Experimenting with Materials

Current Projects in the Art Studio

Every day is different in the art studio, and yet every activity is created from the previous weeks interest. These interests can last months, and also differ from one art session to the next even with the exact same resources provided, the children decide the path to take each time. Our current interest is very much about art and materials and the way they interact with each other.
It all began in October, when pumpkins sparked a shape interest. The Art Studio was filled with circles, the roof, the walls, the floor, light projections, stencils, loose parts. We decided to look at an Artist who uses shape in their work, particularly the circle, and this lead us to Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
 We introduce our pre-schoolers to different artist to show them that all types of expressive arts are celebrated. It also encourages self-expression and creativity and can build confidence as well as a sense of individual identity.
‘Even a scribble is Art- (Ella 4)
Inspired by her simple technique, the children started realising that art doesn’t need to look a certain way. I lined the walls with white sheets and hung white paper and provided some sheets of stickers, and we created our own Dotty Room. Some children randomly stuck their stickers, others created patterns. They started seeing them selves as artists as we transformed the Art Studio into our own exhibition. The walls became our canvas…
Every circle meant something different to every child-
‘A thousand twenty million dots like stars’
‘That spins in circles’
‘Meteors from the sky’
‘A Roundabout’
‘Let’s cover the whole world in dots’
Fascinated still by Yayoi Kusama we had a look at pattern in art, however it seemed the children were focusing more on experimenting with art materials rather than the end result.
I purchased a range of media, oil pastels, paint, water colours and pipettes,  trialled various blending techniques. Painting with tea and coffee, herbs and spices brought in a whole new sensory experience.
This lead onto weeks of experimenting with inks, water and quills and almost like a science experiment we were figuring out how all the different mediums interact with each other. Even the type of paper they used changes how the inks soaked in and blended, and the use of salt removed some of the pigment.
The child’s voice-
‘Watercolours and inks won’t go on top of oil pastels…look it clears off, that’s kind of strange’
‘We’re making different kind of water’
‘Watch this, if you add purple, woah mine made bubbles!’
‘What happens if you mix this together and pour this in there?’
‘I think my picture’s going to explode in a minute.’
‘Ink is the best’
Part of me thinks this project could indeed go on forever, and in a way it can. There are a thousand possibilities when there is no set outcome, just a selection of paper, a range of materials, pipettes, paint brushes, spray bottles, and the curiosity of our preschoolers. This isn’t just about making art after all, its about gaining to confidence to explore, discovering how the world works, noticing that their voices are heard, their actions make a difference.