Floating Stories at Beam

Setting Up for Movement Stories

On our third day at the glorious Beam space, we created a fantastical web like structure out of multicolored yarn to set the stage for dramatic story play. The Beam space was a perfect room to draw out the yarn environment as the threads could be walked, twisted, overlapped and wrapped around three prominent columns in the center of the space. The children helped to design the room by balancing cardboard ledges, hanging fabric, and weaving ribbons. 

 Ribbons are loose parts waiting to be used.

Ribbons are loose parts waiting to be used.

 A cozy interior space creates a tunnel and place to lay beneath it's whispering "branches". The children say the spools remind them of mushrooms.

A cozy interior space creates a tunnel and place to lay beneath it's whispering "branches". The children say the spools remind them of mushrooms.

 Yarn creates a ceiling. Paper and cardboard balance and float upon the weblike structure of the children's fort.

Yarn creates a ceiling. Paper and cardboard balance and float upon the weblike structure of the children's fort.

 Arms reaching upward as the children take flight.

Arms reaching upward as the children take flight.

We began the experience with a meeting circle to discuss the nuances and properties of air and things that float. This sequed into a movement adventure story lead by Elisha and set to the wonderful musical score from the motion picture Big Fish. In the dimly lit, twinkling room, surrounded by clouds projected on the wall, the story guided children on a journey from their sleeping rooms  into an imaginary forest land where they crawled through secret passageways, floated on cotton candy clouds, took flight on the back of a giant sea turtle, transformed into mermaids, found shell treasures buried in the sea floor sand, and danced through space as if immersed in water and floating on air. Through the story play, children were allowed to experiment with their own ways of floating and flying and were invited to express what associations arose for them as they did so. It was a joyful and uniquely improvised dance adventure indeed! 

 

 Rolling, crawling, creeping, sleeping, hiding, exploring...children help to improvise and move through the vocabulary of the movement story.

Rolling, crawling, creeping, sleeping, hiding, exploring...children help to improvise and move through the vocabulary of the movement story.

 Sharing space beneath a wave.

Sharing space beneath a wave.

 Illuminated line drawing.

Illuminated line drawing.

 

Drawing with Light

The wall was aglow with our signature strings of lights, this time in the shape of mountain. Once again, we used the wall as a canvas for the light strings to create a scenic backdrop. The girls were invited to help tape up more lights into whatever shapes they chose to pursue.  They spoke quietly among themselves as they “drew” with light.

 

 

 Climb to the top of a mountain in the sky!

Climb to the top of a mountain in the sky!

 

We imagined the children would be inspired to add much more of their personal touches to this growing space so we provided yarn and ribbons, and a stack of our favorite linkable architectural cardboard squares (for balancing once the web was strong enough to bear weight) . However, children were more engaged in physicalizing their imaginary story to play out ideas, crawling beneath the low hanging ceiling of the fort and building a tiny room space out of cardboard to provide shelter for a stuffed doll. 

 Building a space just right for a doll and a blanket.

Building a space just right for a doll and a blanket.

 Take a peek inside the safe little hideaway. 

Take a peek inside the safe little hideaway. 

 Taking a slow walk through the shadowy fairy forest.

Taking a slow walk through the shadowy fairy forest.

 

 

 

 

 Shadow shapes tell stories of clouds and kites.

Shadow shapes tell stories of clouds and kites.

Time to Make!

The materials library is always an important part of investigating visual expression during our workshops. To allow time for making, we had materials on hand to develop floating structures, fairy houses, whatever the children were inclined to do.  Rolls of colorful tape, cardboard odds and ends, yarn, sticks, stretchy bands, buttons and corks...oh the possibilities are endless.  We posed the question "how might some of these items be combined and attached to make something new, something that reminds us of the story just experienced"?  This part of the workshop is lacking in documentation. As teachers think this is an area to discuss. But we are always learning, growing, open to experimenting as we attempt to follow the lead of our student's creative learning impulses. 

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For the Love of Wearable Art

It never seems quite complete with us until a child dons a scarf or creates a wearable accessory out of found materials, which almost always seem to occur at some point. This time cardboard ribbon spools are threaded onto a pink, satin ribbon, fashioning a special necklace that soon becomes offered as a gift for Mommy. It is a perfect ending to a perfect morning at Find and Seek.

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