Waxing miracle

3rd December 2004 at 00:00
Year 6 pupils used a fascinating website to explore patterns in nature and develop a multimedia project. Giles Hughes reports

You can spend hours looking at the huge variety of images at Ian Alexander's natural patterns library. The website provides close-up views of bark and leaf patterns, alongside detailed sections of alligator and armadillo skin. Obscure patterns made by water droplets and cracks in dried riverbeds capture the imagination and fire your curiosity.

My class loved this site, and the children used it to choose and print a favourite image on which to base their work. Small sections of the patterns were sketched and modified, and then drawn onto paper using batik wax.

Pupils used marbling inks to apply a rich, textured ground to the paper before picking out features of the pattern in drawing inks.

The batik wax was ironed out to reveal the original pattern. The pieces were highly textured at this point, and the patterns lacked structure and form.

White poster paint was then used to enhance the pattern by blocking out areas of each piece. Finally, more detail was added to carefully selected areas using watercolour pencils.

Some of the children's completed work was stunning, and this activity showed the potential for using computers alongside traditional media.

* http:easyweb.easynet.co.ukianypatterns patterns.htm

Giles Hughes teaches at Colmore Junior School, Birmingham

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today