Thursday, November 14, 2013

Our Art-n-Nature Element of Form Hike

Balancing on logs along the trail.
Our third Art-n-Nature hike on Form began (and continued) with several bumps, but ended up being another enriching experience for the kids, friends – old and new – and me.

Some of the kids, ready to head out.
The following week, when I rescheduled the hike, I knew that driving to the initially planned location would be tough to fit in with the rest of our schedule, so, I picked a different, closer destination and wrote up a hike announcement.  (Our Form Hike announcement can be downloaded here, should you want to use it as a base for planning your own similar experience.)

Luke's Cone Shape
The art projects I planned for the hike were simple ones:

    Prior to the hike, my printer had an issue which left me unable to print out select Andy Goldsworthy art examples to inspire new friends and old along the trail.  However, being kids, they had their own ideas anyway:  hut buidling!

  • a sculpture, inspired by nature, made from GFCF homemade air-dry dough

One child, who typically does not get into art according to his mom, enjoyed working with the dough.

In my pack were:
  • water
  • lunch
  • a hand towel
  • GFCF homemade air-dry dough in sealed containers (which was supposed to be a beautiful autumn hue, but was not, because I ran out of food coloring and did not have enough paint to make it so)
  • a phone
  • a camera
Of these, the water and towel ended up being the most valuable.  For, while most of the children liked making forms with the dough, many of them did not like the residue the dough left upon their hands.

Vocabulary I intended to introduce on the hike included:
  • form  - a three dimensional object
  • sphere
  • pyramid
  • cone
  • cube
  • cylinder
This intention was perhaps one of the only ones that did not go awry in one way or another during the experience.
So what went awry?

Since we had not trail map, it was a good thing I thought to take this photo of the one in the kiosk at the trailhead.  Between it and one Dad's GPS we averted getting lsot at the close of our hike.

As I already mentioned, prior to the hike, the initial hike had to be postponed; my printer had an issue that prevented me from bringing inspirational Andy Goldsworthy pictures; and we ran out of coloring while I was making the air-dry dough.
Then, when we were getting started on the hike, I let the children vote to decide which trail to take.  Big mistake!  Nina's trail lost and she spiraled into one of her worst tantrums ever, making getting started with the hike less than ideal.

A mom friend of mine offered to try to cheer my upset and obstinate Nina while I moved along the trail with the other mom and children.  While she was facing that challenge, the other kids were eager to move way ahead.  I slowed them by suggesting we build some Andy Goldsworthy-inspired form pieces from art, and while they were doing so, another mom called my cell.  She'd sent her husband along to the hike with their sons, but he'd gotten lost and needed directions.

Another mom had a phone with a map application, so she figured out where the dad was and where he needed to be and, then, I headed back to the parking lot to recollect Nina and the other mom and wave in the lost Dad as he found his way to where we were.

Later, along the trail, someone needed a band-aid.  It was only then I realized that I had forgotten to put our first aid kit in my pack. 

When we were in the midst of our sculpture project, two of my three children needed to use the potty.  So, I had to abandon everyone else.

Towards the end of the hike, the trail markings got confusing, so we almost got lost.

So, what actually went "right"?

It's all in the balance.

Although rain was forecasted, the day stayed clear enough for us to enjoy it.

A mom and her son, that we had never met before joined us.  So did a dad we didn't know previous to the hike.  All were great companions and both the "new" adults have interests in wild edibles.  So, ideas for a future series of walks are brewing...

There were moments of idyllic community and positive kiddo concentration along the trail.

Snacking and sculpturing along the trail.  Note how Nina is engaged in pressing out a form with her dough.  My unofficial sensory seeker often calms with and becomes engaged by such activities.

Building rock pile sculptures provided further heavy work for all.

There were so many cool critters under those rocks.  I cannot recall which caused Luke to make this face, though.

The forms of fallen logs offered wonderful opportunities for proprioceptive input, balance and more.  

Nina crawling in a hut we found along the trail.
The hike ended with a picnic lunch, chatting, playing and even some football in the parking lot.
And what about the art concepts and projects?

When we  first started out, we paused in a normal circle at the trailhead to chat about line, shape and form, reviewing prior concepts and vocabulary and coming up with a definition for form.

As we started along the trail, I asked the children to pick up at least one particularly interesting shape or form along the way, intending to use whatever they picked up as inspiration  -- or even a part of -- their air-dry dough sculptures.  However, by the time we dealt with Nina's moodiness and helped the lost Dad find us, my request was long forgotten.  The children were too busy creating stick structures.

So, when we did pause later along the trail to sculpt, we just looked around us for inspiration, whereupon, some children (and parents) chose to use nature as inspiration -- or a part of -- their designs and others chose to simply create free forms.

Prior to creating our own art forms, we also shaped the dough into different geometric forms.

And why so few pictures this time?

To be honest, I was too distracted by the "bumps" along the way to take many pictures.  And, when I was not, I was too "in the moment" to capture it on film.  Loads of photos or not, the hike was memorable for both its challenges and its delights, and, in the balance, I'd call it another success!

Enjoy the Other Posts in This Series...

How do you reset when bumps along the way threaten to hamper ideal explorations?

Ideas and inspiration for Art-n-Nature Hikes can be found on our growing Pinterest page.  If you have  favorite ideas or links to your own Elements of Art and Nature adventures that might inspire folks for further hikes, please leave them in the comments so I can pin them when time allows.  Thanks!


Related Posts with Thumbnails