Why I Work with Natural Materials
Children begin to find their place in the world through exploration with natural materials. Give a child a stick, a stone. Invite them to explore in sand, soil, a box of leaves, flowers. Hands-on contact with these earth elements connects the child to nature and natural phenomena. Give them snippets of natural materials to invite wonder, curiosity and questions.
Working with natural materials gives children a medium for exploring earth as home, as safety, as a source of strength and comfort they may go to when stressed or confused. The exploration with natural materials leads to a care for the earth and a desire to learn about the larger ecosystem. Working with natural materials provides a means to discover their place in the world, their interconnectivity to others, animals and the larger world. As well as individuation, an important part of child development is to experience being part of a greater whole, to experience belonging and connection to something larger than themselves; a family group, connection with animal species, a haven of peace they might find in nature. Working with natural materials in a sensory and exploratory way stimulates the holistic development of the child within their natural learning progression.
About Jennifer Thompson
I work as an Installation Artist, installing work for specific sites using themes based on witnessing and honoring. I use my own photography, poetry, unfired clay and natural materials to express the impermanence of life and the quality of transparency. In my other job as an Expressive Therapist I help others to know themselves more deeply through art-making. I work as an artist-in-residence in the schools to help students know themselves and express their positive qualities through art.