music mark making


“So much you can do with simple things”

Teacher Positive Destinations Project

Freelance artist working with Sense Scotland and learning complex schools in Glasgow. This project was designed to cross art forms and everybody enjoyed art and music, including myself having a taster on the drums!

Rhythmic mark making

The art sessions were designed to be complementary to the experiences in the music sessions. The pupils played with a variety of instruments and I was drawn to how the senses overlapped whilst using the Torni-on. This produced visuals from the music maker’s touch to create a colour and sound pattern.Following the music sessions I reintroduced drumsticks which were chopped up into different sizes. The group used them in the visual art sessions to create rhythmic mark making with paint on fabric.

A sequence of experience-based sessions; explorative art and marbling art.


Marbling Art was selected to expand the exploration of colour, pattern and movement on a liquid surface.

The music and the visual art sessions were a multi-sensory approach to aid participation for the size of the group with different interests. Each session had a written structure to assist fluidity of the activities. However, the ethos of my practice and Sense Scotland’s is to follow the lead of the individual or group. This meant the structure was in constant flux.

Where appropriate the emphasis was on the experience rather than creating individual artworks.

The session duration was divided into different parts, such as: high energy movement to engage the group; slower pace whilst exploring tools, objects and materials; low lighting to encourage reflection.

Music played in the art room was selected from our conversations about the aims and themes of each session. The soundscapes facilitated movement and sharing which are important aspects of participatory artworks.

“A veritable ‘slime’ day – smells – touch – dry – wet – lots of senses attacked – marble pictures – moist – very exciting for Sarah who engaged + showed various different responses to above. Dry to wet worked well today – for my pupils. Informative too to staff!!!

 Marbling Art

There are many different methods of marbling art which produces patterns from dropping paint or oil onto a shallow tray of water. We used a Turkish method because its process involved boiling extract of the carrageenan-rich algae known as Irish moss for a sensory element. This is used to make ‘size’ which thickens water to allow the paint to sit on top. Gouache was used instead of coloured oils which results in more striking colours.

The different processes were broken down into weekly sessions which allowed the pupils more playful time. Marbling art also allowed the group to revisit using water which had been successful in earlier sessions.

The pupils were introduced to the Irish moss as a dry substance first which was received with curiosity. When it was soaked in water over night the substance changed to jelly like form emitting an unpleasant smell. The responses were very strong from both pupils and teachers prompting old stories and creating new memories.

Each pupil adapted the process to their interests such as: splashing and throwing paper; feeling the paint and size; painting alternative surfaces; transferring the patterns onto paper and my arm!