Children with a special interest in Art from our KS2 classes joined an exciting project to explore nature and the words we use, making a published book and taking part in a professional Art Gallery presentation.
The Lost Words of Nidderdale Project was inspired by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris's 'The Lost Words', a book written in reaction to the news that nature words are disappearing from children's dictionaries. Their beautifully illustrated book of poems seeks to give some of those words back.
Commissioned by the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership and Nidderdale Visual Arts, artist Jane Carlisle Bellerby worked with a group of KS2 children from Hampsthwaite CE Primary School, encouraging them to take note of and make creative responses to the nature they came across in Fishpond Wood, Bewerley. The aim of the project was to encourage the children to be active participants in researching the nature around them; to be investigators, artists, poets and as a consequence the custodians and safe keepers of local knowledge.
The children's work was realised in mixed media: paper stained green with wild garlic leaves, watercolour studies and sun-printed silk marked with woodland rubbings. All was embellished with gold leaf, emphasising the children's observations that "nature is treasure", 'nature is precious." Alongside pictures acrostic and shape poems were written, describing that which was seen, heard, felt, whilst also using some Yorkshire dialect terms, words which were new to the children.
Like many grassroots campaigns across the country, the project was able to supply copies of 'The Lost Words' and accompanying guide by the John Muir Trust to Pateley Bridge Library and the libraries of all of the primary schools in Nidderdale. Throughout the project author Robert Macfarlane sent messages of support via social media, which he kindly allowed to be used in The Lost Words of Nidderdale project booklet;
"Thank you Nidderdale for your support. How brilliant to see so many children making, and also out exploring and looking. So many smiling faces and intensely engaged expressions. What glowing work the children have made. I love the landscape-mirages made by the washes, and the gold scintillating within them. Wonderful to see."
The project culminated in an exhibition at number 6 studio gallery in Pateley Bridge which ran alongside the NiddFest literature and nature festival in June 2018, and the work of the project will be shared with local schools at a training event in January 2019.