Muddy Fingers and Poetic Rocks

Sally Barker and Andrew McMillan, our artist and writer in residence for the first year of the Watershed Landscape project built mini landscapes and created fabulous poetry with local schools at the Manor House Museum in Ilkley.

Nestled against the looming Cow and Calf rocks high up on Ilkley Moor, the Manor House was the perfect setting for the 'Found Objects' workshops which helped children get close to the moors by exploring objects discovered up in the landscape. 

Andrew helped pupils use everyday objects from the moors as inspiration to write landscape poetry which they then performed to classmates. Leaves and stones (sometimes a bit boring looking) were transformed into living characters who had a story to tell about their lives once out on the moors; 'imagine an island the shape of a tooth just coming out of the water...' became the description of a rock whilst feathers were 'the colour of a foggy day'.

Sally encouraged the class to work with natural materials including moss, twigs, soil, and stones gathered in the uplands to create fabulous miniature landscapes populated with small clay figures. The tiny model people that Sally carefully paints to populate her own sculptural art works clearly inspired the group who let their imaginations run wild creating three-dimensional dens and carved rock inspired structures.