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Naturmaterialer is kunst

Ice Art - All photos: Peder Morset Folk High School

Ice Art — creating pictures through interaction with nature

The cold winter weather in Selbu provided inspiration to create ice art with students. In this teaching programme, teachers show materials, methods and results from the work that has taken place. The programme can be used throughout the course of education and adapted to all student groups.

Norsk versjon

Task background

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown did not stop teachers at Peder Morset Folk High School from making creative programmes. Just like most primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools, the start of school after the Christmas holidays was different for us. Due to high rates of infection and increased risk for our students when travelling, the start of school was moved to 18 January. We had daily digital contact with students and conducted morning sessions, evening activities and academic supervision online. In addition, we wanted to say Happy New Year and welcome back to students by giving a digital presentation of all the staff and educational paths at the school. Selbusjøen lake was covered in ice and turned out to be the perfect venue to create the right mood and also take infection control into account.

Naturmaterialer is kunst

The staff at Design and Crafts wanted to make a contribution which would provide inspiration and motivation regarding an activity the students could do at home. Anyone who has tried digital arts and crafts homeschooling knows that it can present challenges, especially regarding access to materials and how to follow up students in a good way. Many of our students also require close follow-up and adaptation in order to succeed. Therefore, we had to create a task that was so easy to carry out that everyone could manage it regardless of their functional level or access to materials. In addition, we wanted to focus on sustainability and using nature as an exhibition space.

Many of our students require close follow-up and adaptation in order to succeed. Therefore, we had to create a task that was so easy to carry out that everyone could manage it regardless of their functional level or access to materials. In addition, we wanted to focus on sustainability and using nature as an exhibition space.

With this as a backdrop, the idea of ice art in the form of ice pictures emerged. We must emphasise that we had lovely, stable and cold winter weather that really lent itself to this kind of task. We chose to keep things really simple, but one can involve an incredible number of areas within the field of arts and crafts in this task, depending on the year group, level or subjects you wish to focus on.

Read about the work process below: «Gjennomføring» and another winter project: Creation of lanterns – look at «Tilleggsressurser».

Peder Morset Folk High School

Peder Morset Folk High School is located in Selbu in Trøndelag County, an hour’s drive from Trondheim. The school has 68 pupil places spread across 8 different educational paths, with Design and Crafts being one of them. Peder Morset Folk High School differs from the other folk high schools in that 40 of our pupil places are reserved for youngsters who have some form of learning disability or neuropsychological difficulty. The remaining 28 places are open to anyone else who would also like to take part in a year of study where self-development, personal growth and self-expression are in focus. And perhaps more importantly, the opportunity to get to know oneself and others in a safe and social learning environment.

Equality, inclusion, diversity and community are our core values, and they form the foundation for everything we do. We give you the opportunity to “be the person you are”.

 

Gjennomføring

Implementation

Materials

Hot water (if the age of the pupils and other conditions allow)
Moulds (plastic trays/drawers, ice-cream boxes, plastic buckets, etc. Pretty much anything that withstands water can be used)
Natural materials (available things such as branches, pine cones, leaves, straw, flowers etc)
Other materials can be used as decoration, e.g. old lace tablecloths.
Crêpe paper (if one would like add colour to the pictures)
In order to succeed with this task, the outside temperature has to be below freezing! Unless you have access to a large freezer.

Time spent on the task

We spent two days on the whole process. The amount of time you wish to spend on the task may vary according to how you would like to solve it.

The first step can be done at the end of any lesson/day. All you have to do is fill water into the moulds and leave them outside.

The amount of time you choose to spend collecting materials and making the pictures depends on the year group, the group size, the possibilities of finding natural materials and whether the teacher has chosen to collect materials in advance.  Maybe it could be combined with outdoor school?

If the task is to be given as a home assignment, we recommend that you clarify the expectations and scope before students begin.

Naturmaterialer is kunst

Day 1.

Preparation work:

We used plastic drawers from classroom cabinets (50×50), but you could also use things such as boxes or containers. We filled the drawers with warm water until they were about 1/3 full. We left them outside until the next day. We used hot water because it freezes more easily and creates fewer air bubbles in the pictures.

We collected natural materials from the local area and used poinsettia plants and other indoor flowers that had started to wither after Christmas. In addition, we cut up an old lace tablecloth and used the pieces as decoration. The only limitation is your imagination. However, if the plan is to leave the ice pictures outside on the lake ice or in nature, it is important not to use materials that pollute when the pictures melt.

“…if the plan is to leave the ice pictures outside on the lake ice or in nature, it is important not to use materials that pollute when the pictures melt.”

Naturmaterialer is kunst

Day 2.

Creating the pictures:

We used the materials we had collected and played around with different compositions and pictorial expressions. The students may work completely on their own, but one can also guide them when it comes to composition, formal aesthetic principles and structuring the pictures. However, one shouldn’t be afraid of letting the students work freely and intuitively. This can often produce better results than if they get too caught up in doing the ‘right’ thing. It is also possible to conduct a review of the pictures together with students after they are finished. Was there something that worked particularly well? If so, why? What are they happy with? Would they change anything?

We used some water to attach the materials to the bottom of the ice in the drawers. It prevented the elements from floating about when we poured on more water. We filled the drawers until they were 2/3 full and left them outside until the next day. You may choose how thick you want the pictures to be, but make sure they are thick enough to stand upright.

We mixed in a bit of blue in some of the pictures. We used crêpe paper because it releases its colour very easily and is much more environmentally friendly and suitable than paint. Food colouring could also be an option.

.Isbilder PMF

Picture composition. The colour blue can be achieved by using crêpe paper.

Day 3

Installation — Land art — outdoor exhibition:

We brought the pictures inside so that they melted slightly around the edges. This made it easier to remove them from their moulds. We carried all the drawers down to the ice-covered lake and began the exciting work of finding a suitable place to put them in relation to the sun, the light and the surroundings. Many of us worked together and we had many drawers with different expressions. As a result, we had the opportunity to try out different compositions and placements until we found what we liked best.

If students do this task at home, they might not have many pictures to work with, but if it is a task that is carried out at school, one can use many different approaches when working with installations, land art or nature/outdoor spaces as exhibition arenas. You can interact with nature and the surroundings, group the pictures together, look for common elements or contrasts in the pictures and deliberately use these in the installation. This can be done in a very simple and intuitive manner, or you could choose more academic and considered approaches to the work. Conducting a review of the task together with students both during and after the activity will also be important in terms of making students aware of the choices they make and the rationale behind them.

We attached the ice pictures by pouring some warm water on the ice so that they quickly froze to the surface.

Naturmaterialer is kunst

The pictures are attached to the ice using hot waterRegardless of whether the task is to be done at school or as part of homeschooling, it is great to allow the students to document their work by taking pictures during the process and of the end product. Photography can also be used in a separate task, where one can work with light conditions, composition, perspective, segments, details, etc. It is fascinating to learn how changes in light can alter the expression of the pictures and how one experiences them. Photography allows one to capture the moment and immortalise the otherwise temporary ice pictures

Organisation and adaptation

There are many different ways of carrying out the teaching related to this task. Here is a presentation of the way we think works best for the students attending our educational path, based on what we want to achieve with the task. We start by showing the ice pictures we have already created, and have a brainstorming session and ‘motivational talk’. The students then create their individual ice pictures. Some of them might be able to make more than one. This gives us the opportunity to differentiate and provide challenges and academic input to each individual based on their prerequisites. We then have to collaborate when working with the installation two days later. Each individual picture will now become part of a joint exhibition. All the pictures are equally important and significant, just like the youngsters who have created them. We depend on each other and have to work together to develop a holistic expression. This can be a challenging but also exciting process together with the students. We also get to introduce and concretise our values; — Equality, integration, diversity and community.

All the pictures are equally important and significant, just like the youngsters who have created them. We depend on each other and have to work together to develop a holistic expression.

Documentation

The students document the exhibition by taking photos, and we will include these pictures in our annual exhibition together with the other things we create.

Naturmaterialer is kunst

An old lace tablecloth also creates nice effects

Why we think this task works so well.

The key word here is SIMPLICITY. The implementation is so simple that the vast majority of students manage this by themselves or with a little practical help. The pictures that are the least thought through and planned can actually become the most beautiful. Materials and equipment are things everyone already has or can manage to acquire without costing anything. Another factor that we think comes into play is the interaction with nature and the surroundings. The joy of working outside and experiencing the added effect and dimension the light, ice and snow bring to the pictures makes the experience of having created something beautiful even greater.

“The joy of working outside and experiencing the added effect and dimension the light, ice and snow bring to the pictures makes the experience of having created something beautiful even greater.”

Naturmaterialer is kunst

Selbusjøen lake was covered in ice and turned out to be the perfect venue to create the right mood and also take infection control into account.

Responsible for the project

The employees at the Design and Craft department who collaborated on this project were: Sigrun Sletner, teacher, Berit Garte, occupational therapist and Jeanette Bårdsgård Guldseth, social educator.

Sigrun Sletner

Berit Garte

Jeanette Bårdsgård Guldseth

 

Tilleggsressurser

Lanterns

Another winter project could involve the creation of lanterns to illuminate the pictures in the dark.

lykter is lys mørkt

Ice lanterns PMF

lykter av is lys

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