Post 13: ReCreate CPD Course 2019

This summer ReCreate’s CPD course ‘Teaching through Visual Arts using Creative Reuse’ ran from July 1st-5th and again from 8th-12th. The focus of the week-long course was to examine the 5 different strands of the visual art curriculum: drawing; colour; paint and print; construction; fabric and fibre The aim was to explore ways to introduce creative processes into learning environments using reuse materials.

This was our first year of running our CPD course from our new premises in Ballymount. We were delighted to have our new art room with lots of space for the participants to spread out and experiment.

Day one explored a variety of different drawing techniques, tools and approaches. Emphasis was on taking the fear out of drawing and driving home the idea, that drawing can be about so much more than a pencil and an A4 sheet of paper.

We began by making a large collaborative thread drawing. We then looked at mark making and adapting drawing materials to make them more accessible for those with special needs. In the afternoon, we explored drawing with scissors, by cutting a selection of shapes and lines, allowing us to create a series of abstract images. We also looked at using electrical tape to create linear composition. This approach allowed the participants to explore the drawing process without the pressure of ‘getting it right’ while also considering line quality, texture, depth and composition.

Paint and Print has always been a very enjoyable day on our CPD course, that encourages everyone to get their hands dirty. Beginning with a demonstration of simple colour theory, painting and print processes, the participants were then invited to explore this medium themselves. They spent the morning creating surface and texture, mono-printing and etching. In the afternoon we designed and made a collaborative printed fabric, whereby each participant designed and made a series of printing blocks. All working individually, they incorporated a wide variety of reuse materials in order to create interesting and unusual patterns. Their individual blocks were then used to print a collaborative finished piece.

Wednesday is construction day. We began with a discussion about the importance of using open-ended resources in children’s education. By allowing children the opportunity to simply sit and make, without any finished product in mind, can often yield the best results. It encourages children to think for themselves, use their imagination and initiative and most importantly teaches them that there is no right or wrong way to interpret the materials. We looked at many images of play spaces designed by ReCreate and used for a variety of festivals and events and discussed the benefit of using reuse materials instead of shop bought. Later that day, working in small groups of about 3/4 people we looked at storytelling techniques using 3D characters, props and dioramas.

Fabric and Fibre kept us all busy on Thursday. We looked at a variety of different processes that can be adapted to suit the age and ability of the children. Weaving, fabric collage, puppet-making and sewing were explored by all involved, as well as the benefit of using tactile and sensory fabrics and materials. This is often the most relaxing day of the week, where the participants really find their creative flow and become completely engaged with the process. This year was no different.

We continued to explore fabric and fibre the next day. Friday was also about compiling all the work produced during the week into a ‘portfolio’. The portfolio was designed by each person and could take the form of a book, a box, a bag. Each participant had to decide the best format to present their work. The aim of this was to store all work safely as well as creating a learning resource which could be referred to easily during the academic year.

I am happy to say 12 very impressive learning journals left ReCreate that afternoon! It was great to meet so many enthusiastic and creative educators who seemed to really understand the importance of creativity in learning environments, as well as the value of developing positive attitudes regarding sustainability and the environment within their classrooms

Fiona Harrington
Arts Officer 🙂

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