The Barn at Easington

Over six weeks in what should have been the dark cold days of winter I lead groups of children in Forest School sessions making creative tasks and welcoming in the early signs of spring.

25th January 2019 “It was cold, it was wet and it was muddy, but this didn’t stop year 4 enjoying the activities at ‘The Barn’.  Our friend Jyl welcomed us with a roaring wood burning fire as she explained to us what we were going to be doing.  Today we were going to be ‘weaving’. We were each given a ‘Y’ stick and a length of twine.  We wrapped the twine between the ‘Y’ of the stick, which made the stick look like a net.  On our walk through the Dene, we collected woodland treasure and weaved it through the twine on our stick. When we got back to ‘The Barn’ we talked about the different treasures we had found.  Our sticks looked amazing. ”

 8th February 2019

Today on Friday Feeling this week, we made wake up sticks with ‘Y’ sticks that we had collected from Hawthorne Dene.  We threaded bottle tops onto a wire, which we had hammered holes in using nails (safely of course). The bottle tops rattled on our stick, to wake up the earth ready for spring.  We used tape, wool and other materials to decorate our sticks.  Once we were all finished, we used our stick to tap on the earth to wake it up ready for Spring.  We really enjoyed this activity!

Whilst on our walk through the Dene we went on a scavenger hunt and stuck our woodland treasures onto our cards.  We really enjoyed looking for something soft, a sign of Spring and we even collected a leaf print. When we got back to ‘The Barn’, we enjoyed hot chocolate and warm toast.  We had the most amazing morning

Invention sheds- ‘Sheducator’

working with opened, recycled and natural materials


Newburn Primary, : Broadwood Primary,-Newcastle                                   Marden Middle, Whitley Bay                                                                                                                      Baillio, Jubliee, Whitehouse, Hadrain Park, Amberly – North Tyneside, Cambois Primary – Northumberland.                                                                                                      Hilton Primary Academy, Cruddas Park Early Years Centre-Newcastle.                  

An Invention Shed is a custom designed shed, installed on a school site to act as a mini The House of Objects, and creative workshop space. Invention Sheds bring the House of Objects approach, expertise and materials to a school. The project aims to enhance primary school teaching in innovation, STEM, creativity and critical thinking. The ‘Sheducator’ works closely with school staff, training them to use the shed facilities and develop their confidence in running open ended creative projects

 I was involved in the set up and development of the House of objects. Now a CIC ‘House of Objects’ inspired by the strong UK tradition of scrap stores as well as the Italian ‘Remida Centres’ uses its extensive facilities to inspire environmental awareness. I now work on many of their projects as a creative enabler supporting children’s learning using recycled objects and open-ended materials and am one of their ‘Sheducatiors’.                                                                                                                              D

Into the Woods

An Exhibition showing the process and journing the children from Yr 4 Sea Scape Primary School in Peterlee, County Durham took culminating in a series of 4 silk panels.

At The ART BLOCK  Seaham Gallery.

“The children arrived at the Barn in Easington on a bright spring morning in April 2018. We’d had a long winter, with heavy snow just at the beginning of the month. But today felt like the first day of Spring. The woods were full of wild garlic. There were carpets of bluebells and bursts of wild anemones and celandines. I set the children their first task:”

They were to be EXPOLORERS of these woods. They were offered a range of activities in the form of small achievable tasks such as:                                                  Exploring, Collecting materials and Making woodland art.

These Forest School activities were designed to develop self-awareness with the view to raising the children’s self-esteem. The children were all given field books to work in as we went through the woods.


What makes you shine

The Barn at Easington was commissioned by Shotton Community Centre to work with community groups, creating art  to respond to the question: What makes you shine? The project aimed to bring different groups together and showcase local talent as well as core values.

Between January and March  2018 

Our Lady of Lourdes RC primary School                                                                        

Shotton Colliery Primary  School                                                              

Shotton Colliery Art group                                                                                          

Womens Cree

Talking to the groups about what makes people light up, we discovered that the most precious treasures are, Family, friends, and community…                                                                                  Love and kindness

Discussions with groups inspired the sparkle and shine of their artworks from silk painted banners to mosaics and treasure boxes of memories.

What Makes You shine? was funded by East Durham Creates Big Ideas Fund.

School long term projects

How lucky that at Hilton Primary Academy, groups of Year 1 children go to a near by woods, having access to wild experiences every week!

Screen shot 2015-11-22 at 16.00.12

We’ve looked high and low; looking up into the trees and taking a closer look at what’s under our feet. We’ve followed our noses; sniffing things from moss, pine, plants and bare earth. We’ve chased sounds by listening carefully with eyes closed and mapped those sounds. We’ve heard the birds’ tweet and the wind blow, the trees rustle and the river flow.

Tucker “I heard the silent sound of the rain dropping”

Lucas “I heard the birds tweeting.”

Chelsea “I could hear the waterfall. drip drip dripping”

Screen shot 2015-12-15 at 15.37.40We’ve fallen in love with sticks and are great gathers of sticks, all kinds of sticks. Sticks can be something practical, a flicker, a poker, a shift-things-a-rounder. It provides a starting point for an active imagination and the raw materials for transformation into almost anything!

We experience all kinds of weathers, sometimes all at once, but we don’t mind and as the Scandinavians say: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!”

Screen shot 2015-11-09 at 10.34.04 bottomsAs the woods have become familiar to us, the children  have become competent and capable explorers. We have been exploring the different areas in Chopwell woods, Thornley woods and Gibside Pleasure gardens. We go as Kira says,

“Deep into the woods, that’s where the real forest is.” Kira

Early Years

I have a wide experience of nurturing children’s creative opportunities and demonstrating creative approaches especially in early learning.

I draw much of my inspiration from the Reggio Emilia ethos and the approach of educators in Scandinavia.


A lot of the work I do is based in the outdoor environment, which can also mean looking at how to bring the outside, back inside the classroom. I introduce children to a wide range of natural and recycled materials and resources, working with them to support their ideas and interests.


I am interested in engaging children in the challenges and wonders of the natural world, first hand. I like to work on projects that support children’s ideas and interests. Projects that not only provided an opportunity to develop and foster children’s creative learning, but are designed to build their confidence and developed their awareness of risk-taking and understanding of the natural environment.



Since 1999 I have built a strong relationship with Sightlines Initiative and delivered a number of their creative enquiry based projects. (The UK reference for the preschools of Reggio Emilia.



Qualifications /Training 

1981-2  Foundation Falmouth Art School

1982-5   BA Hons Fine Art, University of Northumbria

1985    Graduate business training

  • Artist study tours of the Pre Schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy and Danish Forest Schools, Denmark
  • Rites of Passage training – Welfare State International
  • Philosophy for Children training

2010      LEVEL 3 BTEC Forest School leadership Qualification Bridgewater College.

2019      SHINRIN YOKU – (Forest Bathing)Practitioner Training -Nature & Therapy UK

Employment  history

2012 – 2014 Co Director for House of Objects, North Tyneside

1993- 2010   Co Director ISIS ARTS

1987- 1991   Full time designer, maker, project coordinator on schools, hospitals and community projects and the Fish quay festival.                                                                        Freeform Arts Trust, North Tyneside.

1991-1994   Education coordinator and mentor ISIS ARTS

1985 – Princes Trust Grant-

Became self-employed as visual artist.                                                                                                      I hold an Enhanced CRB/ DBI,  and full Public Liability Insurance and Driving license.

I draw much of my inspiration from the Reggio Emilia ethos and the approach of educators in Scandinavia. Whether working in collaboration or by myself I seek to work in a way that is about engaging with this sense of exploration and playfulness.

I’m driven by a love of the natural world; a connection to nature and natural resources and I’m fascinated by the way we collect, arrange, select, explore, create and make things and narratives – real and imagined.

My professional practice has several strands incorporating education, collaborative projects with other artists and with community groups, commissions, and delivering training, all aspects of my work crosses-over into each other.

I work with natural and recycled materials, drawing, collage, textiles, mosaic, clay, film and documentation.

Most current, recent and not so recent but interesting projects…

2019-ongoing Creative Workshops in Libraries

Working with” Art Diamonds” in Gateshead libraries and Durham and Newcastle libraries  projects with the aim of engaging elders past retirement age in creative and cultural activities.


June 2019-2020

Working in partnership with Scotswood Natural Community Garden to deliver an environmental project for Early Years and their families. Early Explorers children will work on exciting, termly creative projects using materials from the garden as inspiration:  A Well Gateshead Newcastle funded project.


Spring 2019                                                                                                                                                               

As part of the 21st Birthday of the Angel of the North I worked with the Year One children of Swalwell School to produce a booklet about their theories and drawing of what angels mean to them. Funded by gateshead Cultural team.

“Angels live on clouds, they smile and be friendly: I once saw an Angle outside my window, I was just about to wake up” Emris age 5

A series of  intimate personal hand made closed hand mosaics using previously  used objects that in themselves represented almost another way of life. Continue reading “CV”


Textile banners designed and painted by children and adults to mark special occasions, to transform environments or as curriculum led projects. Workshops & residencies can be tailored to suit Primary Schools, Early Years settings and Community groups.

forest school

I am a trained Level 3 Forest School Leader. My approach to ‘Forest school’ is always with a creative and child led focus that encourages curiosity and exploration.Olivia Logan IMG_0849SAM_2382







This builds confidence and self esteem, develops awareness of risk-taking and an understanding of the natural environment.

Projects run for at least six sessions, in some schools I have been able to develop this work with them over a much longer period of time, where the benefits are truly amazing.

Ideally, projects allow time to work with staff back in the setting, developing the children’s discoveries and interests that arise from these outdoor experiences. Together we create books, films, stories and environments, often transforming the classrooms by bringing the outdoors inside.

Forest School sessions can be adapted to run in a schools grounds.


‘Forest School’ is an education concept that began in Denmark. Forest schools are a type of outdoor classroom in which children (or adults) visit forests/woodlands, learning personal, social and technical skills. It has been defined as “an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment.”