In day 2 of our Wild Art course run by Artist and Forest School practitioner Philippa Snell we continued to think about dwellings for the little people that may inhabit the common when we are not around. In day one we learnt to build a round house for the Hazel Folk using willow to weave through whittled hazel rods knocked securely into the ground.
In day 2 we thought about a tribe who may live in the trees. Philippa set the children a task to create a dwelling with a clear entrance and exit – thinking about how the tree people would get into the tree, seek shelter and leisure activities.
We gave the children a large degree of freedom for this task encouraging them to problem solve and apply skills they had learnt on day one. Adults were ‘light touch’ helping only where asked. The atmosphere was very relaxed, while the children got busy!
Once they had found their chosen site, they began to make decisions about what they would need and forage for suitable materials.
They worked in teams of three so discussions began about how to approach the task whilst the building began.
Children began to furnish them with beds,
They looked like such exciting places to live, and the children were very animated when we toured their creations, describing how they should be used.
After lunch we returned to our roundhouses to add the finishing touches.
We learnt how to make a roof covering using simple thatching techniques with grass and leaves.
To thatch we had to gather grass, tie it in bundles and weave through the circles of willow that made the roof.
Others used ferns or chose coloured leaves to cover the roof.
The final stage was to furnish the houses. Each house became very individual as the children gathered treasures to make the most amazing miniature objects.
The little dwellings were adorable!
All that was left to do was clear the area and as the light was fading add a jam jar and tea-light so the dwellings glowed in the twilight, ready for our parents to arrive!
It was a magical atmosphere!
I think our parents enjoyed the tour!
We left this new civilisation wondering who would visit and what would happen once we were tucked up in our beds.
Imagine the stories we could come up with….