The Corner Makes
Artwork using natural materials
This activity will see children creating their very own rubbings using a few simple instructions and natural and contemporary materials sourced from the park, backyard or around their house.
Many Traditional Torres Strait Islander artefacts and artworks are made from natural materials and are reliant on what sort of natural materials are available on the island. This activity will see children using the same concept of making artwork using natural materials such as leaves, ferns and other natural materials that can be sourced from their very own backyard or even contemporary materials around the house.
Design/drawing, collage, natural materials and art
Texture, pattern, colour
Rubbing materials: can be basically any materials from your garden, the park, the bush, anywhere around the place. Thick-ribbed fig-leaves work really well, though some leaves have too little texture, others too much [thorns!] and are not so much fun to rub. Succulents should be avoided, though other flat objects can be used such as: string, paper shapes, stickers, shed palm-frond bits, squashed (chicken) wire-mesh, etc...
Paper: Sizes are up to your discretion. For first-timers, and for individual take-home artworks A5 works well, enthusiasts can do larger, and A3 or larger is great for collaborative artworks. White paper is fine, different colours will make the difference between the two sides more striking.
Step 1: Introduction
Using the rationale, explain to children the concept of this activity. Many Torres Strait Islander traditional artefacts and artworks were made using natural materials or other materials that were sourced around the island.
- Did you know that many artists in the Torres Strait participated in an art project called the ‘Ghost Net Project’ where they made artworks from items washed up from the sea onto their shores? – explain how they are doing something similar by sourcing materials available to them.
- What sort of materials will you use?
- Where did you find them?
- Which materials are natural and which materials were made by people?
Step 2: Designing
Look at the materials that you have and talk about the kind of artwork that you are going to make.
- Are you going to use your objects to make a picture or a pattern?
- Do you think we could use these objects to make a picture of a boat? How would we do this?
- What else could we make?
Make sure you give children enough time to answer these questions and experiment with design before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Making
Select two pieces of paper and materials for your artwork. Using only one piece of paper create the collage using glue and collected materials.
- Ensure children use enough glue to have the object's entire surface sticking to the paper – but not too much - the glue makes the paper soggy.
Step 4: Designing
Once you are happy with your design, cover the entire paper sheet and collaged objects with glue. Then carefully line up the 2nd paper sheet on the short side of the paper, corner on corner, as exact as you can. Using the palms of your hands gently press the 2nd piece of paper onto the leaf collage sandwiching together.
- What does your image look like?
Step 5: Decorating
Ask children to think about what colours they would like to use in their artwork. It is important for children to understand that they are making individual artistic decisions and not just following a process.
Talk about the colours that they are using
- What colour is your favourite? Why?
- Can you find something in the room that is made out of that colour?
- Where can you find the colour in nature?
Using wax crayons lightly colour over the top of the paper – do this to both sides, you will see the difference in texture from side to side.
|Side 1||Side 2|
Look at both sides of the artwork
- How is each side different, if children do not notice point out the difference in pattern on each side of the artwork and talk about the different textures.
- Which side is your favourite?
Now your Artwork is complete!
- What will you do with your artwork?
- How do you think you could hang the artwork so that you could see both sides? Give children time to problem solve before offering any solutions.
- When offering some solutions ask children to think about the possible consequences e.g. Could we hang it on the clothesline? – What would happen when it rained?
- Double sided artwork is perfect for windows.
- Try out different pressures and different directions, make sure you make visible all the delicate details of your leaves by rubbing next to the big central stem, also, not just over the top of it!
- Try different colours on top of each other and see how they blend!
- Try using a different colour for all the areas without an object under the paper
Last updated: 23rd September 2011
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