This past year I have been developing my Workshops further by working in a Nursery as an Artist to develop Reggio Emilia inspired activities.
A big part of any Reggio inspired school is making the most of outside resources and encouraging children to use intelligent tools. After several visits to Forest school I was inspired to encourage the children's curiosity with nature and help them develop their understanding and respect for using very mature tools such as: hammers, rolling pins, tools etc.
This is where I developed Flowers under pressure!
All you need is:
1.A Rolling Pin
2. Card (at least 150gsm, water colour paper is even better but anything works)
3. Pestle and Mortar
5. Fresh Flowers (the fresher the better, if your lucky enough to have your own garden try anything you can find, weeds, flowers, leaves, etc.)
6. Greaseproof paper
It really is such a simple activity but so affective. Obviously the main ingredient is flowers but you really can use anything you can find in a garden or woods. The children I work with, love foraging and finding new colours in their garden to work with, we once created a rainbow using only natural items found in the garden; they were amazed we found so many colours, originally only thinking we would find brown and green. Encouraging the art of Foraging is a very good tool to encourage the children to notice the different leaves, colours and how they change through out the year.
1. Arrange the flowers on the paper how you would like them to be displayed. Don't forget to use the leaves for a good composition. Some leaves will work a lot better than others dependent on how much water they can hold.
2. Place second piece of card over the top and push the flowers flat only using your hands to begin with.
Then place the greaseproof paper over the top, this is to ensure all of the moisture that seeps from the flower stays on the card ensuring maximum colours are printed.
3. Now I would recommend using the rolling pin to start with and then working back in to the image with the pestle or you can use a hammer. Try to keep the paper as still as possible.
You will get a smoother effect with the rollin pin but more of a splat effect with the Pestle, so a mixture of the two looks great!
4.The big reveal! This is my favourite part, when the children have the big realisation that different colours come out of the flowers, especially with the wild ones.
It is a very shocking for them to use a blue flower but it has printed: purple, red, yellow, brown even red some times!
''Are we making garden paint?''
Don't forget you will always get two prints, one from the top piece of card, one from the bottom. Each one will look individual dependent on how the card has taken the pigmentation from the flower. I think this is what I love most about the activity you never know what you will get, it is always a surprise!
5. Before you remove the flowers you can work back on top of the image, either with the Pestle or just your finger. There is a lot more colour within the flowers than you realise.
6. I finally like to use the Pestle and Mortar to remove all the petals from the image and grind down to create my own natural paint.
And finally the results:
You can also try using material, different types of card or try all the types of flowers and leaves you can find. I hope you have lots of fun creating your own flowers under pressure! x