I love the time when the cool breezes of autumn start to blow away the heat of summer. As the season changes so can the themes in our programmes. Harvest time in Perth brings about creative and delicious and festivals in our growing regions. In recent times, there has been a growing interest in scarecrows in these festivals which has led to several competitions for your school to be involved in.
Designing and creating a Scarecrow is a wonderful opportunity of having your students create art with relevance and purpose and engages in community activities whilst learning more than just art-making along the way. You could make a scarecrow for your school, community garden or for a festival. When participating in a festival, as I am this year, it provides families opportunities to visit the various growing regions and share and enjoy the many activities, including viewing the artworks created by the students in a real and relevant setting. The two festivals I have listed below additionally use these artworks as a means of raising funds for different charities. What a wonderful means of bringing awareness, not just to the importance of farming and environmental issues of the region, but also to charities.
These competitions make an excellent and exciting project brief. I always aim to take my students through the whole ‘creative’ process from start to completion. I have them research the history of scarecrows, modern day scarecrows, and the materials we have available to be used in the project. The students will then create several designs and devise a manner to create the artwork. The creation of the artwork is very exciting, the most challenging part of this process is where I have seen students go back to the drawing board more than once, and attempt to recreate the images from their imagination; reflection in art-making is a constant! The using, viewing and sharing of this artwork is a celebratory opportunity to reflect and discuss the whole arts-making process.
This is a project with real purpose, it warms my heart and the hearts of students knowing that our art-making can really make a difference. Many of the themes that you can associate with these competitions have strong links with several areas in the curriculum, allowing you to create an integrated project. Another option is using this as the theme in your own art project, or even using this competition as an activity with a smaller group such as a gifted and talented programme, art club, garden club or extension group. I have used scarecrows as a theme in a unit of work based on sculpture; I have also used this with a smaller group of students in a sculpture making workshop.
I wonder whether you are interested in making a scarecrow for your school, community, or for a competition during harvest season?
Do you have any scarecrow competitions in your area that you would like to share?
Check out these links for the competitions I have found in Perth, Western Australia.