Secrets and Codes is the name of a project I mentioned a few weeks back. I wanted to find ways to entice the children into becoming keen detectives of their local area, both geographically and historically. I'm employed as the resident textile artist for the project and will be working with them over nine sessions and curating an exhibition of the work involved (mine and theirs).
We'll be using session one to start thinking about the hidden messages carried in visual codes, and how pictures and symbols can tell us more than we first see.
I have a huge map of the children's village which I'll be asking them to plot events and stories onto, and we'll be exploring some specially made bunting, in which each flag shows a different code. We'll be talking about the use of codes and how they work, and what codes the children can think of themselves, which hopefully we'll have time to add to the bunting. I'm hoping that we will also be able to draw in the wider community by collecting stories from parents and grandparents so we'll be starting that process too.
I want the children not only to learn about thinking visually, but also to understand that heritage is a human thing, something to be connected to, proud of and inspired by. And so one of the flags of the bunting will use the piece above. At first glance its just a swirl of coloured lines, and this is what will be shown on the bunting. As we talk about what this might mean, I'll explain it's actually a map. A map of solar eclipses over forty years. It was charted by my grandfather in 1954. The coloured lines I've recreated are the movements of the sun in each of its eclipses. And I'll be taking the original map in for them to look at too.
I want them to feel the vibrancy of the project, but also to feel something precious all around them. I hope this simple felt tip line drawing and a shabby old special map will help them begin this journey.