A few weeks ago I was invited to spend a couple of days working with some groups of children at a local primary school on their ‘owl project’. The first day began with an ‘Owl Encounter’. The school had arranged for Gary the Falconer from Puxton Falconry Centre to be there with a selection of his owls.
He brought ‘Woolley’ the Indian Eagle Owl, ‘George’ the Barn Owl, ‘Ulu’ the South African White Faced Owl and ‘Gollum’ the Burrowing Owl. The children watched intently as Gary flew the owls up and down the classroom over their heads and shared lots of information about the owls. A few lucky volunteers were chosen to wear the falconer’s glove and fly the owls themselves.
After Gary had finished his display and taken the owls back to their aviaries, it was my turn to talk to the children and show them my paintings. Luckily, I had some of each of the owls the children had just met.
My challenge was to show the children how to make an owl sculpture from pipe cleaners and ‘mod-roc’…not being a sculptor and never having heard of, let alone used mod-roc, this was a case of me ‘winging it’ (literally!!)
So, infront to 2 classes of children aged between 4-7, I began twisting pipe cleaners together to make an ‘owl shaped’ frame to support the mod roc. (Mod-roc is like a bandage soaked in plaster of paris, activated by water and sets hard once dry)
At this point, the children were given their pipe cleaners and all began twisting their frames together. Then…the messy bit!! My introduction to mod roc in front of lots of children… here’s my resulting ‘blob’, sorry, owl sculpture…!
Some of the older children were ready for the next stage… layering the mod-roc bandage around their pipecleaner frames. …MESSY TIME!!!!!! What fun we had!
I couldn’t believe it, but the school day was over. There was some serious table cleaning to do and it was obvious I would have to come back again so we could all paint our sculptures and transform them from white blobs into owls.
Having been thrown in at the deep end with the mod-roc, I decided to take my white blob home and paint it so it would be ready for the children to see – to give them an idea of what to expect for the next stage.
A few days later, I returned with my Sculpture of George the Barn Owl. The children were very excited about painting their sculptures, and I gave a quick talk offering hints and tips on applying the paint. I also gave the children reference photographs of the owls who had visited as a reminder of their colouring and feather patterns. We had a lot of fun with paint…
Here are the finished owls…and what a wonderful group of owls they are too! 😀
Children, you were fantastic! Well done – your owl sculptures are amazing! 😀