I am often asked where do your ideas come from Marghanita?
My answer – “from exploring and playing with nature.”
It’s a very free-flowing, spontaneous and organic process; observing my surroundings with an open heart and mind. For example, last Tuesday, dare I say, I escaped the city of Edinburgh and headed for the Fife coast. During a coastal walk I came across this wonderful ruined cottage.
Ruined cottages can be found everywhere around the world but there is something about those of my homeland, here in Scotland that stirs my imagination. Settled in the most romantic of landscapes, these rustic old buildings, enable you to visualise a simpler way of life.
As I gaze at the vast landscape before me, through the open window frame, I wonder who might have lived here; what was their typical day like; what was their story, why did they leave?
My imagination wanders and before long I am writing notes on lesson plans that emerge from discovering this wonderful place. We all need a home, a place to sleep, feel safe. What does home mean to us? All these questions pour out of me.
I jot down words that describe the place, the smell, the sounds, the way my heart and spirit feel as I breathe in the salty sea air. I gather sheep’s wool caught on a piece of barbed wire, a few fallen branches from a near by tree and shells and seaweed from the rugged shore. Giving thanks for each piece of treasure I find.
I sketch the heather and the moss and photograph the raw wilderness as the sun goes down, in the hope, I may recapture it at some day back in Canada in a painting or sculpture.
So my answer to the question, where do I get my ideas from…more often than not, it’s the land, the environment in which I find myself. What materials I find, the treasure gifted from Mother Earth and how I play with it, exploring different ways to create something new, a wonderful and magical process.
Exploring Our Relationship with Nature
I tell others to explore their environment; its all about experiences, what they evoke in you. I can only teach from what I have experienced in life. For me it has to be authentic, real, heart felt – to mean something. These are rich authentic experiences of the elements of nature. They trigger emotions, feelings, wonder, love, excitement; and sometimes fear, sadness or, happiness and joy. All worthy of further exploration and learning.
The Right to Explore Planet Earth
“This planet has rhythms of day and night, the sun moving across the sky, the moon’s phases, the stars,and the rise and fall of the tides, the seasons as well as local geography and living things. All these items are part of our human heritage.” – Barbara E Hendricks – All children must be given the opportunity to experience this heritage.
What I love about sharing this experience with students both children and adults, is that it brings the place, in this instance, the old ruin, back to life for a short moment through the students imagination. Ultimately I wish my students to experince these sacred places, not always possible, so I bring the place to the classroom.
For me, there is something magical and enchanting about remembering our culture, history and a simpler way of life – lessons can be learned and taken forward to mean something today.
The learning possibilities are infinite from this short exploration: history and social studies, biology and other sciences, art and crafts. Creative investigations of sheep, wool and weaving, stick people and storytelling, the sea and for shells, rock, seaweed to make land-art and poetry. Textures and form, shapes, light and the ever changing landscape…infinite possibilities.
Time weathered and worn by the elements, these sacred places remain a mystery, reminders of a past that can never be again but can be imagined and so provide immense joy in learning experiences through playful nature art activities that can be integrated with other subjects of the curriculum.
We investigate hearth and home in Chapter 5 of the online Nature Art Program. If you would like to learn more, please visit: NATURE ART PROGRAM
We never stop learning!
Wishing you all a beautiful and enchanting week ahead wherever you are in the world, love and peace Marghanita x