To a small child, the everyday is fresh, complex and absorbing. Consequently, the mundane is new, unknown territory and it is magical. We can find the extraordinary in our backyards – in places, spaces and events that seem ordinary.

Unusual markings become faces in tree trunks, or a knot in the bark becomes a door for the ants. Why not explore these deeper? Try photographing these and revisiting them at home. Take fallen twigs and leaves to create artwork relating to these observations.

“The special life is where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, the natural becomes miraculous, the everyday becomes unique. Finding the magic and wonder within nature is the most assured means by which children rediscover the joy of life”

– Shmuley Boteach

Transient Art: Finding the Extraordinary

Transient art is moveable art or temporary art. It is non-permanent, continually evolving and process-orientated creativity in action. When children create temporary art, they manipulate, explore and experiment. Children can work individually or collaboratively on either large or small scale projects.

The best thing about transient art is that children can develop an image over and over again. They can create different variations and sequences each time. Bush/nature walks are a treasure trove for collectables that can be used in transient art. Whether in a bush environment to be revisited at a later date to observe any changes by nature (such as wind or rain) or taken home to explore!

So how do you make transient art? Thankfully it’s flexible. You can make transient art anywhere, at any time, from anything. For a more technical approach, however, here’s our guide.

How to Create Transient Art for Children

What You’ll Need for Transient Art

Objects – any interesting leaves, twigs etc. These objects can be collected on long nature walks over a series of days or found in your garden one afternoon. Keep an eye out for interesting shapes or unique colours.

White Cloth – this gives you a nice plain background to work with to make your objects stand out. It can also help in the clean-up if you’re using anything messy or creating your art outside. The cloth also doesn’t have to be white, you could try dying it using our natural dyes.

Black frame – adds structure and a border to the design. Can be cut from cardboard lying around the house or could even be an empty photo frame. You could paint the frame whatever colour you want. Not only could painting the frame be an activity for your child but so could mixing the paint.

Photographs (optional) – either printed or digital. Did you see an interesting tree or car on your walk? Snap a photo and you can include it in your design or use it as a reference image to recreate.

Camera (optional) – transient art is meant to be temporary, so if you want to keep your final design just take a photo of it at the end

How to Create Transient Art

  1. Lay out all your found objects and treasures near where you would like to do your art. Laying them out and grouping them together if necessary works to help keep things organised.
  2. Lay the white cloth or backing paper onto the floor.
  3. Place the frame/s onto the white cloth in an easily accessible area.
  4. Add your objects and treasures into the frame.
  5. Experiment! Create weird imaginary animals, try and recreate things you’ve seen on your walk or even try portraits of each other.
  6. Photograph the final product, this can be added to your reference images for next time
  7. Deconstruct design and put everything away for next time

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Mixing paint is a skill SOEL children learn in the studio, and this process often happens before we paint. Try this at home with our step-by-step guide.

SOEL@Home: Cleaning is Caring

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