Wild Art

Wild Art is an explorative art, science and wilderness program for all ages
designed and led by Emily van Lidth de Jeude.
The Wild Art program espouses life-learning values, and allows participants to discover and share a vast myriad of ideas and activities both in the studio and in the wilderness. Wild Art fosters confidence, critical thinking and communication skills, as well as a deeper understanding of local ecology.

"...the unstructured but beautifully intentional aspect of your days was a perfect experience for her. ... I think that the camp is conceptually brilliant, and that you did an incredible job of weaving different ideas and topics into it such as currency, economy, social justice, trade, and community participation. [My daughter] did a much more "conventional" camp this past week, and although I know she made new friends and came home tired and happy each day, it illuminated the depth and importance of what she did with you the week before."
~Wild Art Parent Jamie Woodall

Upcoming Events: 
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the fact that both myself and my daughter have vulnerable immune systems, I have cancelled all of the Wild Art and Wild Food programs for the foreseeable future. Getting out in the wilderness is a wonderful, safe activity for isolated individuals and household groups. Please continue to do so, and enjoy the wonders of our wilderness. There's nowhere better to be for learning, laughing, and healing.

Contact emily@wildart.ca to register for above programs or to inquire about other opportunities:

School Programs: Wild Art is still available through various Bowen Island and Lower Mainland schools. Please speak to your school to ask about having it integrated into your child's learning.

Professional Development: I continue to offer explorative learning, art and wilderness exploration workshops upon request.

Parenting Workshops: Mostly for parents of young children, these workshops empower parents to support explorative play and learning in the home and wilderness. Approach me with a group of interested people and we'll put something together.

Explorative Wilderness Tours: For adults and families, these tours are usually 2 to 3 hours long and involve a slow, deep exploration of a specific area or topic. I offer these sporadically, advertised on the facebook group Bowen Island Everything Else, and also upon request for private groups. Popular Bowen Island tours (a relaxed day-trip from Vancouver) are:
Bluewater - stone circle, mossy rainforest, a dark mine adit, & Bowen's logging history.
Fairy Fen - a fen slowly being consumed by a gorgeous rainforest, and some logging history.
Wild Clay Harvesting - Using only primitive tools, harvest and sculpt with raw clay from a creek.
Wild Food - Learn about the huge number of edible plants and trees along Bowen trails.

Please contact me for more information: emily@wildart.ca

What is Wild Art?
Looking for crayfish in a local creek.
I have been teaching art for 25 years, and maintain a philosophy that art is fully integrated with sciences, maths, history, policy and life, and therefore everything done in the studio informs and is informed by the rest of our activities and experiences. I work with and mentor in many disciplines and media, including drawing, colour theory, the art of seeing, painting, printmaking, mixed-media sculpture, costume and mask-making, bookmaking, poetry, and various wilderness and intuitive-expressive arts. Wild Art activities are always focused on explorative, self-directed learning!

There is ample research pointing to the benefits of self-directed learning. Researchers Todd Gureckis and Douglas Markant of New York University have found that "...self-directed learning helps us optimize our educational experience, allowing us to focus effort on useful information that we don’t already possess and exposing us to information that we don’t have access to through passive observation. The active nature of self-directed learning also helps us in encoding information and retaining it over time." (Anna Mikulak, Association for Psychological Science Article, 2012: What Makes Self-Directed Learning Effective?)
Rock-balancing, physical awareness, anatomy, and gesture.
Self-directed learning is, of course, one of the main tenets of unschooling, but my journey towards creating the Wild Art program began long before I had heard of unschooling. My mother was a preschool teacher, a music therapist, and an infant development consultant. She was and still is a wonderful musician and singer. She knows from many perspectives about the importance of allowing people to learn on their own terms. I spent many years learning from her as her daughter, her volunteer at preschool and summer programs, and eventually through seeking her advice as I began teaching, myself. Her philosophy of open-ended explorative learning, within a framework of ideas and materials that lend themselves to experimentation, has informed everything I do in life. Whether I work with adults, teens, or very young children, I take an approach that stretches boundaries by offering new and interesting ideas and materials, while setting only minimal "rules", so that people I work with are able to explore openly.

Lunch in an area we call the Enchanted Forest.
At Wild Art, education happens in the matrix that exists between the wilderness, creative exploration, and the social environment of the group. My role as a leader is firstly to benevolently support participants, and secondly to guide them in a way that does not assume any moral or intellectual superiority on my part. I observe and engage with the group's activities, and encourage and support participants in their exploration and problem-solving. Direction and outcome are always left to the group, and often involve quite a bit of democratic engagement.

Art in the forest!
I believe that there is an infinity of discovery to be made through indulging our creative and inquisitive minds, and as long as I provide a rich environment for exploration, and an open ear and mind for the conversations that ensue, wonderful things will happen. My studio and the wilderness that begins at the back gate are that rich environment, and we have a wonderful time in it.

Wild Art in short:
Play, explore, communicate, and see what happens!

*All Wild Art programs are unplugged.
Although technology is an integral and valuable part of our daily lives, unplugging for the duration of our time together allows for deeper social, creative, and ecological engagement.

"My daughter has had a most wonderful time with you, she told me that you are a really good art teacher because you have no rules about art!! I think she finds any art done at school to be too predetermined and structured. So thank you for giving her the experience of free art and showing her another side of teachers!"

~Parent of a 2013 Wild Art participant.

Newspaper article about the Wild Art program, by Charmaine Heffelfinger: Bowen Island Undercurrent

Communal drawing, communication, and material experimentation in Moontree Studio.

Performance of the play conceived, written, costumed and performed by the 2013/2014 school-year group.
Short clip of a group of kids building in and artfully, cautiously damming a creek on Bowen Island. You'll hear them reminding each other of the importance of not taking the moss away from a tree's roots.

Next video: After clearing out a few hundred pounds of garbage from the old Bonanza mine adits, kids in grades 4-9 decided to go one step further and drain the mines of their deep puddles, as well, making it possible for more people to visit the sites.

All three of the following videos are from a 2013 Wild Art Summer Camp, where participants explored mathematical sequences, wave dynamics and bioelectric fields as they relate to form, colour, sound, movement, water- and ecosystems, and biology.

After finding crayfish and freshwater sponges in a local stream, the kids spontaneously began singing in the culvert, experimenting with their own sound-wave dynamics:

On another day, working with patterns in language, sound and colour, they spontaneously created something they called a "Singing Ball", where they vocalized towards a central point and held their hands out to feel the differences in air pressure caused by their own sound waves.
After the "Singing Ball", above, the kids chose colours of paint and expressed emotions they perceived as related to the colours they were using in movement and sound, on a large piece of fabric:
Selection of Past Events:
If you are interested in something I am not currently offering, please let me know - I am always willing to take input towards future programming!
Wild Art for Educators, Parents and Families (professional development)
Fresh Air Learning Forest School Training Module (professional development)
Wild Writing Series
Wild Printmaking
Pro-D Mountainside Adventures
Wild Art Intensives for Adults and Teens
Week-long Spring and Summer Camps
Weekly School Year Programs
Non-Coerced Learning Workshops for Parents and Teachers
Family Tie-Dye Workshops
Printmaking Workshops
Maskmaking Workshops
Bookmaking Workshops
Rickshaw Unschooling Posts on the Topics of Wild Art, Self-Direction and Art:
How to Foster Respect for Nature while Encouraging Play
How And Why to Use Technology in a Forest School
Barefoot Education
Why I Ditched the Classroom for the Wild
The Importance of Printmaking
Reconciliation in the Forest Court
Pre-teens and Teens: How to Play
10 Ways to Encourage Explorative Learning
Changing the World
Six Hours in the West Coast Wild
Recent Wild Art Adventures
Wild Art!
Self-Directed Art and Learning
Self-Directed Art and Learning, Too!