The Wild, White, Woolly Sky

Thursday, 9th March 2006


Here are the few sketches I had the chance to do this morning when I was leading three workshops at Waterton Junior and Infant School at Lupset, Wakefield. As with the library workshops last week, I started by taking the children outside, to the muddy grass and trees of the school grounds, then brought them back into the classroom to draw the leaves and twigs they'd collected, and a tree seen through the window. I set them off to do a little writing, using their imagination on the brief notes they'd taken outside and to finish the session I offered to do a quick drawing of a subject the children suggested (a person, a duck, a dog and a cat).

Bird's Eye View

We were lucky with the three short sessions outdoors as the children got a good view of the following:

The first class saw a frog, sitting by itself in a corner by a wall. While looking at the sky with the next class, a black-headed gull flew lazily over the school. As I talked to the third class, a carrion crow flapped purposefully over us and perched in the top of the tree next to us.

I asked the children of the first class to draw the world as a lost frog might see it, the second class to picture what the black-headed gull might see as it glided above the school grounds while the third group drew the crow; most children showed it either looking for worms or building a nest.

To get them writing, I asked them to describe the sky:

'I've written that the clouds are soft as wool,' said one girl.

Then a boy came to me and said: 'I've written "The sky is as white as Mr Bell's beard."'

This will be my last workshop with children for a long time! Next Page

Richard Bell,