Project: Collaborative Mark-Making – Playing with Light
Participants: Year 2 pupils
Partnering with: Park Road JI&N
Artist: Fabric Lenny
Science topic: Light
Using the theme of Light as a starting point we will explore the relationship between objects and shadows through a series of collaborative and playful activities which will transform the classroom environment into a mini art lab. This approach will encourage us to experiment using a variety of art materials, light sources, projectors, iPads and cameras as we explore the relationship between light and shadow, black and white and positive and negative. We will collectively investigate a variety of traditional mark-making techniques whilst seeking out interesting ways of making marks, shapes and patterns using light and shadow.
See the video of our visit to MOSI here (large file).
See the video of our change project experience here (large file).
This morning we had a great time playing with torches and doing lots and lots of drawing. To start with the room was blacked out with black paper and all the windows were covered. It looked so different when we first came in. Then we talked about lights and the shadows they create. We sat on the floor in the dark and compared different kinds of lamps and torches. We noticed how each of them had a different type of light. We then worked in small groups to explore the dark classroom with only our torches. It was great fun! Then we got our hands on lots of art materials. We used pens, brushes, water, watercolour pencils and wax to make drawings on paper, again in the dark classroom using only torchlight. By the end of the lesson we had a gallery of nearly 100 pictures that looked really good!
“It’s making a flower!”
“If I move my torch away, the pattern is clearer”
“When I shine my light through my water bottle it makes different patterns on the ceiling”
“The shadows keep changing every time I move the torch”
“When you do it on something glass, it reflects”
“The shadow of the legs is longer when the light is lower”
“Today’s session was fab. Children and adults loved it!” Aneesa Rawat
“Brilliant! What a star Fabric Lenny is. Our children were totally engaged – awe and wonder in action. Can’t wait for next session!” Hilary Towers-Islam
When we came back to the classroom after lunchtime everything had changed. The tables and chairs had gone, and the whole room was covered in white paper. This was going to be the biggest drawing we had ever done! We used a projector to blow up some of the drawings we made in the first session to wall size and drew over them. We had to really stretch to reach some of the high bits, and some of us had to stand on a table. We then moved to the floor and painted in torchlight, exploring how different shapes cast shadows. We drew the shadows as the torch beams moved around the shapes to make crazy patterns. We used a variety of art materials to make portraits of each other in tones of grey, and worked with the spaces between our drawings to link them into one big image. Phew!
“Trying to hold the torch still while our partners drew the shadows was difficult, but the patterns we made were worth it”
“The kaleidoscope torches made great patterns and were fun to draw over”
“Children who were wearing stripy socks got to work on the big projected drawings first”
This was our final session and again it was a frenzy of drawing activity. We wanted to have at least one huge drawing complete by the end of the session and ready for the exhibition. We worked collaboratively with the various techniques we had used so far. We worked in full light, with light from the OHP and with just torchlight. The drawings filled the classroom. (Every time you look at the drawings you can see something new. They are crammed with fun and exciting images and patterns). We also experimented with the OHP and projected our drawings onto the classroom and on to our white shirts. We were covered in ink by the time lunch came around, some of us had soggy socks, some of us were tired, but we had all taken part in creating huge and fantastic artwork using lots of fantastic techniques, and we found out about light along the way.
“This is our lab. We have some pens, torches, pencils and water. This is where we do our experiments”
“I loved drawing on the walls and the carpet. I’ve never done that before”
“I learnt continuous line drawing, that’s when you draw without taking your pen off”
“I loved drawing faces and patterns everywhere. There were so many drawings when we finished”
“I loved working in a dark classroom and drawing everywhere. It was so much fun”
“I can’t wait to see our work in the gallery”
“I’ve learnt about light and shadows. I know how to do continuous line drawing”
Children and staff have thoroughly enjoyed their sessions with Fabric Lenny. We have got lots out of it, both creatively and scientifically. Children have picked up lots of different creative skills and are still experimenting and practicing these techniques. They loved Fabric Lenny’s mark making style and loved using new creative mediums such as water, felt pens and wax.
One of the main benefits from these sessions was that children got to experience working in a completely dark room (something we have never done!). There was a sense of awe and wonder and children were completely engaged in their learning. They realised that art isn’t just drawing something that is in front of them, they can create all sorts of different patterns from shapes, shadows and lines.
When we visited the exhibition, I opened the doors to the exhibition and you could hear a chorus of ‘WOW’s!’ The children were just amazed to see everyone’s work on display but especially loved seeing their own work. All the staff who visited loved the exhibition. Some of the comments they made: ‘There’s just so many lovely things to look at’; ‘All the work is just amazing, such high quality outcomes’; ‘Wow! It’s so lovely seeing all the amazing artwork on display!’ ‘There was such a lovely range to look at and it was lovely to see work from children of different ages. I came out with lots of ideas!’