For the past few years I have introduced 4th graders to Andy Goldsworthy, since I believe his artwork creates a nice connection to their social studies curriculum. While they are busy studying different areas of the earth up in their classrooms, they are creating art using materials from nature down in the art room.
Andy Goldsworthy is a sculptor, a photographer and an environmentalist. He creates sculptures using the materials that are provided in the nature setting that he is in. He uses leaves, rocks, sticks, sand, dirt, thorns, ice, snow, berries, blades of grass and even his own spit (as we found out after reading a book on his process) to assemble his delicate sculptures. Here are a few examples of his work:
Since we lack the same access to cross-continent environments, I employed the “fake it til you make it!” attitude that led the students to success. Local craft stores offer a wonderful supply of fake, and sometimes real, nature. I brought in rocks, sand, beach glass, leaves, sticks, grass, shells, flowers and moss for the students to work with.
We discussed simplicity, balance, minimalism and impermanence – as they pertained to Goldsworthy’s artwork, and to their own.
Students had the opportunity to play with the materials for as long as they needed before composing their final sculpture.
Click on a photo to begin slideshow: