I've been working at Prenton High School for Girls over the last few years. As part of my role as artist in residence there I have started working with the girls on projects based around my work.
I was first asked to develop a project for a yr10 class based on my coral colony work last year. I have worked with two more groups of girls this year and the project has altered slightly.
My aim was to develop the students paper manipulating skills using cutting, sculpting, rolling etc whilst they studied the natural form of various corals. I demonstrate several ways of working with the girls, starting them off with simple forms and progressing to the more advanced, difficult techniques which they apply to their own work and adapt.
I was asked to work with two other classes at Prenton to show them how to create fungal pieces from paper in the same way as the coral. The girls were already working on a project so this is just an additional task to add detail to the lovely sculptural pieces they are already creating. They are producing a small sample piece measuring 9cm by 9cm using a tiny board that they are taking forward by reproducing the most successful fungi as detail on their sculptures.
For this stage of the project I showed the students additional altered paper manipulating techniques to the ones used on the tiles. In addition the sculptures look great lit up so the girls have to consider how they want them to look when applying the coral.
I based my demonstrations around these two fungi samples, limiting the use of colour to brown or white papers to keep the work looking natural. I also showed the girls some transferable techniques from the coral samples. But next time I will show my new altered book work as either open books or tree trunk book sculptures when demonstrating.
The first year they worked on cardboard plates measuring 15cm by 15cm. Unlike my work I wanted the girls to use colour in their work so that they could study living, diverse corals which could be represented using a variety of papers, textures and paint with the girls having to consider colour, shape and size combinations.
Then I introduced the last stage of the project, restricting the girls to using mainly white paper at this stage, bringing their work closer to mine and concentrating their attentions on the composition, detail etc for their final pieces. They had to focus their attention on perfecting the techniques they had learnt to the ones that work best and the ones which would enhance their sculptures. Although still beautiful this coral would represent the destruction of coral colonies and would reflect the harsh reality of what we are doingto this planet through the opposite of their tiles.
This year we have worked on coral pieces that have been applied to driftwood.