This year the kindergarten worked on a long investigation of animals in urban settings. They came to the studio many times to work on some inventions to help animals, like a trap to lift animals off busy roads at night, and a delightful kit to send around to teach dogs to avoid skunks.

Later, they got interested in ducks and other birds who lay eggs in cities, wondering how they protect their young. They got more and more interested in bird families, and began to make nests all around the kindergarten. In the studio, they worked with basket making materials to weave nests
and eventually decided to make a big nest that they could all get into.
Around this time the artist Patrick Dougherty returned to Richmond to build an installation at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. We got the cance to visit the work in progress before when he came to the Children's museum here.
I was so happy that the kindergarten teachers invited me along on a field trip to see the new installation being built.

The children walked around for a short time and then sat down to draw the construction, noticing how Mr. Dougherty emphasizes pattern in the building, using sticks almost like drawing materials. I was proud to see the Sabot students taking the time to really observe the 'stickwork', drawing to learn about the structure and pattern of these sculptures, and asking questions of the volunteer builders and Mr. Dougherty himself.

 The kindergarten teacher Mary has already documented this project beautifully, but I couldn't resist sharing it again. Here is a link to Patrick's website
(as the children call him...they think of him as a collaborator on their nest)


  1. It warms my heart to see our children captivated and fascinated by his work. The fact that they brought back some of that inspiration to build the nest in the back garden is thrilling!


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