Ash Keys to the Future is a new education resource created by Outdoor Studios, supported by The Ash Project. The free teaching resource presents activities which are designed to create memories that can be part of an archive of the ash tree.
Ash Keys to the Future presents a number of potentials that can be explored and experimented with, in and around the school grounds whether inner city or rural. Activities promote a way of working through drawing, writing and experimenting with ash timbers and associated making skills, giving the potential to discover individual unique palettes of materials and site-specific histories related to ash trees in local communities. The resource is freely available and will be shared with schools across Kent.
Outdoor Studios worked with the The Ash Project to develop a programme for 15 schools across Kent to learn about ash and create memories of the tree. They worked with students for a half day in schools and then a full day in woodlands. Over the two days they learnt about the tree, its place in the ecosystem and created a series artistic responses including chalk, ink and charcoal drawings, ash block prints and and poetry and stories exploring the many words used to describe the tree, how its worked and it’s timber.
During the day spent in a local woodland students mapped the environment with drawings and language. Then through practical workshops with ash timber they explored the trees particular properties and place it in the art and culture of our past. Outdoor Studios worked with students to think about at the future challenges facing ash trees in our landscape and reﬂected on hopes for the future.
Through this process Outdoor Studios worked on a teaching resource that outlines work plans for teachers to work with ash tree in the classroom and in the school grounds.
The artists’ collective Outdoor Studios came together through Stour Valley Arts, an arts organisation based in King’s Wood in Kent that enabled people to explore contemporary art within an ancient woodland setting. For 20 years, the Stour Valley Arts Learning programme offered creative workshops in Kent with broad themes of time, place, life, decay and regeneration through exploration of the natural materials and forest landscape. These unique learning opportunities are now available through the collective expertise of the artists of Outdoor Studios, who all have extensive experience of delivering Art workshops in Kent that connect groups to natural and urban environments across a range of arts disciplines. They are printmakers, painters, writers, textile artists, photographers, film-makers, sculptors, craftspeople, ceramicists, and sound artists.