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Photo credits: Fiona Bailey


During the Julian Cooper exhibition at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, I led students in recreating paintings using large scraps of fabric. This fabric scraps activity worked really well as an ice breaker while also being a wonderful exercise in observation and communication.


I asked students to work together in groups to map out a painting with fabric and then present what they’d made to the class. Students who had been hesitant to speak when they first arrived where happy to describe their painting in detail after mapping it out in fabric. I was really impressed by how much students had seen in the paintings as we looked at shapes, textures, colours and contrast.


This age group was working on developing their vocabulary. Another activity from this workshop was building a ‘Julian Cooper alphabet’. I wrote out the letters A to Z on a large sheet of paper and we filled it with descriptive words over the course of the workshop. They took their alphabet back to school with them to inspire follow up activities in class.