Making and animating Forest Creatures

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Most of the children have now completed their Forest Creature sculptures, using assemblage techniques and a natural pallette. Most have also animated these using the stop motion gear that I set up in the Ellipse room. Documentation of this process, and some of the results are shown below. Our documentary photographers were the children themselves – thus expanding their technical capabilities in working with the cameras as well as developing their aesthetic skills.

Since, for privacy reasons, the photos can’t show the children’s faces I’ve tried to find those that convey their engagement, concentration and excitement in what they were doing through hands and body language. The photos selected show the process of Making the Forest Creatures: our pallette (from the forest), making wings, the Forest Creature sculptures themselves, reflections and discussions such as how the light affects the sculptures… as well as the process of animating.

Thaumatropes of Winged Creatures

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Most of the children have now completed their Thaumatrope drawings. These drawings are based on a template sheet that I made. This uses a branch on one side, inspired by Joel M.’s thaumatrope discussed here in an earlier post. The children were asked to draw a winged creature on the other circle, and they could develop the branch or winged creature as they wished. They also have a second pair of circles if they wish to make a second Thaumatrope, with whatever content they desire. The variety of ‘winged creatures’ is pretty impressive, ranging from birds to insects, planes and more creative, imaginative creatures… even some that could be Forest Creatures like the assemblage they are currently animating. The results are shown below. I will update this post with the remaining students’ images who haven’t done theirs yet, over the next couple of weeks.

Over the coming weeks they will be cutting out the circles and gluing them onto the sticks to make the completed Thaumatropes. For sticks we will be using unsharpened, round pencils…

Day 4: Forest Creature Sculptures Stage 1

This week students took one of their found objects from our first excursion to the Kedron Brooke area, and developed this into wings. I had them trace this object on the fold of some tracing paper, then cut out and “work it up” into a set of symmetrical wings. This could involve gluing some broken leaves in between the papers; an effect that will enhance the wings and refer to the ‘membrane’ quality of insect wings such as cicadas that we had looked at in class. This is particularly the case when the çreatures’ are animated, since they will be backlit during the process, creating a delicate, transparent quality to the wings. This also resonates with some of the students experiences with dappled light coming through the quandong leaves during their first excursion (described in an earlier post “Teacher Reflections” by teacher Jackie Semple).

The process of making the wings also involved preparing them for subsequent animation. I had prepared some wire armatures and so these were also glued to the inside of the wings. We will use stop motion animation techniques later on to move the wings by moving the armatures.

The completed wings will be added to the original traced object. Thus each creature involves using a natural form in different ways, repeating its shape. So we are building on previous investigations of symmetry to create repetition and in working with repetition of elements we contribute to that creature’s visual unity and harmony. This is one way in which I’m introducing them to compositional concepts (i.e. unity, harmony, repetition).

We are also building on previous investigations of the value of found objects (natural objects) with which to make art, and how interpretation and ways of seeing play a role in selecting these, recognising them, and in making and appreciating art.

Examples of student wings are below. Here the glue is still drying, hence the pegs! You can also see how one pair of wings that were created using a Bohenia leaf are transparent when held against the sunlight.