Field Lane Junior, Infant & Nursery School

Dappled Light

Science Topic: Light

Participants: Year 4

Artist: Fiona Goodwin

Cummins Buddy: Mayank Maolhotra

Inspired by light and its interplay on natural and geometric forms, we’re looking for changing qualities of light.  We’re analysing and observing how light falls, passes through things and how it behaves differently on different surfaces. There will be lots of playful experimentation and development as we look to enlarge, reduce and layer images. When light becomes dark we’ll emphasise the shadows and fill them in with different patterns, using shadows to frame things and emphasise what’s in the light.

Session 1

The room lights up with excitement and we’re ready to go. LIGHT, it fills up our day naturally and when it doesn’t we can create it artificially. We begin our creative investigation thoughtfully, looking together at images of dappled light and shadows. We think about how we can frame light and how it can be used to cast shadows, sometimes patterned. With opaque, translucent and transparent qualities in mind we split into different making groups:  How to emboss using punches and rubber mallets. We see that adding carbon paper to the mix allows us to create raised bumps, multiple images and embed shadows. We learn how to perforate using punches and riveters creating tiny holes and openings that we can pass light through onto different backdrops.  We also climb into the tent in the corner of the room for a darker space with different elevations.  How to rub patterns and embed into surfaces using relief textured fabrics, graphite and metallic surfaces. We’re recording our notes and observations as we find them in our reflective diaries and are keen to use our new creative and scientific vocabulary too.

I found the art day challenging. I liked the rubber mallet activity. We had to get a translucent piece of paper and with the mallet, we had to hit the metal bar on the paper. It made black marks at the back of the paper and I could see bumps later.

I liked the part when we designed the paper with holes and put it in the dark and shone the torch on the paper. I learnt that if you shine the light on a paper, it makes a shadow.

Session 2

Our emphasis for the session is to generate a broader range of marks on a much larger scale in order to create a more continuous image and layered design.  We’re using the same techniques from Session 1 but also have to create multiple pieces and have to work together collaboratively. Our new paper pieces are each about 3 metres in length. Dappled light conversations have taken place again as we try to picture ourselves in leafy glades as we move around the different table settings. Confidently we shape the work with more control. We can create so many layers at once, draw with rubbers and have learnt that light responds differently to different coloured backgrounds. There are so many people in the room and we are so well supported by our scientist, engineer, photographer, 6th form ambassadors, executive committee member, school staff, artist and all of us…30 young minds with 60 hands and all 10 digits intact! We are looking ahead now to the next session and sharing some more illuminating experiences!


I enjoyed it when we were rubbing with graphite sticks. I was amazed at how you could rub on foil and it made a pattern.

My best bit was when we had to rub the graphite sticks onto the opaque paper. We had to put a patterned material underneath. Surprisingly, on the hammer activity the back looked better than the front.

I enjoyed the hammering activity because we used carbon paper. I didn’t know what carbon paper was before.    

Sessions 3/4

Sadly, it’s our final session. Tthere are so many possibilities here for a range of quite different outcomes but we’ll have to prepare for one, or two..or maybe even three, we’ll see!  We begin our session imaginatively as we discuss our dappled light foliage pieces created last session as these have the potential to act as a backdrop to all kinds of insects, bugs, birds and plant life, all seeking a host environment. Inspired by visual references and with a keen eye for detail we start to draw using line and pencil initially, thinking about the scale, how we can enlarge and simplify areas before we eventually work any colour into them. Our images are to be translated onto transfer paper and fused onto stiffened fabric surfaces. These intricate outline shapes will then need to be carefully cut. Ironing and fusing these components together is so much fun and each piece is made up of layers of transfer print and bonded surfaces. The designs appear to come together quite quickly but the combination of skill required and heat of the iron is key.  Each piece is as unique as we are all individual in terms of colour and drawing style. Our imagination and creativity greatly enhances our work and.the results are beautiful and bespoke! These beauties will eventually become attached to our main host pieces, we can’t wait to see them come to life!


Today was a lot of fun, it felt good working like an artist- thumbs up!

I never thought that I would be ironing my artwork, but its true! 

The activity was difficult but I persevered.