Dundee Botanic Garden Plant Power Day

The past couple of weeks have been busy art wise. I have been involved in creating the scenery for a local drama production which involved cardboard trees and leaves, as well as joining up with one of the school visits at the garden, and then getting organised for Plant Power day. (More details on other garden projects in future posts, but I’m excited to share what went on in my part of the garden on Saturday.

Plant Power was part of Fascination of Plants Day, inviting families to explore the garden and plants with activities such as face painting, plant printing, woodcarving, beekeepers, pot a plant etc to educate and entertain. As part of a main theme in my practice, I want people to interact with plants, and more importantly look closely at them. A fun and simple way to do this, specifically with kids was to draw. I didn’t want the adults to feel so pressured about drawing, and figured chalk on blackboard would ease the pressure as they could rub off their work (keeping the drawings as a memory/act) or to start again. It was also useful as the drawings would be recyclable.
After researching I landed with the idea of blackboard paint onto pieces of wood which would be carried around the garden, letting the plants etc inspire the drawings. I had generous help (skilled family) to cut and smooth off the wood for use, taking time to find a tree which would be suitable (aesthetic and function). End result:
The wooden chalk boards were a hit, so I’ll be cutting up more wood soon to create more.
Another piece I ran with was the kids communal painting. There’s nothing better than a big white canvas and colourful paint, mixed with fearless brush strokes to make a piece of art. One couple mentioned that it was the first time their child was painting. It was fun to see the different styles and motions over the course of the day.

Keeping busy

The finished piece! Some sisters added flowers and a butterfly to finish off the work, and then one girl passing declared that the painting was full and finished when given the offer to add to it, so I called it a day.

These worked really well. Some visitors carried them away, did drawings of the birds on show, plants, flowers, the garden and brought them back. I handed a lot of them out to keep as they were popular and a lot of kids really liked them (and their current drawing on the board). 

Some personal favourites I hung on the wall.

To reuse the boards I washed off the chalk with a paintbrush and water, and then used a clean cloth or bush over the top.

A lot of the younger kids coated the boards in colour after the first few marks they made. I was really drawn to these.

Inspiration in all forms…

Drawing what you grow (my favourite)

If anyone is looking for one of these chalk boards, get in touch (I had a few order queries on Saturday)

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