Cumberland Natural History Museum in Portsmouth is a very special place for wildlife in Britain, as it has many different habitats in a very small area. The museum tells the story of the wild things of the riverbank, marshes, woods and urban areas of Portsmouth, as well as learning about Portsmouth's geology and specimens from ancient times. The museum is housed in an old Victorian mansion overlooking the sea, and has its very own butterfly house where the butterflies fly from May to September.
The museum is currently temporarily closed for refurbishment and is due to reopen in early June 2013.
During this period I have been commissioned by Portsmouth City Museum to produce artworks that respond to the collection of birds and butterflies. The project is called 'Flights of Fancy' and I am working with the marvellous Tracy Teasdale, Learning Officer from Portsmouth City Museum and two local primary schools. I have designed workshops that allow children to work directly with the specimens in order to produce interpretations that will be exhibited in the museum when it reopens.
Today was the first of three full day workshops at Paulsgrove Primary School in Portsmouth. Working with year 3 and 4 children, we spent the day focusing out attention on some of the butterfly collection by producing drawings, detailed paintings and window 'sun catchers'. The children worked really hard and almost silently, this being the sign of true concentration and absorption! The results speak for themselves.
Afternoon session involving drawing and painting to scale.