Guerrilla Environmental Art

2 May 2012 · 4 comments

in Art & Music Outdoors, Outdoor Courses & Training

This afternoon I was facilitating a twilight training session – Expressive Arts Outside. It was in a lovely school with a garden area. Very sadly the fence around this area had been vandalised quite significantly at the weekend and was in a sorry state. Sadly we did not have time nor the tools there and then to fix the fencing. Instead, we did what we could with what we had…

Armed with a bag of clay, the course participants got to work. I showed them how to use clay to create interesting patterns and designs outside. We then brightened up the broken fences as a wee surprise for passers-by and possibly even the school children tomorrow.

When creating transient art work outside, capturing the work in situ keeps a lasting record. It can help to take photos far away and close up. This helps children begin to understand concepts such as near and far as well as scale. I love the simple yet sweet designs below…

The dandelions and cherry blossom in bloom both looked beautiful outside…

Whilst our work is not restorative, at least it’s an acknowledgement that the area deserves some beauty and care…

The idea of guerrilla art first came to my attention via this wonderful website Stories from Space. Here you can see truly miniature worlds tucked away in cracks and crevices. In other words, it’s possible to create a little beauty, awe and wonder in any wee place or space.

There is also a Guerrilla Gardening group with various members all over the country that beautify ugly patches with flowers and plants. It’s always nice to hear about positive actions being taken.

It also reminds me of the Chinese proverb “Rather light a candle than complain about the dark.”

Many thanks to the wonderful participants on this course for being up this little act of guerrilla art amidst the felting and weaving work. You never know what will happen on some courses you attend…

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kierna C May 2, 2012 at 20:33

What a brilliant idea & I’m sure you will bring a smile to the childrens’ faces tomorrow, never mind anyone else who encounters them tonight. Thanks for another good idea for outdoor fun – must get the clay out! Kierna


Stuart Garbutt May 2, 2012 at 21:19

Great stuff, we did a very similar thing in our forest schools. We went to the woods and created some woodland creatures out of clay and left them hidden in trees and under roots to be found!

I have a question; what clay do you use? We used some old air dry clay that was still a little tacky but we found it hard to get it to stick to tree bark, any ideas?



Juliet Robertson May 2, 2012 at 21:30

Thanks both Stuart and Kierna for your kind comments and thoughts.

Stuart – the clay was the standard school grey clay. I bought this batch from TTS a couple of years ago. To keep it moist I keep it wrapped in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel and then keep this in an air tight container. This seems to do the trick.

Best wishes


Tom Bedard May 5, 2012 at 18:32

Thanks for the link to Stories from Space. I also like the proverb. And what a positive way to approach such a dreadful problem. Great life lesson.


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