Wooden water pipe: art inspired by nature and water

In 2016 artist Sarah Pimenta worked with teacher Denise Quinn and Year 2 at Blessed Sacrament RC Primary School on the exhibition Imagine Islington.

Wooden Water Pipe

In 1613 Sir Hugh Myddleton opened his revolutionary New River, which brought much needed fresh water from Hertfordshire to Clerkenwell. Pipes then took water from Clerkenwell Round Pond to the City of London. These pipes were made from tree trunks, mainly elm. The trunks were individually bored through and joined to create continuous pipes.

The pipes weren’t entirely successful, much of the water supply was lost through leakage. Wooden pipes also had a short lifespan and they tended to absorb gas from leaking gas mains laid alongside, making the water unfit to drink. From 1811 the New River Company started to gradually replace the old wooden pipes with cast-iron ones.

To learn more about the New River and the wooden pipes

A perfect local artefact to inspire natural art: ‘We choose this object to tie in with the artist Andy Goldsworth and use his inspiration from natural forms. Trees are a large part of the natural environment in Islington and it was a good way to encourage appreciation of nature in the local area. I wanted to get the children outside the classroom despite curriculum restraints and SAT’S looming. It encouraged them to make interdisciplinary links and enabled the children to produce inspirational and creative artwork alongside developing their vocabulary.’ 

Denise

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Activity 1: mark making and rain makers

  • dry beans/ peas
  • tape
  • paint (water theme in colours)
  • cardboard tubes
  • sketching materials (pencil, charcoal, chalk)
  • paper
  • water sounds (rivers, different types of rain, waves etc.)
  1. Show the class images of the water log. Discuss the importance of fresh water, where you get water from, what the log could have been used for and if you think it was an effective pipe?
  2. Talk to the class about what the water may have sounded like- think about descriptive words for the movement of water.
  3. Get the pupils to sit at their desks with a piece of paper and sketching materials. Play them different water sounds. Get them to draw what they hear. Use a different drawing material. Try it with your eyes open, then eyes closed.
  4. Get the pupils to choose their favourite marks and cardboard tube.
  5. The pupils then paint their marks on to their cardboard tubes, using ‘watery’ colours.
  6. Once the paint has dried fill the tubes with the beans and tape the ends to create your very own rainmaker.

Activity 2: rubbings

  • paper
  • coloured paper
  • fat wax crayons
  • clip boards
  • pencils
  1. Take the pupils outside into the playground or a natural environment.
  2. Collect different natural materials- leaves and bark are good
  3. Use the crayons and pencils to take rubbings. Experiment with different textures, lines, shapes patterns and colours

To extend the session you could add in a drawing activity from nature or look at Land Art with a focus on an artist like Andy Goldsworthy. Use your collected materials to create natural sculptures outdoors, take a photograph of your creations.

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Activity 3: poly tile printing leaves

  • A5 polytile
  • printing rollers
  • sharp pencils
  • A4 sugar paper
  • block printing ink
  1. Hand the children their leaf drawings from the previous session. Get them to choose their 2 favourites to turn into prints.
  2. Hand out 2 pieces of polytile to each person. Using a pencil, pupils draw their leaf designs into the polytile, filling the sheet. They’ll need to be careful to press hard enough into the polytile to make an indentation, but not too hard so that it pierces the polytile.
  3. Put some printing ink on to the paint trays, roll it with a printing roller until it is smooth.
  4. Pupils use the printing roller to put ink on to their polytile, covering their design. Remind them not to use too much ink.
  5. Pupils place the inked side of the polytile on to a piece of paper. Run a clean printing roller over the back of the polytile, pressing it onto the paper. Carefully peel back the polytile to reveal the printed design on the paper
  6. Pupils can experiment with different colours of paper and ink. They’ll need a number of leaf prints each for activity 4.

Activity 4: collage

  • large sheets of thick paper- black is probably most dramatic
  • the rubbings, drawings and printed leaves from the previous activities
  • coloured paper and tissue
  • pritt sticks
  1. Pupils gather all their natural drawings, rubbings and prints.
  2. In groups they sketch a giant tree onto their piece of paper.
  3. The group then collages their sketch, using their drawings, rubbings and leaves, as well as any extra materials you have. Encourage them to layer, mixing colours, textures and shapes.

 

 Want to know more:

Click here to find out more about the artworks created by Blessed Sacrament RC Primary School and Sarah Pimenta as part of the Imagine Islington Project.

 

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One thought on “Wooden water pipe: art inspired by nature and water

  1. Pingback: Art Ideas! | Friends of Islington Museum

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