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Kids school and holiday art clubs

Wild Art on Wimbledon Common 2015

This year’s Wild Art course led by Artist and Forest School practitioner Philippa Snell looks at the idea of building a new civilisation.

Starting from the idea that a tribe of tiny people – the Choo Choo tribe – are finding their dwellings destroyed by clumsy Wombles, we began making new places for them to inhabit.

Children experimented with building techniques to quickly make a dwelling in groups to see what existing skills they had.


Simple teepee structures were made by hammering sticks into the ground.DSC_0109

Bark and ferns  collected to make  rooves and paths.DSC_0108

Twigs used to make a frameDSC_0102 DSC_0090


Leaves woven through twigs to make canopies.DSC_0085We already had so many skills.


We discussed techniques used, who might live in each place and what their role may be in this new civilisation.

We then got more serious and were introduced to a number of new tools and techniques. We would use these to learn to build an iron age style round-house.


We learnt how to use tools safely, using a glove for protection and working closely with adults where necesary.

Loppers best used in pairs.



Secateurs with a glove.



Whittling needed a special body position and a glove – we always cut away from the body onto a wooden log.



Mallets were used to bang stakes into the ground.

DSC_0164DSC_0149DSC_0155Using all these techniques Philippa showed us how to make a basic round house structure by cutting sticks, banging them into the ground and weaving willow to make a wattle frame.
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We worked with purpose and enthusiasm helping each other where needed and slowly the structures emerged.

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After lunch and a good run around in the woods we learnt how to make the roof. This was a tricky feat of engineering and we had to work together.

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Our round houses began to take on individual characteristics. Some quite complex. This one has  an inner circle and two storeys!


Leaves and ferns were woven into the willow frame like a form of thatch.DSC_0244

Some became specific locations – the village pub!DSC_0283 DSC_0276

The Queen’s palaceDSC_0280A set of three connected dwellings for different members of society.  DSC_0274

We have more time to finish these houses tomorrow and we ended the day collecting lots of items to adorn our houses and make them more individual.




We ended the day with a debrief – ready to start afresh in the morning. We hope the Wombles are not stumbling about tonight


The little people of the common have some rather special residences to inhabit tonight!



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