What draws on wood? Anyone who has had to bear witness to my love of stationary and art materials won’t be surprised by the fact that I’ve been asking myself this question. I’ve been rummaging through my supply cupboard to experiment. All of these pictures are on dry wood and I’ll explain some pros and cons I’ve come across.
Pro: You probably have some. Cheap. Lots of colours. Works OK on green wood too.
Cons: Not very crisp results.
I was really inspired recently by a great whittling project. So much so I’ve been making these all week!
Here’s a lovely thing to do over the fire. I did a bit of metal casting when I studied metalwork in my teens and it feels like alchemy every time you cast metal. [..read more..]
Occasionally I see a craft technique and think to myself “I can’t wait to take that to the woods!” So it was when I attended a textile workshop with Larry Schmidt at the North House Folk School. He specialises in traditional Scandinavian textile techniques that were brought to America by the first settlers and the have wonderful names like flettet snor, frynseflet, bregdet band and rundflet snor. [..read more..]
I have spent an inspiring couple of days in Scotswood Natural Community Garden. It’s a stunning place on so many levels; just two to three acres in very urban part of Newcastle, thriving with trees, flowers, birds, insects, foxes, ponds and people. [..read more..]
There is a really fascinating process you can do with fire that is basically making charcoal but without any wood… [..read more..]
There is something about playing in the woods, exploring, experimenting that really stimulates discoveries. I remember when I was a teenager reading about oak gall ink in a book on art techniques but I hadn’t tried it until today. [..read more..]
I was asked to bring something to share at my recent visit to Wood School. I haven’t made these alder bees with a group for years despite having all the bits in a nice little cigar box ready to go. [..read more..]
Last year I learnt to make these little wooden birds from a local coppice worker. They are made from a single carved forked stick. [..read more..]
Every year we had make most of our Christmas gifts. My nieces and nephews are getting to an age where we can really really enjoy making stuff for them. I wanted to make a den building adventure kit for my oldest nephew. I had some ideas but I knew the Forest Education Initiative Facebook page would come up with more. They are a real source of inspiration and support for lots of people who work outdoors with children. [..read more..]
I have set myself a creative challenge over on my Facebook page. Every day in December so far I have added a new winter festive craft made from things from the woods to a folder full of photographs.
Here’s a round up of my daily ideas so far. [..read more..]
I’ve written before about building rope bridges among the trees and how fantastic they are for children’s motor development, encouraging social skills and confidence and being loads of fun. [..read more..]
This is one of those things that I have been wanting to try for a while. I was invited to join a school’s staff Easter egg decorating competition. So I took the opportunity to dye some eggs using natural materials. [..read more..]
Stacey’s hapa zome with clover, dandelions, grasses, berries and petals
This is a wonderful creative technique that I often share with participants on training courses and with the children I work with. This week someone on a course made something so beautiful it reminded me I wanted to share this a bit more widely. [..read more..]
One of the elements I find really rewarding about working with lots of different groups of children and adults in different contexts is that the ideas and inspiration that develops with one group feeds into another and I often find themes emerging at certain times. [..read more..]
Making Popcorn on a Fire
I took my fire top popcorn maker with me to the woods this week. Had I known it would be it’s last outing, I might have marked its passing in some way. The children were intrigued by the popcorn maker. A conversation I had with a group of 9 and 10 year olds went a bit like this: [..read more..]
Click image for a larger version
I’ve been mulling over in my mind whether I should write a ‘how to’ for making simple animations. This is mostly because I am still learning and trying things out myself, but, it is so exciting I just have to tell you where I have got to so far. [..read more..]
Laying a trail improves empathic skills
I remember back to when I first started working with children, and I remember distinctly the first group of children I ever took into the woods. We followed a trail that was marked with posts and signs and the children loved running from one signpost to another, checking that we were following the right symbols and always waaaay ahead of me. [..read more..]
Shrunken apple heads – not as gruesome as the ones at the Pitts River museum!
In my early twenties I used to go to Oxford once a fortnight and my treat was to go to the Pitt Rivers museum of anthropology. I was always fascinated by the shrunken heads from the Amazon Basin. When I found a how to in an old craft book I had to have a try. [..read more..]
Building rope bridges encourages team working, problem solving and physical development
These last few months have seen an increase in the number of rope bridges I have been making with Forest School
groups. It is interesting to notice how each group takes the same basic springboard and has their way of using it. [..read more..]