This little article became the focus of our first online session. Mrs Hughes and I have decided to begin with ideas around BALANCE.
I found the TIME-BOOK in the old building that is now going to become the studio for myself and for a number of other artists in the PS2 Studio Group in Belfast. The building is from the 1880s and the book is actually dated 1904!
Last Monday I made a visit to the school and left the book with Mrs Hughes to allow each child to see, feel and smell the book:
Here are their responses:
Its a BALANCE book of sorts – it was used to record the hours and wages due to staff who worked there when the building was occupied by an oil and colour merchant! Not the sort of Balance I thought we might begin with, but this book set my ideas off for an exploration about the beautiful handwriting…
What sort of balance and control was necessary to keep the script within the lines! We decided to explore…
We began reflecting on the handwriting. The children said it was:
The children compared it to their own writing since they are just beginning to make joined up letters…we noticed that lots of letters were rounded like a loop. We tried to make the shape of a LOOP drawing the shape in the air with our finger.
Then we tried on large pieces of paper taped to the desks…
Some very amazing scribbles erupted everywhere!
Mrs Hughes was beginning to wonder where the loops were! We decided to try and control our efforts by using a smaller piece of paper and using different drawing / writing tools.
Using the whiteboard screen I showed the children some examples of CHINESE SCRIPT.
The children were very interested in these marks and lines. Some said they looked like figures of people doing martial arts! Or BALANCING! I invited the children to use paint and a brush to interpret their own versions of Chinese characters.
All I can say is that I was AMAZED at what happened next…
The children were delighted with their work and really enjoyed creating the Chinese letters.
I then showed them some ARABIC SCRIPT…
The children found these a lot more difficult to create and said they preferred the Chinese letters because they looked like pictures not letters. They enjoyed the challenge of trying something new:
THEY WROTE WITH PAINT
THEY USED RICE PAPER
THEY USED GOAT HAIR BRUSHES
THEY USED FOUNTAIN PEN
AND A CARTRIDGE PEN
A WOODEN STICK
It was definitely not like using a pencil!
We discussed the way we had used larger movement for the big loops and circles at the start and small movements for the Chinese script – using just our fingers and wrist.
Next time we plan to explore more around script, movement and balance. While the children were engrossed in their writing, I tried some things myself…