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Footpaths and nest
Thursday 30 October 2008
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To sculpt within the landscape : to use the site

- As a setting up place
- As a material


To work out an artistic project

- Connected to the approach of contemporary artists working in the landscape
- From a sensitive approach of the environment
- From structured lines drawn on the floor


- Natural elements (branches, flowers, leaves…)
- Flour
- A camera



Nils-Udo and, more generally, Land Art artists.


Before the sequence, make the children aware of contemporary land art, particularly the short-lived works made from plants and photographed by artist Nils-Udo.

1) Work outdoors. Collect natural elements (branches, flowers, leaves). Work out the project of making sculptures put up in the landscape, from the collected elements, on the theme of the nest – a recurring theme in Nils-Udo’s work.

2) Classify the branches according to their lengths (short/long). The shorter ones will be used to build the nests while the longer ones will be set aside for the footpath.

3) On this line, position the longest branches homogeneously, respecting the alignement -

- Sort out the flowers by sort or by colour.
- Make a “footpath?: Draw a line on the floor with flour. ignment.

4) Set up the “nests? :- Elaborate the nest-making collectively, then form groups of children responsible for:

- Shaping nests by forming circles with the twigs
- Filling in the circles with various sorts of flowers

5) Take a picture of the work once it is finished.


- Work out the project to set up installations : drawing , making a model
- Draw again “the footpath? and “the nests?
- With Indian ink and cotton buds, try variations combining circles and sticks
- Mathematical activities about: open/closed lines ; inside/outside ; short/long
- Imagine a story about this footpath and these nests. Who lives in these nests ? Who walks on the footpath ?


It will deal with the children’s ability to :

- draw lines on the ground, to imagine the general design, to respect its orientation, to identify its elements (for example : open/closed line).
- take an interest in the works of artists who, like Nils-Udo, work with and within the landscape.

Michel Valentin. Auguste Renoir Nursery School Trappes (Yvelines ) France

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