This week we will make art from the junk you can find lying around your house!
Perhaps your recycling bin collection has been suspended, or maybe you just have extra recycling due to everyone being stuck at home.
Well, now's the time to use it up creatively – and to have some fun together while doing it!
In 2019 Art UK loaned Cat by Jane Ackroyd from the Harlow Art Trust collection to three Harlow primary schools.
In response to receiving this characterful artwork for a day, teachers and students chose an animal (a donkey, a giraffe, a mythical cat monster) to represent their school.
Artist Jane Ackroyd pre-made wire structures for children, parents, carers and teachers to build onto using scrim dipped in wet plaster coloured with acrylic paint. Participants collaborated to make some wonderful creatures.
The pupils studied Cat with their teachers and classmates, discussing and sketching the shapes that make up this playful sculpture.
Ackroyd's mischievous animal is composed and welded from found scrap mild-steel, including a girder (the tail), Roman nails (the claws) and a ball-shaped object (a rather satisfied and sizeable stomach).
Anyone who is an owner of – or a lover of – cats, will recognise how cleverly the artist captures the character and stance of a real-life feline, with one paw stretching out lazily...
How to make your own
At home, if you have one, spend some time sketching your pet. If you are in a pet-free house, you could search the web for your favourite animal and do the same activity.
Try to draw your animal sleeping, alert, stretched out, angry, contented, playful – you might have to use your imagination!
You could even combine two animals to create your very own mashed-up creature.
Then have a go at reducing your animal down to simple shapes so you can make a 3D version.
The next step is to find a selection of (clean) old cereal or Easter egg boxes, egg cartons, bottle tops, kitchen roll tubes, juice cartons, squash bottles, plastic packaging and other junk – and use these to build your animal.
You can use sticky tape, scissors and/or glue and a stapler to attach shapes together. You can get a parent or carer to help if this proves tricky!
You could add googly eyes and string, wool, pipe cleaners or paper straws for whiskers, etc.
When you are happy with your creature, if you have any paints (poster, acrylic), you could paint your pet to really bring it to life.
Tell a story
When Cat visited primary schools in Harlow, the children enjoyed learning about the sculpture's unexpectedly exciting past. Stolen from Old Harlow Library and sprayed gold by thieves, Cat was recovered in 1995, returned to its original colouring by the artist and it now lives in The Gibberd Gallery in the town's civic centre.
You could make up a story about your creature and the adventures it gets up to during lockdown.
The loans of Jane Ackroyd's Cat from Harlow Art Trust's collection were part of over 75 Masterpieces in Schools loans taking place between 2018 and 2020 thanks to the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, R. K. Harrison and Hiscox.
Selina Levinson Drake, Learning and Engagement Manger at Art UK