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

Email: emily at wildart.ca

Unless otherwise noted, programs and events happen on Bowen Island, which is a 20-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver, British Columbia. Some Wild Art programs have been offered in the Vancouver area, usually by special request. Please contact Emily with such requests if you're so inspired.

Upcoming Events for Children and Youth:

Wild Art Forest Theatre Camps:
July 3-6, 10am - 3pm:  ages 8-11
July 10-13, 10am - 3pm:  ages 11-15
A four-day wilderness theatre experience. In a creative, democratic and explorative environment, participants will develop and produce theatre of their own design. Previous groups have created sets, costumes, puppets, tickets and programs to complement the shows they've written and produced. It's always an inspiring week of creative discovery.
Fee: $200

Wild Art School-Year Program 2017: ages 9-15
25 weeks, September 20, 2017 to May 2, 2018 (excluding December and school breaks)
Wednesdays 3:30-6:30pm
The classic full Wild Art program, where participants bring art into the wilderness and wilderness into their studio art. Through self-directed creative discovery, this program inspires a love of learning, a strength of character and confidence both in social groups and in academic pursuits. A year-long program enables participants to take their ideas further, to bond, learn and grow more as a group, and to take advantage of community resources. For example, we may get involved in community work, public art or performance, or a gallery showing, depending on the group's interest. There is a balance of studio and outdoor time in all seasons and weather. 
Fee: $900, including supplies

Upcoming Events for Adults and Teens:

Explorative Materials Workshop
Saturday April 29, 10am - 2pm
One day of explorative art-making for teens and adults, using unconventional methods and materials. No experience necessary, but this is also a useful freeing workshop for experienced artists. It can be so easy to get stuck in the methods and materials we know and trust, but it's essential to break out and experiment in order to further our practice. Come to the studio with no agenda, and leave with a colourful experience of expression and discovery.
Fee: $95, supplies included.

Wild Food Tours
Very different from other Wild Art offerings, these are guided tours through a piece of local wilderness, usually covering various biomes. Participants will learn to identify a broad assortment of wild edibles and other vegetation, as well as become familiar with our local ecosystems.

Children are welcome to come with their parents (same rate applies, except for babies in carriers, who are free), however this tour is geared toward adults. We will have a quick pace of travel, at times, and much standing around looking at plants at others. Also the information is dense and often overwhelming for younger children.

Wild Food Tours 2017:
Fee: $20 per participant

Saturday April 8, 10am - 12pm
Sunday April 9, 2pm - 4pm
Saturday April 22, 10am - 12pm
Sunday April 23, 2pm - 4pm

If you are interested in a private (bring your own group!) foraging or identification tour, just email emilyonbowen at gmail dot com and we'll arrange something.

Wild Art at Moontree Studio:

Looking for crayfish in a local creek.
I have been teaching art for 24 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. Activities at Moontree Studio 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?)

Spontaneous parachute games with a sheet that was slated to be painted!

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.
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 Adults
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!