BGCI Education Blog

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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Big Draw

The weather last Saturday was glorious, which was terrific because I spent the day at Kew with family and friends participating in the Big Draw. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this event, it’s a national campaign that aims to get everybody drawing, whether you're three or 93! This year it’s taking place during the month of October with events all over the country. Like many venues, Kew held their Big Draw event on 13 October. If you’re in the UK and want to participate, check out the website for an event near you.

The Big Draw event at Kew tied in superbly with the Henry Moore exhibition they’re currently running. Twenty eight amazing sculptures are sited within Kew’s extraordinary landscape. The day was inspiring, and with so many workshops to choose from it was impossible to go to all of them. As it happened we only managed to get to three! The children really enjoyed the workshop entitled ‘From Nature to Sculpture’. They spent almost an hour looking down the lens of a microscope at tiny seeds and drawing the details on sheets of paper. They then took their recordings outside and made larger pictures using charcoal and these were displayed on a long fence in front of the Orangery, where people were taking lunch and drinking cups of teas and coffee. Incidentally, there was a notable abundance of ladybirds flying around and settling all over the Orangery. There must have been hundreds! It was a spectacular site. I’ve spent time googling about ladybirds but can’t find any answers to why there were so many – if any one’s got an idea, let me know!

Another workshop we participated in, and that was good fun, was ‘Midnight Garden’. The children got to handle some amazing specimens from the Arum family, draw round them on black paper and then cut them out to make a giant frieze. As expected, they chose the largest specimens and then lost heart cutting them out, leaving the parents with aching hands! Nevertheless, they were proud of their contribution and the visual result was terrific as you can see from the pictures. I don’t know how many people came to Kew that day, but certainly visitor numbers were up. The conclusion has to be - art is a fantastic way to engage people in the natural world!

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