Teaching Materials - Exercise

Searching for and collaging the organic

Name of Artist Educator: Chris Wong
Excercise Category: Visual storytelling

Nature inspires artists.

Concept / Inspiration:

Nature inspires many artists. After learning basic photography skills, students need to create their personal work, perhaps nature could be their inspiration.


Photography is not only about taking 2-dimentional photos. Students could try to combine photography with different materials and diversify in medium.

Materials / Equipment:

  • Camera
  • Photos of the Nature (Students are required to bring along their own photos)
  • Materials gathered from the nature


Classroom, Garden

Workshop Description:

Part One l Sharing artists’ work (around 20 minutes)
Instructor may introduce students the works of renowned artists who have worked on collage, such as that of McCarrell, Runlin Chen, etc. Students are shown how photography works alongside with elements from different media, like nature, collage, to create a mixed media work.

Part Two l In search of the organic (around 20 minutes)

  1. Having gained a fair understanding of the theme, students can start to gather organic materials from the school garden.
  2. Students make a collage of the gathered materials and the photos they took previously, and photograph the collage.
  3. Students share with the class the materials they collected and what they mean to them, and further explain how they create with these materials.
  4. Students need to create a work of mixed media using both photos and the materials collected from the nature.


Note 1: After finishing a creative exercise based on things collected from nature, instructor may arrange an extended exercise: choose a theme and ask students to collect different personal items and take photos according to the theme and form a treasure box after sourcing, selection, collection and rearrangement. During the process, they need to consider the composition, the relation between different objects and it is hoped to arouse association.


Expected Outcome:

Students would have greater exposure to different visual elements and understand how different materials aid their work, which helps them contemplate on the relationship between content and representation.

Actual Outcome:

Students came to understand the notion of “Less is more”, they selected only visual elements that are compatible with their work, and mastered certain photography skills to complete the exercise.

During class

yip_yu_man_20131216_017 yip_yu_man_20131216_014


Students are rearranging the materials for photo-taking.

Students are reporting their ideas about the works.


Student work in class

Wong Hiu Lam

Lee Ling

Li Yin Wai

Liu Nga Ting

Hung Wing Lam

Student work for extended exercise
7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Student Feedback:

Students were very excited to go outdoor, “I think it is very interesting. I haven’t realized there are such beautiful flowers and plants at our school garden before.”

Reference Materials:

Collage work reference
Susan Mccarrell

Art work and the nature
Runlin Chen

Learning different visual elements and composition rules from environmental art
Andy Goldsworthy:

Extended exercise reference