Stronger together

Behind the scenes

We thought those of you who kept track of Sian Torrington's Outer Spaces project in Avonside might be interested to see what she has been up to recently.

Sian has just completed a project with Fernridge School and Masterton Primary, both in Masterton, that was supported by the Wairarapa Road Safety Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council. It was part of the Regional School Travel Plan programme, which aims to have more children travelling safely, actively and sustainably, to school. Sian worked with two full classes of ten year olds to create three pou each, which will be positioned along the walkways to the schools. They will act as markers at which children can be dropped off, and walk, bike or scooter from there to school. The aim is to encourage active transport, and a sense of ownership and observation of the route through art.


Sian relates: We began by walking the route together, after a talk by me and some training on how to 'look like an artist'. We looked for details and small wonders rather than large shots, and we tried to find contrast between colours, shapes and forms. Some things made or built, some nature; birds, trees and leaves to scuff through. The time of year is spring now, so we looked at all the blooming trees in pinks and bright yellows. Cows, dogs and cats were also popular!

We then worked through the photos to decide on a selection, and divided the class into three teams, with one pou each. We drew and painted with lots of colours, learning about contrasting colour, and other hands on colour theory in the process. We decided to try some hand painting and went wild outside with our hands slapping on the paint, creating a wild Monet style painting! We decided to use this technique to get the paint onto the Pou as a background, so that it was covered with colour and texture.


We collaged our drawings together, looking again for contrasting colours, shapes and textures. We then picked up all the paint, and worked directly onto the pou. The mission was to cover every inch, and to intertwine all of our ideas and designs. The kaupapa of this project was that everyone is creative, and there is a place for every kind of mark. Also that there is no 'my bit' or 'your bit', but that together we make something far more beautiful than we could ever make alone. I said towards the end "I wish I had one of these for my house!" and the kids told me "why don't you make one?" My response; "I'd need you guys to do it with me!"


There were so many incredible moments of discovery and wonder in this project, of working together and learning. One thing which was the most exciting to many of the groups was a surprise to me; how to make brown! It seemed that it was a total wonder that a whole range of colours mixed together made this colour; that it isn't one which stands alone. The interconnectedness of all the colours and how they worked together was a good metaphor for the project as a whole, which taught me, yet again, that we are all stronger together.