A Three Dimensional Nature Collage and a Gallery Walk with 22 Forest Fiesta Contributors

by Rashmie Jaaju on June 15, 2011 · 30 comments

in Art & Craft,Nature Learning

Nearly two weeks back, after we came from our 'gorgeous green' vacation to Coorg, I came to know that this year the World Environment Day is being hosted by India and the theme is Forests! 

We were so full of inspiration from our nature walks and forest exploration activities in Coorg that celebrating the World Environment Day seemed the most natural thing to do. Initially my idea was to do some nature-inspired crafts with Pari but then, I thought, we are talking here about the WORLD Environment Day, so why not celebrate it with the whole wide world? (smiles)

So, here we are – with 18 of my mommy blogger friends who have joined in to celebrate Forest Fiesta. Plus some beautiful entries from my readers too, including one entry from my 9-month old niece named Sarah!

At Coorg – which is an enigmatic hill town with dense and lush Coffee plantations – Pari, my mom and I did very little of anything else except nature walks, collecting leaves, Coffee blooms, pine cones and other treasures and spotting birds, bugs and critters.

Those treasures from nature are so close to our heart that Pari decided to create something using them. 

And this is what she created – 

A three dimensional art/collage illustrating the colours and beauty of a forest.

The collage adorns our book shelf in the living room and every look at it makes us remember the blissful and fancy-free hours and days spent in the woods. I'm going to hang it in her room.

What I like best about this art is:

  • It was super easy for Pari to make – completely on her own. This gives her confidence and imbues a sense of independence
  • It is a beautiful reminder of the place that she visited and the time we all spent together as a family collecting those 'finds'
  • It acts as a nature journal too besides being a wall art for her room.
  • It will motivate her to undertake many more forest treks

For the base of this painting, I cut out a stiff cardboard from a cardboard box. I am planning to make a really big collage like this and I think I'l use a wooden base for it.

We set the table up with all that she would need – the 'finds' from nature, play dough, and patterned rolling pins.

These days, Pari is so enamoured with kneading the dough and rolling out rotis/breads that the very idea of rolling out the play dough for this art was enough to excite her.

She started off by rolling the blue dough to make water. Into the water, she pressed the silk cotton pod that looks so much like a boat.

She went on adding three dimensional layers of colours by pressing the rolled out dough. And, in each layer, she 'buried' her finds – coffee and cardamom blooms (that were green when she had found), pine cone, acorn, dried pine leaves etc.

Reminded me of the exquisite Lily flower and their pads that we clicked in Coorg

Finally, she glued the pressed leaves (she had pressed them between the pages of a heavy hard bound book) outside the play dough area and completed the painting.

Here are some closer views:

Just for context: These are the green Coffee Arabica blooms that we collected

The boat-shaped silk cotton pod. We collected dozens of these. And, there's a little (scary) incident too associated with it. When opening one of these, a BIG red silk cotton bug jumped onto my neck. Now, however much nature-loving I may be, I can't handle creepers and bugs. We were then in the middle of a plantation forest and the guide told us that this creature's bite can be very dangerous. Gosh! That was my day, I think, or the bug was just trying to check me out…!

Now for the delightful entries from the kids of my readers!

The first two entries came from Kiran and Soni – the two little girls who are mentored by Protsahan – a Non-Governmental organization that works towards providing creative and meaningful learning experiences to those kids whose families cannot afford for them or for those who were relegated to living on the streets because they had no body to take care of them. We're proud of you Kiran and Soni and thank you Protsahan.

The third entry came from the adorable Khwaish – from Bangalore. Her mom – Ashu – helped her make this beautiful forest with day-time as well as night-time scenes. They used waste sketch pens to make the tree trunks. Painted pasta made for the butterflies. The night time forest shows off fire flies, while the day-time scene has butterflies fluttering by. Utterly creative, isn't it?
Ashu loves setting up art and craft activities for her daughter. They also like connecting with nature by visiting the local farm often.

The fourth entry came from Karan Krishnan – from Mumbai. Karan made this forest scene using stamping technique. He used sponge and cotton to dab clour into his trees. I admire the fact that though Karan is more the sports-type of kid, he still made this with much enthusiasm. Thank you to Param – Karan's mom – who inspired him to make. I'd like to mention that Param owns an online store for Children's books. You can check out the wonderful collection it has.

The fifth entry came from Vasavi – from Noida. Vasavi has created a garden or a forest that she wishes to have some day. She has used leaves, petals, ferns etc to make her garden. Vasavi's mamma – Chhavi helped her here and there. I liked how Vasavi has written that "Vasavi's garden" in her beautiful handwriting. I would like to add that Vasavi is brilliant at sketching and drawing. She makes cute family portraits of her mom, dad, grandparents and cousins. She also made one of my family. (smiles)

And the fourth and final entry came from the little Sarah from New Delhi: Sarah – my 9-month old neice created her very first painting for Forest Fiesta with her jungle friends – "Hippu and Teddu" (in the pic) – using some edible colours that her mommy – Srishti – made for her at home. Srishti made those colours by crushing coriander leaves and beet root and mixing them with corn flour to make green and red/burgundy colours. With Sarah, using edible colours was most essential because this little girl has to explore anything and everything by putting it in her mouth first! Gosh! Talk about heightened sense of taste. But then, when it comes to eating (I mean eating real food), she gives her mom the toughest time on this earth. 

And then, dear readers, I too gave some creative outlet to my passion for nature and photography by clicking a series of photos of our 'finds'. I have named this series "Nature Platter". I'm not going to share the full series here as this event is all about art for and with kids. But, you can have a look at these samples and see the rest of the 'Nature Platter' series on my other blog – Gorgeous Karma.

And now, join me in the gallery walk through these 19 blogs – below

My hearty thank you to these bloggie friends who sportingly participated in this art event. So proud to be a part of this immensely creative and friendly community of bloggers. Being a work from home mom without any real-life office community that office-going moms have, I would feel lonely, lost and siloed without this blogging community that I'm a part of. I love visiting these blogs every once in a while to seek ideas, inspiration and more than anything else – to connect and bond. The fact that we all love nurturing a creative and playful environment for our children helps us resonate at many levels.