The Heide Art Project – Birds

Term: 2 Year: 2013

Students from Templestowe Heights Primary School were invited to work alongside the education centre staff at Heide Museum of Modern Art and took part in ‘The Sanctuary Project’ at Heide.

Creating art in an art room or school environment is for many students, the chance for self-expression and the opportunity to engage in a Visual Arts program. So stepping out of the school environment and stepping into a museum is for many students, a first.

The Sanctuary Project was funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Strategic Partnerships and filmed by SYN Media. Christine Healey, the education officer at Heide, was instrumental in organising and coordinating the program. Students met with artist Louise Saxton who spoke about her exhibition Sanctuary.

 Louise Saxton spoke to the students about her inspirations, how she created her images and the materials she found to create her art. Students were blown away by the collection of doilies, cross-stich, lace and other hand -made embroidery that were cut up and pinned together to create images of birds and insects.

Students viewed the exhibition, asked Louise questions and responded to her work while being filmed! What an experience it was for everyone involved. Students then moved into the Sidney Myer Education Centre and created paper collages with Louise.

Spending the day at Heide and absorbing all the glorious spaces was a memorable experience for our students and staff.  Seeing how Louise’s artwork was displayed, meeting her and responding to her art took the learning out of a school environment and into the gallery space.

What was next? The hunt was on. We needed to find old doilies and cross-stitch that were discarded. Anything that had interesting hand-made embroidery was collected from families’ home cupboards and Opportunity shops.

Students created 3D birds with Modroc and detailed the birds with reclaimed materials that we found.

The unit of work took the students the whole term to complete. Both Louise and Christine visited our school and viewed the finished birds. Their praise for the students’ art was sincere and the displayed birds were enjoyed by all in our school community.

As art teachers, we need to provide challenging programs and look beyond the wonderful creative walls of the art room. Making connections with your local gallery and local artists inspires students to look a little deeper, to make connections and to make learning purposeful. 

Sofia Tsolakis
Visual Art Teacher
Templestowe Heights Primary School
Suitable for level 4