In April and May 2021, artist Lucy Hill led The Ark's Marvellous Stuff Neighbourhood Project, in which children from Presentation Primary George's Hill took part in online art workshops celebrating the extraordinary in ordinary STUFF we find all around us. Below, hear from Lucy how she inspired the children and how they got on creating their own amazing artworks...
After much planning, it was lovely to finally make a start with the children of Presentation Primary George's Hill and their teacher on our Neighbourhood Project, which I presented from my studio in Mayo via Zoom. The theme of the project runs alongside The Ark's current summer program, STUFF, which focuses on noticing and playing artistically with materials and objects both in our everyday environment and in our imaginations.
To begin, we made viewfinders to help us to look closely around the classroom, up high, down low, around corners and into things. We also looked at some artists work that use materials and objects in unexpected and playful ways. The children particularly enjoyed looking at the work of architect and designer Katerina Kaparani’s The Uncomfortable Project. This artist redesigns ordinary in unusual ways so that they might be thought about differently. Useful things such as wellies and forks are reimagined in her work as suddenly playful and entirely useless, which was a fun way to think about possibilities for our own work.
We made drawings of, and with, objects, as well as ‘blue-print’ crayon prints of our designs using an adaptation of a scraffito technique. This allows you to make repeat patterns with a single image, as another way to see and think about it artistically. In another session, we made clay sculptures. The children created imaginative new objects which they later painted, inspired by artists including Dusan Kusmic.
Finally, we thought about the very ordinary, everyday medium of light, and how it helps to illuminate, and distort how we see everything around us. We looked at more artists, including James Turrell and Helen MacMahon and made our own slides using cellophane to project light through and onto objects in the classroom, bringing them to life in new ways.
When the project workshops were complete, each child received a beautiful pack containing some of the art materials we used during the sessions so that they can continue their creative experiments. I would particularly like to thank The Ark team for the brilliant managing of the technicalities of all of the Zoom calls, all the children for engaging so enthusiastically with the project ideas and their teacher Treasa, who facilitated all of the workshop ideas and materials so beautifully in the classroom.
To see more artwork from the children of Presentation Primary George's Hill, you can visit our Neighbourhood Project gallery online here.
Our sincere thanks to our Neighbourhood Grant Funders at Dublin City Council for making this project possible.
Lucy was The Ark's inaugural John Coolahan Early Years Artist in Residence during 2018/2019. A visual artist, educator and researcher with particular interest and expertise in the area of early years visual arts education, Lucy has exhibited nationally and internationally and has won several public art commissions and awards. Her interest in early years visual art education began in 2003 when (inspired by her own children), she approached the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar to allow her to design a visual art program for two year olds which she subsequently delivered for ten years. Lucy has also been an ‘aterlierista’ (a type of artist in residence) with Woodland Park Preschool in Westport since 2007, collaborating on documentation projects, exhibitions, installations, toddler and sibling workshops, education programs for parents and educators, family art events and research. Lucy also works with agencies, consultants and institutions on long and short term early years projects that have culminated in interactive child friendly exhibitions. Her training and professional development in this area includes a study visit with Early Childhood Ireland to visit Reggio Emilia inspired preschools in Italy. Lucy is also currently working on a PhD research project at NCAD with an early years visual art focus. You can see some of Lucy's work at her website: https://www.lucyhill.ie/