I carefully harvested the dried stalks from my day lilies and stored them in the shed. In early October, I brought bags of these tall lightweight “lines from nature” into my art room. For my kindergarten students, I cut a variety of lengths of lines for them to play with. From first grade on, I taught the students to cut their own lengths of stalk. The students were motivated and excited to explore ways to build with these lines. The idea of a log cabin or house seemed the prevalent theme even though I made no such overt suggestion. In my brief demonstration, I also showed the students how to “draw a line of glue” on the paper and lay the stalk on top, pressing for “the count of ten” or until the stalk begins to adhere.
I chose the colors orange, yellow and brown construction paper for the background, although a few students preferred white. My third grade students had been lobbying me to bring out the clay, so all of the 3-D work in the gallery was done by these third grade sculptors. Because the stalks are lightweight, students were able to achieve structures of great height. The mexo white air drying clay worked well to hold the stalks in place. Later, some students chose to paint their constructions.
As this blog is an interactive site, I look forward to hearing comments from others working with children in early childhood and/or art contexts!
I will be thinking about how I can extend this experience with next year’s garden harvest. I welcome your ideas, responses, and suggestions.