 2

We split into three groups…Solids, Liquids and Gases. We don’t spend long getting stuck in as we’re thinking now in more detail about particles and how they’re positioned depending on their state. We are trying also to control our visual experiments and outcomes as we develop ideas around spacing and scale, formation on larger sample pieces, thinking carefully about the differences between particles as we do this and grouping them into their solid, liquid or gas phase. Colour is starting to emerge in some of the samples and test pieces but some we’ll have to wait a bit longer as they’re in the freezer until the next session!

Session 3

Without wasting any time we lay large blotting paper sheets in a long line, eager to monitor and the differences between our frozen ink and salt ice spheres as they change and melt, reacting to the temperature in the room. These spheres were created back in Session 1 and have been suspended in a frozen state now for two weeks, it will be interesting to see the colour breakdowns as each sphere is diffused across the surface by the salt we used in the pre-frozen solutions. We’re also looking more closely this week at the myriad of details found within the miniature world of crystals formed on our different material surfaces, these ranged between absorbent, repellent, pre-wet and some dry trials. It’s difficult to see these changes with the naked eye and we’re able to study them in much closer detail and magnified 2000x with the aid of a digital microscope. The transformation is amazing!  We revisit our sample collections and are delighted to explore everything on a much larger scale and chatter excitedly as we compare results. We’ve started to select and capture our crystal worlds in petri dishes, our final ideas for the finished pieces are starting to form and take shape.