Laois Artists in Schools 2020/2021
Slow art-making project with Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Mountmellick
Ms. Greene’s Fifth Class and I spent a number of weeks walking the Owenass river track in Mountmellick town. The project was based on slowing down, on thinking about our place in nature, and on tuning into our senses: looking, listening, feeling. It culminated in an exhibition of photography and poetry along the walk.
Before we set out, we played visual scavenger hunts in the school yard, training our eyes to look at things in greater detail, to notice objects and elements in the environment we might at first overlook. We made handmade origami field journals in the classroom to collect our observations. We spent time photographing nature in close-up. Drawn from the observations and language bank they accumulated in their journals over the weeks, the boys’ wrote poems in a Japanese haiku-style, written to be read in a single breath. Their photographs invited viewers to get as close to nature as they did when composing them, to look in detail at things we might not see in our busy day-to-day lives.
In exhibiting their work, the boys hoped that other walkers might be inspired to slow down, to stop along the river, to notice something they had never noticed before, to feel like they were walking the path for the very first time.