Term: 4 Year: 2009
Leading up to my workshops the grade five students at Leongatha Primary School studied the artworks of some of the
great masters of collage and assemblage that have inspired artist Rachel Warren, such as Australian artist Rosalie Gascoigne,
American artist Robert Rauschenberg and German artist Kurt Schwitters.
Rachel Warren is a trained teacher and has an Honours Degree in fine arts, and specialise in collage and assemblage.
The students looked at examples of her work where she combined humour and social comment using a variety of objects at the
last stage of their cycle, for example, sunglasses, tooth brushes, women’s razors, plastic thongs and toy cars.
We started our workshops discussing the artists they had been researching and then talked about 'what makes a good
Before the students started designing they were encouraged to develop their own personal style by making their piece
different, quirky, bold, sensitive, funny, or serious. It was suggested that they concentrate on using only 2-3 colours
in different shades/tones.
They were also asked to think about a title for their assemblage while they were creating it and to let their imagination
Once they had a good understanding of what was expected of them they each chose
a second hand frame from a box (there
were nearly 100 old frames to choose from in a variety of styles.)
Next they rummaged through boxes of recycled wood in various shapes and sizes as well as containers of found objects,
recycled papers and bits and pieces of collected objects such as plastic toys, buttons, batteries etc.
After collecting all their pieces they began to carefully compose an assemblage with attention to the elements of design
that had been discussed such as balance, texture, discord (a part that stands out or draws your eye into the artwork) repetition,
shape and line.
Some of the students’ wood had to be cut with a jigsaw or hand saw to enable it to fit their design.
Once arranged, the designs were painted with attention to colour (tones and shades),
and sanded with sandpaper.
I then individually discussed with the students the best techniques needed to enhance and connect their assemblage.
The students showed a good understanding of design and assemblage as well as being incredibly expressive. It seemed to excite
and engage both the boys and the girls.
At the end of the lesson we discussed each design and its title. Some of the titles included Breaking free, Grandmas
kitchen, Block age, Cutting Edge and Coke a Cola industry.
Rachel and I were both overwhelmed with the energy and thought each student put into their assemblage. The students’
work then became the centre piece of our school’s Art Exhibition.
Written by Collage and assemblage
artist Rachel Warren and Leongatha Primary School’s Art teacher Zita Lamers.
Leongatha Primary School