It was an absolute delight and great fun doing the two Cruinniú na nÓg workshops: “Soil, Clay and Natural Pigments” with soil scientist Luis López Sangil and myself, and “Natural Inks” with artist David Begley.
Both workshops were fully booked and everyone involved, the children, their parents and us, had a thoroughly fun and educational experience. We learnt from Luis about the different soil types and profiles and what produces certain colours. Children sieved soil to get rid of impurities and understand how pigments are produced.
I then explained a little bit about the history of art and how artists in the past had to create their own paints. Children then made their own tempera paint using natural earth pigments, egg yolks, water and white wine.
In the second workshop led by David we learnt how to create our own drawing tools using reeds, then he took us on an art history journey to learn about ink making in the past. Taking inspiration in the Book of Kells, the kids learnt how to make ink from oak galls, alder cones, iron water and other natural ingredients. Children tested such inks by drawing a portrait of Oisín, who had to stand still holding a spade for quite a while.
Every single portrait was as different as their creators, yet they all managed to capture different elements of Oisín’s character.
A big, big thank you to every child that attended and their parents, to Luis and David for their time, good humour and expertise. And of course to Creative Ireland and Wexford County Council for making it possible for us to offer these workshops for free.