Thursday, 19 November 2015

Clay Leaves

While flowers often enchant me with their colourful blooms, heady scents and amazing forms, I find leaves, in all their amazing shapes and shades of green, just as captivating.  

So, a little while ago, when asked to work on an Art project with a beautiful class of children who were learning about all of the different leaf shapes, I was rather excited to share my enthusiasm for leaves with them. 

Inspired by the beautiful clay leaf garland I found here, the children collected different leaves from around their school. (Passionfruit vine leaves were very popular!) After identifying the different shapes of their leaves, uisng this chart, they pressed them into the air drying clay they had rolled out. Very delicately then, they lifted each leaf out of the clay to reveal the intricate prints left behind. With great care, they cut around the margins of their leaves and left them to dry. A few days later, using various shades of green and brown watercolours, they painted their dry clay leaves and watched with fascination as the watercolour spread out following the impressions left by the veins of the leaves. Once dry, each leaf was given a protective coat of a sealant I made with a mixture of PVA glue and water. This made their colours darken and shine. When dry, each leaf was then strung onto a garland and secured with two tiny wooden beads I reclaimed from an op-shop necklace.

Lovely leaves in an old cane basket.

The children were so excited to be part of this project and became so much more aware of the very simple beauty and diversity in the leaves that surround them.  They were so proud of their individual leaves and delighted by their collaborative garland when it was put up in their environment. It's rather beautiful, don't you think?

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