Monday, 10 June 2013

The Love Tree revisited

In January February the children and I embarked on a art-philosophy or a philosophical artwork together where we discussed what LOVE was and how we could transform these ideas of love into art... our LOVE TREE came into being...

you can read about it


Unfortunately there have been a few weeks of troubles in Stockholm (you might have read about it or seen it on the news) and our preschool had the misfortune of being a part of that - luckily it was just one window that was smashed (and fortunately just the outer glazing) - but not so luckily it was the window where our Love Tree was...

Last week the window was replaced and we had to take down all the parts of the love tree... I put them to the side and today I presented them to the children with the task of creating something new with them...


here is the original Love Tree - with snow in the background (so glad THAT is gone and the green has returned)
I placed the parts onto the table with a long piece of paper... the children started by sorting all the parts - hands, hearts, butterflies, footprints etc - I had also "thrown in" some grass or long green strands. Once we had sorted everything we moved the project onto the floor where it was easier for everyone to work together. I asked if they had a plan... how were we going to position everything... yes I have a plan, I have a plan, and I have a plan... but not one plan could be verbalised or shown - so it was decided that we start with the  footprints and work out a way from there...
It was an intense session there was a lot of "me, me , me" and not very much "we" so there are not many photographs... as all my energy was needed with the children to listen, to support, to remind that we are working together and that we are sharing and that is part of LOVE... but I guess they were just not feeling the LOVE today. So this got me thinking - could this be partly due to the fact we have just had a long weekend (most children have had 4 days off in connection with Sweden's National Day) would it have been better to have had this session on another day where there was more we and not quite so much me?
Anyway - they enjoyed learning a new technique - of making "bridges" with the green grass/strips (they had been pre-painted with green, blue and yellow for a more textured look).
The children then glued on the oranges, butterflies, hands, hearts and stars - again no time for photographs as most of the discussions were about "mine" "no the preschools" "Now I can't reach the glue" - so it was necessary for me to be present and not behind the camera - to act as mediator, to support them in their thinking processes, to encourage them to pause and reflect on what they were saying... to even reflect on what they were doing for they started getting so involved in their words they stopped looking at what they were doing and started putting glue on the "wrong" side of their hearts or on the floor instead of the paper...
We finished off with a drizzle of white glue so they could shake some glitter all over it... as they all LOVE glitter.

Part of me wanted to give up on the artwork - but I also knew that no matter where we were these children NEEDED to have this discussion - they needed to talk about what's mine, who am I, my rights, collaboration and sharing... it was going to happen... it might as well be during this artwork where I was better able to support them, to hear them and to mediate when necessary - and being part of the process means I know when I can let them steer the conversation, even though at times heated, and when to help keep things cool enough to be productive.

There is a LOT of emotion in this art work.

It will be interesting to see how they reflect on it... what will THEY remember of the process...?

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