The Floral Assemblage Self Portraits

We are proud to share with you the creations of our recent Learning from Nature’s Resilience 2 workshop. Taking inspiration from the resilience of flowering plants and trees, the teenage participants were invited to create a floral assemblage self-portrait. They were also asked to focus on personal traits that make them resilient. Some of the traits mentioned were STRONG, UNIQUE, CONFIDENT, PRO-ACTIVE, …
(Click on this link to see workshop process and instructions.)

Here is a gallery of the group’s works. Left image is the actual floral assemblage, right image is the water-colour recreation of the assemblage portrait.

We thank the teenage participants for joining us for a fun learning experience at the Nature Sanctuary.

LEARNING FROM NATURE’S RESILIENCE 2: FLOWERS

Yesterday my sister and I co-taught  part 2 of our Learning from Nature’s Resilience workshop series. This time we took inspiration from flowers, and worked with a younger group – teenage survivors of difficult situtations.

My sister Eddy Lee, a conservation educator and ecotherapist, led the nature walk and discussion on nature’s resilience while I facilitated the art session on the making of floral assemblage self portraits.

The group with Eddy Lee, conservation educator and ecotherapist.

I went on an early morning walk at the Sanctuary to gather the variety of flowers to be used for the art session. I was expecting a group of 17, so it was quite a challenge since this is post-typhoon times and there’s not many kinds of flowering plants left. Despite that I am proud to say that i managed to gather more than enough variety for the participants.

Since this was an exercise on resilience, the participants were not allowed to choose from the floral selection and had to make the most out of the flower assigned to them. However,  they were free to choose the other natural add-ons (stones, twigs, leaves, cowrie shells,etc) to complete their assemblage piece.

Creating the Assemblage Portrait

It was fun watching the girls so focused on creating the assemblage then recreating it on another sheet of paper using watercolor as a medium. Later when each of them had the chance to share their process and their reflections, some said they enjoyed making the assemblage better than painting.  Others said the two versions of the portrait were equally fun to create and complete.

Recreating the portraits using water-color

My thoughts on this is that the medium of flowers and other natural elements was a more relaxing medium for the teens, once they drew and painted they started becoming critical of their work (and themselves). Suddenly, i could hear some saying, ‘I’m not good at drawing!’
My reflection on this is that the closer we work with nature and what’s natural, the more we are free and spontaneous, the more we can be our true selves, and without a doubt creativity is at the core of our human nature.

The artists with their assemblage art at the Roundhouse of the Nature Sanctuary
Museum visit after the workshop to see Paulina’s FLORAL CHORUS collection and other works

The teenage participants with the workshop facilitators – Far left expressive arts educator Paulina Constancia and conservation educator and ecotherapist Eddy Lee. Photo also shows a golden retriever named GABBY, the Nature Sanctuary ambassador.

The Resilient Leaf Self-Portrait Art Workshop

Today I thought I’d show more photos of the art making component of our “Learning from Nature’s Resilience” training the trainors workshop which was participated by head teachers and principals of Cluster 7- Carcar City DepEd.

It was a fun and inspiring day learning about resilience through nature’s example.   From a previous post, I shared the enormous damage caused by Odette to the Justice Lee Nature Sanctuary here in Carcar. Below is a photo of our beloved Acacia tree right after Odette.

It appears that the super-typhoon basically “claimed its life”, but picture below shows what our beloved acacia tree looks like now…fresh new branches and leaves have emerged.

It is a living example of resilience. It may have been hurt and broken by Odette, but it has evidently bounced back and is now thriving!

About the WORKSHOP

Inspired by the re-emergence of leaves amongst the trees that were originally thought to have been completely damaged by the super-typhoon, we initiated a resilience art workshop using leaves as base material.

We had a tray of various pre-cut leaves and distributed them among the participating head teachers and principals. They were not allowed to choose because this is a workshop on resilience. You have to find a way to make good use of your “givens”. I was amazed by what the teachers came up with.

The instruction was: Using the leaf provided make a leaf self-portrait that shows this..”I am resilient because I am _________” (participants choose their key personal resilient trait)

This teacher painted a background of rainbow colours before making the leaf imprint.

This teacher made a few two-colour imprint of her leaf and then drew her portrait using a pen once the water-colour imprint had completely dried

This teacher made several leaf imprints using three different colours and turned it into hair for her self-portrait.
Tri-colored leaf hair for her self-portrait.
Head teachers and principals of Cluster 7- Carcar City DepEd busy creating their Leaf Self-Portraits
Here is an image summary of the works of all the participants from Cluster 7 of Carcar City DepEd
Our tall acacia tree may have fallen but it is definitely not dead. Now lowered closer to the pond, its bent trunk is more accessible and serves as an awesome rest and recreation spot for our farm felines. Once again –All’s well (actually “better” according to our cats’ meows.)😹