District in Bloom Competitions- Why not try an ‘Andy Goldsworthy’?

Over the past few years, Skyswood have entered the St Albans Primary Schools District in Bloom competitions. This year, despite the outbreak of Covid-19, the St Albans District and City Council have decided to keep THREE categories of their competition open in a bid to encourage children to engage with nature and take part in some outdoor and nature related activities during this difficult time.

Two of these categories are to grow a giant sunflower (Super Sunflower Challenge), or to grow some ‘garden giants! (large fruit or veg). The second just reminds me of the ‘That’s Life’ TV programme back in the seventies, where people sent in photos of enormous carrots or strange-shaped potatoes! If any children or families would like to take part in either of these two categories then they should send photos (plus measurements of their sunflowers, vegetables or fruits) to greenspaces@stalbans.gov.uk by Friday 18th September 2020.

It is the third category, ‘Crafting Nature’ that really interests me in terms of a fun home learning activity that would be accessible to children from early years right through to Year 6, and could also be great fun as a collaborative family activity.

The ‘Crafting Nature’ poster features some beautifully hand-painted patterns on leaves, which could be a great activity in itself. However, I would love to direct children to the work of Andy Goldsworthy. We study Goldsworthy within school. He is an artist who takes his inspiration from nature, colour and pattern. Goldsworthy will often make beautiful arrangements of coloured leaves, pebbles, shells, stones or any natural objects. (A bit like the fun you’d have on the beach when you might make a giant crab out of coloured shells!). Goldsworthy photographs his art, placing his ‘sculptures’ in carefully selected natural environments.

We are looking to update some of our framed artwork in the school library so I would love to select about ten ‘Goldsworthy-style sculptures’ and colour copy the images in A3, then mount them beautifully and have our own ‘Crafting Nature’ Goldsworthy-style exhibition in the library. We will of course enter your artwork into the St Albans District in Bloom competition as well.

So please have a go at a Goldsworthy-Style creation and send me a picture at head@skyswood.herts,sch.uk. I will enter all of your pictures into the competition, choose ten to frame and display, and make a special certificate for anybody who takes part. The deadline is the end of June, so I’ll have time to copy and mount the pictures and create a stunning display for the start of our next academic year.. I have uploaded several examples of Goldsworthy’s sculptures. You could use leaves, pine cones, seeds, shells, stones, flowers, feathers… anything natural.

One little reminder for safety reasons, remember that some plants are poisonous and some seeds may contain saps that could trigger allergies, so be careful when considering which natural objects you choose for your artwork. Here are some examples to hopefully give you a few ideas:

Patterned sculpture using sticks, leaves and pine cones.
Sticks assembled around a hole in a tree!
Coloured leaves around a hole in the ground.
Broken pebbles arranged in a spiral.
Pebbles arranged, light to dark, around a hole in the ground.
Fiery coloured leaves, light to dark, around a hole in the ground.
A snake trail of leaves with interesting pattern and colour.
Circle leaf pattern around a hole.
Beautiful arrangement of leaves using colour, size and shape
Twigs and slates
Another leaf-inspired pattern
Leaf snake in the woods!
Ferns. This time using a square shape!
An imaginative ‘bundle’ of leaves.
Fun with feathers!
Twigs and pebbles