Artstarts Project – “The fascinating Story of the Chocolate Tree” – Workshop 3 – Canvas Wall Hangings
Grades 3,4 and 5 students investigated the beautifully written passage “Interbeing” by Thich Nhat Hanh. Interbeing means that you are part of the whole web of life. You are not isolated and alone. When you become peaceful, happy and solid the world benefits.
These beautiful fabric wall hangings are the students interpretation of the passage Interbeing. The students had learned from our previous workshop that the “Cacao” tree depends upon many other living organisms, such as the birds for seed dispersal, the mother trees to protect the chocolate tree from too much sun and harsh winds, and the Midge to pollinate the tree – they explored how the local fruit trees in the Okanagan also depend upon many other living organisms – this understanding helped inspire their stunning creations.
Watch the video:
We began with each student creating their very own sketch on a single piece of paper. The opening line of the written passage begins…
“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist”
We then collaberated in groups of 4 to workout how we could incorporate elements of each students illustrative artwork.
By learning and understanding and appreciating our interconnectedness – we become more respectful ; mindful; grateful; loving; we become who who we truly are – beautiful; soulful beings full of love and respect and honor for all life – wishing to protect and care for each other ; the natural world, all life; everywhere in the world.
I was deeply moved by the students understanding of the word and their beautiful artwork.
Below some of the students share a little bit about their wall hangings. (Grades 3 and 4)
“Two girls come to a tree. One of the girls held a pot of water, the other held a flower. The flower and the water helped the Cocoa tree bloom. The pot of water was filled with the water of the mountain.”
This stunning illustration (above) of the girl offering the water to the Cacao tree by a grade 4 student had me almost in tears.
You can feel the compassion the young artist is expressing in this deeply soulful piece of art. When we create, we are giving something of ourselves.
“There is a sun that never moves. A rainbow that never leaves. The tree is in the centre of the rainbow. We are connetced to the tree – to everything.”
“In my group picture all is connected, like the rain and the rainbow. After it rains comes the rainbow and sun. There is also a mountain with grass on top. There are 4 girls and no boys.
One girl is planting another tree. Another girl is pretending she’s a super hero climbing a tree, one’s sitting on a rock, the other has an umbrella.”
“Nothing can exist without the other – we are all conneted.” – grade 5 student
“Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in the canvas too.” – grade 5
It is not easy to paint on fabric and yet the students were able to illustrate great detail into their wall hangings.
The students used Earth Paint for their fabric wall hangings. Earth paint is made very much the same way as our cave dwellers made paint.
The students mixed the paint to the desired consistancy, (fabric absorbs much more paint than paper does), and gained the opportunity for exploring and creating new colours.
While paiting a a student accidentally spilt paint on one of the canvases, thereby causing one of the students to cry because they thought their creation was ruined. It was suggested that the paint splatter was part of “interbeing” and that the splat had created something quite beautiful and unique.
The student was invited to take a closer look as see what she could develop it into. She stopped crying and stood over the canvas for a while then proceeded to add more splatters, spraying the canvas with speckles of different coloured paint. And so the accident transformed into the galaxy.
It wasn’t long before other students were inspired to splatter paint across their canvas too.
During our creative exploration we discovered no matter where we live in the world we are deeply connected to one another and all life. The word Interbeing, reminds us of our beautiful relationship with the natural world; with all life.
The students relationship with the natural world is strengthened through meaningful nature art. “In their classrooms, teachers can see firsthand the positive impact that the arts and creativity can have — boosting student learning, engagement and enjoyment. ” – Artstarts
If you would like to learn more about Artstarts in Schools please visit Artstarts or join us online at Educating the Heart or in person at one of our special Nature Art Saturdays or Weekend Reteats. For more inforamtion on the “Fascinating Story of the Choclate Tree” – (a creative exploration into where our food comes from) please email me direct or leave a message.