Sewing Leaves with kids - Andy Goldsworthy

I first attempted this project myself while attending a beautiful local women's gathering by Art On Earth. Sewing leaves into pretty patterns and shapes was something I had never considered before attending an Andy Goldsworthy inspired evening in a yurt surrounded by sacred sisters.  I was scheduled to teach sixth grade art the next day so that morning I brought my snips and drove all over town in search of colorful fall leaves that were 1. low enough so I could reach and 2. not too crispy.

I started the lesson with a little background information, photos and a couple you tube videos.

Andy Goldsworthy

(from Wikipedia:)

(born 26 July 1956) is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist producing site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings. He lives and works in Scotland.

Photography plays a crucial role in his art due to its often ephemeral and transient state. According to Goldsworthy, "Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit.”[7]

Art process

The materials used in Andy Goldsworthy's art often include brightly coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. He has been quoted as saying, "I think it's incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can't edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole.

You can download his documentary online

Rivers and Tides

I’d like to play the following videos in class:

I’d like to share the photos from this website:

The Fun Begins:

Heavy duty thread and wide eye needles and piles and piles of leaves were spread across everyones desks.

I showed them a couple basic sewing skills and hoped for the best.  Sometimes I just cross my fingers and hope the project isn't a complete failure.  The kids were quiet and engaged and seemed to really enjoy themselves.

One student had a broken arm and instead of sewing he created patterns on his desk, took a photo, and then made new patterns.

I encouraged everyone to place their leaf art in a body of water in nature and take a photo in true Andy Goldsworthy style.