Nido Art – Tools

A yogi, a ceo, and a film director walk into a candy-store.

Have you ever observed children and interpreted their behaviour as a sign of their potential vocation?

That is what happened while I searched for a catchy tagline for this post. I reviewed the photographs and noticed the contrasting qualities between the artworks of the three young artists. I have this idea that every individual expresses themselves, and through the expression we can find the quality and the degree of order they prefer. Art is a gateway into it. For us as educators and guardians, but especially for themselves. 

Continuing the idea from first art post of aiding the student in their self-expression through art, this class we explored using tools to shape our creation. 

We began the session by sketching in our books with an HB pencil. I mentioned how I believe in a proper warmup before doing any kind of learning or performing, physical or cognitive (are they that oppositional anyway?) This is when Hugo asked me: “What is injuries?”, after I suggested that warmups may prevent injuries… “Injuries are pains in the body that inhibit us from functioning”, is what I wanted to say, and instead, probably said something confusing and more vague. “And so… with art it may help to warm up beforehand”, and without further elaboration, they flipped to blank pages in their sketchbooks and began to draw. My goal with the warmup was to observe if they return some of the earlier shapes and strategies we practiced last class. The dots, lines, and specifically, the geometric shapes. I wanted them to share what they drew and if they remember.

While they warmed up, I collected some random objects around the school that they may find at home. They each chose a colour for a marker, and an object, luckily all different – square lid, round lid, tape. 

I used the jar from the round lid and demonstrated one way of contouring the object that results in a circle. They’re mouths opened and eyes shined (I think) as I revealed the connected line. 

They stared at me for a good moment and finally Hugo asked “Can we start?!” I feel like mentioning this because in the previous class they appeared less patient with the lessons, and here they are attending to my instruction. “Is this what trust in your instructor looks like?” I thought.

During the class, one thing that stood out the most was how differently each boy moved the marker on the page. Shane would draw something, make sounds and narrate a part of it, then as he spoke his hand would speed up trying to portray his ideas as fast as possible. Drawing leading to stories, and stories leading to more drawing. Joshua, traced the lid and chose to neatly fill it in, using that shape as the new canvas, his nose so close to the paper he could sniff the fibres off of it. And Hugo, using countless sheets (not satisfied to use the back page of the sheet) to draw the circle that he liked. The lid was a bit slippery, to be fair. So, it amazes me how often children at this age persist given the liberty of space, time, and materials. 

Toward the end of the class, I introduced the eye-droppers as an avenue for the ink to travel on the page, because previous session ended with a small water accident that led to an interesting outcome. They attempted the eye-dropper, and that is where Joshua navigated the ink across his mysterious artwork utilizing an ancient tool – the breath. The others concentrated on their objects and shapes. Shane applied the tape on the page, dividing the storyboard for his imaginary scene, later drawing over it. Hugo, upon realizing it says Nido (the name of the school) on the tape, decided to write it inside his favourite circle, branding it with his name in various colours. 

The other part that caught my attention during the review of the photographs was that they used both hands during the process.

I also noticed that they used the one shape/object they initially selected. Could that be because of the time to variability ratio? Meaning there was only less than one hour to explore so many options using one object? Or was that because deep inside something drew them towards that object? OR! Was it because with every moment and tiny experiment spent with the object they created a more powerful bond? Or am I making this up trying to remind myself to renew my frame of reference with the mundane everyday objects I take for granted? 

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  1. Amazing piece written about kids and they way they express themselves in art. How different they are and how unique each child even though they just experimenting with one object … there is so much room for exploration… and how a teacher can see deeply in childrens’ creations, approaches and behaviors . How far beyond a teacher can see ? A passionate and dedicated teacher has no limits in how far or how deeply they can see while working with each child and the entire class as a whole. Beautifully written … simple, thought – provoking . It got me thinking …


  2. First things first. Happy to find a space for more learning and loved reading this with my kids.

    I was re-reading this post today and it made me think about how you managed Hugo’s curious question “What is Injuries ?”. A situational answer, always the hardest.

    And lastly, the pics you add, really transport us into your observable space. It’s an inspiration and I’m looking forward to more.


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