I am doing a series of art workshops this year in The Dock in Leitrim – for schools, families and children of all ages. The next one is the Saturday on May 19th for National Drawing Day – join me between 11am and 2pm for my Fast and slow portrait workshop – you can pop in anytime and take part, and it’s suitable for all ages!
I love working with children and am always delighted to get invited to do workshops around the country. Children really inspire me as they are all brilliant at drawing and just go ahead and do it – no faffing about! They just sit and draw and let the inspiration flow. In my workshops I aim to encourage that natural talent and help them develop their work in their own style. There is no right and wrong way – so I don’t want them all to draw just like the way I do – instead, my wish is for everyone to be themselves and express themselves as fully as they can through their art.
March 2018 – Welcome Spring Family workshop at The Dock arts centre, Leitrim
Finally the weather was improving so I had a little group in to welcome spring with some nature art! Family days in The Dock are really special as it’s a lovely opportunity for parents and children to create something together. First we made leaf rubbings, as it’s always good to have an easy warm up! I had A3 sheets folded into little booklets and everyone drew out a little nature scene, some made it into a story. The idea of it being a book really triggered the imagination of some of the kids who made sequential art. It also broke the page down into bite sized pieces so it was easier to tackle. Press play on the video to see a flick through some of the beautiful creations.
March 2018 – Nature Mobile Workshop with Scoil Mhuire at The Dock Arts Centre, Leitrim
A lovely, enthusiastic, and friendly bunch of Leitrim 6th class children (and their teacher!) spent a morning with me making nature mobiles in The Dock. Everyone got had pine cones, leaves and some feathers to attach to a very beautiful stick with twine or ribbon. The task was to make a balanced mobile where the elements can each move freely. Once created, the students experimented further by combining their mobiles together using a bigger stick as the base.
Everyone was allowed to pick their own materials so we spoke about the different types of sticks available The sticks were especially nice as most of them were freshly fallen following the recent snowy weather – some were smooth and budding (Ash tree) some were scaly (Scots pine) and the rest were Sycamore which had colourful lichen growing on it.
November 2017 – Nature Art Workshop with Stratford College and Stratford National School, Dublin
I had a brilliant morning with first class and then first year secondary school students at Stratford College/N.S. Nature art is great fun for all ages and everyone had lots to say about their favourite trees and wild animals. Here’s some of the beautiful creations:
August 2017 – Nature Journal Workshop at Christ Church Cathedral as part of Heritage Week
The theme of this year’s Heritage Week was “It’s In Your Nature” and I was delighted to be invited to host a workshop for children in Dublin, all about making your own Nature Journal. We met in the vaults in Christ Church Cathedral and spent some time outside in the garden, looking at the wild flowers and the birds. Everyone got their own little notebook and I had customised the first page with a little illustration to colour in, each child getting a different picture and they could pick whichever one they wanted.
We made bark rubbings, identified the trees and birds, collected some grass and flower samples, then came back inside to draw trees. I had a lovely group of enthusiastic children and we had a fun couple of hours.
July 2017 – Wildflower sketch walk for Carlow Garden Festival for adults and children
Carlow Garden Festival has been running for about 15 years now and each year it’s getting bigger and better! The headliner this year was Monty Don, who gave a sold out talk on the same evening I had my workshops. I had two groups on Friday 21st June, and a lot of the participants were total beginners. Our sketch walk was along the river Barrow in Leighlinbridge (the prettiest village ever) and we did loads of drawing exercises to get us going and help improve the observation skills! It was lovely to meet everyone, I got a very warm and homely welcome and made new friends. Here’s a few pics but there’s more on the Carlow Tourism Facebook page here.
June 2017 – Art Workshop for Children and Adults at Body & Soul Festival
I had a drop-in nature art workshop for adults and children on the Air Stage after my talk, in the forest at Body & Soul music festival – it was different to my other workshops because everyone was just having a wander so I would entice them in and see if they wanted to draw with me, which luckily enough they did! We focused on trees and leaves and did some cutting, drawing and colouring. Most people stayed and made art for between ten and twenty minutes before wandering off to the other fab workshops/installations in the same area.
March 2017 – Dubray Books Blackrock – My Naturama Nature Journal Workshop
So now our new book is out, Michael Fewer and I had a nature drawing workshop in Dubray Books Blackrock with 30 children from St Andrews Primary School. We based the workshop on the “Draw your favourite tree” exercise from My Naturama Nature Journal. Everyone drew trees and we spoke about the environment and local wildlife. Michael brought along his amazing collection of seashells, a dead badger skull, and pressed leaves from exotic trees and we all had a big chat about trees. I think I got a photos of all of the drawings (fingers crossed!). Gorgeous trees! There’s a few more photos here on Gill books Faceboook… and on my own Facebook page here.
Feb 2017 – Enniscorthy Library, Wexford – Reading Together Festival
I did a very special valentines workshop in Enniscorthy Library for little kids on February 14th as part of the “Reading Together” festival. Thanks a million to Caroline Busher, the Wexford Library Reader in Residence, for inviting me down. Thanks as well to John Busher for the photos.
I brought a box of glitter hearts and premade cards as a base for colouring in – my little gang of three and four year olds coloured in the inside, glued on the hearts at the front, and covered the rest with love heart stamps and glitter glue. The result – love bombs with 100% joy ready to give to mammy and daddy.
Nov 2016 – Sligo – Nature Drawing for Science Week
I spent a wonderful afternoon doing two nature drawing workshops for children on November 18th in Sligo town as part of Science Week. Here are some pictures – we drew lots of trees and talked about how great they are as habitats and what the world would be like if there was no trees.
Sept/Oct 2016 – Leitrim – Explore & Create
I led a six week (one evening a week) workshop called Explore & Create, in The Dock Arts Centre, Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim, for 8-12 year olds. The workshop were all about creating a funny little world as a group. We made new parts each week – forests, houses, animals, mountains, people and finally, monsters – all made up worlds need a few monsters. Take a look at the photos to see the wonderful creations!
This was the tiny video I before the workshop to encourage children to sign up! (it worked :))
Oct 2016 – Wexford – Nature Drawing at Gorey Library
I made a visit to Gorey Co Wexford, on Saturday October 1st for a nature drawing workshop for children in the library. We made drawings of forests and wild creatures and everyone had lots of stories to tell me all about the wildlife in Wexford! Here are some photos of the day:
August 2016 – Wild Words Children’s Book Festival in Leitrim
The above videos are of my nature journals from when I was 11, please press play.
These are the personalised notebooks for the children to fill up with nature drawings and stick in leaves and feathers at our Nature Journal workshop for Wild Words.
I was invited to host some workshops along with Michael Fewer (writer of Naturama) in my hometown of Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim for the wonderful Wild Words Children’s Book Festival last August 13th and 14th.
We had a Naturama inspired nature journal workshop for children on the Saturday.
We customised blank notebooks for every child before they arrived and they went on to fill them up with drawings and stuck in leaves and feathers. I also brought along my own nature journals from when I was small (see videos above). Once they got going there was no stopping them!
I was also extremely honoured to be the host of a Naturedoodle on the Sunday morning – see video for the result…50 children all at once was a bit daunting but they were all so well behaved and sat and drew away to their hearts content. My nieces and nephews came along to help over the weekend which made it even nicer!