Sunday, September 18, 2011

Creatures in our ocean

The last day of term and as usual this is a fun class with a focus on 'the group'.

We began with a game of 'pencil tag', where each person begins by drawing their own safe space on a large (communal) sheet of paper. Then the game begins as one person/pencil moves out of their safe space and around the page whilst doing their best to avoid being 'tagged' by another pencil! Returning to their safe space means they cannot be tagged. With 11 players all leaning over the paper, the CK's soon realised that you needed to allow space for others, or we couldn't all play.

Staying with the group theme we moved all materials and rugs out of the way to created an 'ocean' with flowing fabric and movement. We considered what we were in the ocean. There were vibrant mermaids, fast sharks, and vocal sea monsters in the turbulent ocean. For a few of us more quiet creatures we decided we needed a quiet space. The pile of cushions became our rocks and slowly a group of quiet ocean creatures gathered together.

The CK's then drew their ocean creatures, considering the qualities. Were they large, small, fast, slow, quiet or loud... These were created, decorated, cut-out and then placed on the 'ocean' fabric.

Cushions were added, as the rocks and cellophane as seaweed. The ocean quickly started to develop two areas. A safe, quiet space was needed for the quiet ocean creatures, consisting of the smallest fish in the sea, a small seahorse, a fish who likes quiet 'shhhh!' There were also the ocean creatures who liked both (loud and quiet) but felt like quiet today. These included a larger seahorse, a mermaid and the Queen of mermaids (self appointed). At the other end of the ocean the shark, the King of sea monsters (also self appointed) and his friend also a sea monster, caused turbulence and 'roughed-up' the sea.

The quiet characters of the ocean soon discovered that they need to protect their space. They used chairs and rugs to create a 'safe space'. The littlest and quietest creatures were placed under the chairs. Signs were placed to let the loud creatures know what they needed, but also at what point noise and craziness was allowed – a large black 'rock' was also placed as a signpost.

We then called a 'ocean council meeting' to discuss matters in the ocean. Each ocean creature had a chance to say what it was like for them in this ocean. What we came to know was that sometimes we have similarities in a group and sometimes we have differences. What some find fun others find annoying or frustrating. We can all swim in the same ocean so long as we create safe spaces for ourselves. How true.

I would just like to add an acknowledgment to 'My Art to Inspire',, a fantastic website/space for creatives to come together and share ideas. Both the 'tag drawing' and 'ocean' ideas came from this site – although adapted slightly. Credit where credits due. A.

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