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.

I also exhibited recent and not so recent mosaic work.

‘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 would be 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 are 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.

I led them on a trail through the woods where they would:

  • Notice everything
  • Observe the fine detail of what they’re noticing
  • Experience stillness through listening
  • Creating artwork and note taking.

What did you hear, when you closed your eyes and listened?

“Birds singing.” “The leaves rustling.” “Bees buzzing.” “Noises of the trees above”

“My heart beating fast.”                                                                                                                    

What makes you shine

The Barn at Easington was commissioned by Shotton Community Centre to work with 8 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 I worked with 4 of the 8 projects                          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.

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…


June-July 2018                                                                                  Commission for a series of ten banners for the Hexham Showcase Launch as part of  Great Northumberland 2018 with Walk the plank.







May   Eight panels showing the creative process of journing into the woods at Hawthorne Dene and culminating in 4  silk paintings for an Exhibition at The Art Block, Seaham.                                                     Sea Scape Primary School Peterlee.

Thought out the year. I have worked at the Barn in Easington on their Family Fun Day workshops and have collaborated on their school camping activities and artist days.


January -March                                                                                                               What Makes You Shine?                                                                                        Community art workshops in collaboration with the Barn at Easington.    Shotten Colliery, as part of East Durham Creates: Big Ideas programme.

Autumn 2017 

Scotswood Community Garden, Newcastle.                                                     Sessional worker for youth groups, ongoing.

Houghton Feast Lantern procession.                                                                   Working with six schools to create willow and tissue lanterns.




2015-:Invention sheds– ‘Sheducator’ ONGOING

Newburn Primary, : Broadwood Primary,-Newcastle                                   Marden Middle, Whitley Bay                                                                                     Baillio, Jubliee, Whitehouse, Hadrain Park, Amberly – North Tyneside, Primary schools.                                                                                     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 school. The project aims to enhance primary school teaching in innovation, STEM, creativity and critical thinking. ‘Sheducators’ work closely with school staff, training them to use the shed facilities and develop their confidence in running open ended creative projects

2010- 2018 House Of Objects                                                                                               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’.                                                                     Discovery Museum Sessional worker for  PLAY + INVENT space.



2012 -17Resident artist / Forest School leader  (2 days a week)                     

Hilton Primary Academy Newcastle upon Tyne. Groups of Y1 children participate in one ‘Forest School’ session per week in woods, with a follow up creative session back at school; making films, blogs and books, following their emerging interests as the project unfolds. Working with small groups across the school nurturing  their creativity



 Swalwell Primary, Gateshead.

April 2017 Den building sessions  -Summer term                                                         April 2016 Forest School sessions -Summer term                                       September 2015  Forest School session                                                                                       

June 2015 Mosaic commission working with Yr 5 & 6 pupils.


July 2013, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 2018 WOMAD Festival                                             Children’s carnival and workshops. Quirky Quinns.


2016 Commission artwork for Whitley Bay Carnival poster-the BIG Local.




2013 & 14 Art Houses exhibitor Whitley Bay.

2012-2013 ‘Heritage in the Early Years’                                                                     Project involving 90 very young children and their families who participated in guided visits around Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland (National Trust) and
learned about its vibrant past. After the visits we then helped them create a ‘Children’s guide’ to the hall, telling the story from their perspective, using stories, drawings, and photographs. The children’s Interpretation panels and guide forms part of the official Delaval experience. Ivy Road Primary & Holywell First Schools. A Sightlines Initiative project, funded by the Heritage lottery Fund.

2010-2014 ‘Early Learning in Nature’                                                                  Working  over the year, each year, with groups of children and their educators regularly visiting and becoming familiar with their very own “wild place”, engaging in exciting, imaginative and elemental learning. The project was designed to give children with limited access to natural environments sustained opportunities for engaging with nature. It provided a sound basis for respect, understanding and stewardship of the natural world, as well as a rich resource for social and cognitive growth.

Screen shot 2015-08-18 at 19.34.04

Ivy Road, Battle Hill, Emmerville Primary & Hilton Primary Academy schools.  I also contributed to the book “Learning to Learn in Nature.” Bringing together the outcome of the work over the four years on the Early Learning in Nature project to a wider audience.

A sightline Initiative project.



EARLY YEARS                                                                                                                     Since my visit to Reggio Emila in 2000, I have built a strong working relationship with Sightlines Initiative and delivered a number of their creative enquiry based projects. (The UK reference for the preschools of Reggio Emilia since 1999.)

The Creative Foundation projects  1999-04 –The Creative Foundation comprised a core group of eight early childhood projects working in relationship with artists and with each other over three years, forming a close-knit practice and research group. The project culminated with the production of The ‘Experiments and Encounters’ exhibit: a celebratory display of young children’s creative potential visualized through photographs, painting, drawing, collage and video with explanatory scripts and panels.

2000 -09 ‘Woodland Kids’– A project in partnership with Redesdale Primary School & the Rising Sun Country Park. (from 2003 the project was funded by other sources.)

2007 Supporting staff in their development of reflective and creative practice: Monkchester Rd Nursery- Newcastle.

The Creative Thinking in Action Project 2003 The aim of this  week project was to support the development of children’s creative thinking.                                         Reception class Fincale Primary School County Durham.

2004 ‘Floor Four’ A 4 week project where Sightlines Initiative transformed the Great Hall of the Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne into an exciting, learning exploratorium for young children and their educators. Working as artist enabler to create the creative spaces and work closely with educators and children to demonstrate creative approaches to learning and teaching. The project served the local area and was funded by Surestart

2005 ‘The city Sense’ Working across several Newcastle Nursery settings looking at how young children inhabit and ‘see’ their environments. A Sightlines Initiative and Northern Architecture project

000_4840Other Early Years projects:

2014    Outdoor artist facilitator Bolden Nursery school

2013     Forest school Leader Benedict Biscop Sunderland- Nursery &                                      Reception Classes

2010     Family Learning in Partnership Project, engaging families in creating with natural materials together with their children: Seaton Delaval First School Northumberland

2008-9 Artist in Residence for Cruddas Park Early Years Excellent Center Newcastle

2000 Ceramic Artist Residency Horden Nursery – Peterlee, EAZ,

2007 -2009 ‘Environment of Learning’- Co-delivered with Nicola Balfour. Work developed and delivered through Creative Partnerships. Exploring and refining creative practice within Early Years settings, inspired and informed by national & international models. Working across 20 schools in North & South Tyneside.

I have delivered training workshops, creative consultation and have presented and attended various seminars, conferences and professional development days specifically within the Early Years.

Schools: 2005-2011

  • Creative Agent for Creative Partnership in eight schools throughout the North East.
  • Malvins Close First School, Northumberland.
  • Seaton Delaval first School Northumberland
  • St Catherine’s RC Primary Newcastle
  • Moor Edge Primary, North Tyneside
  • Rockcliffe First School, Whitley Bay
  • Redesdale Primary School, Wallsend
  • Whitehouse Primary School, North Shields
  • Stephenson Memorial Primary Howden
  • 2006-2011 Artist for Enquiry and Change, Creative Partnership projects.
  • 2011 Workshops encouraging staff and children to take risks exploring new materials and resources – Morpeth First School Foundation Stage
  • 2010-11 Artist in residence’ working with KS2 children and staff on creating a skills based creative curriculum – Stobhillgate Primary school, Northumberland.
  • 2010 Creating a book ‘Lillie’s Journey’ the story which unfolds through images and words was developed by Yr3 children from Redesdale primary school recapturing their imaginative experiences at the rising sun on the woodland kids project back in 2006. I then was commissioned to capture these stories through large wooden cutouts, which were erected in the school grounds.
  • Shadow puppet workshops-St Oswalds RC School Gosforth
  • Supporting the Nursery children’s interests through a number of practical workshops – Hadrain Park Primary South Shields.
  • 2009 ‘Making Links’ Working within two schools linking their outside environments, visually, temporary & experimentally –
  • Collingwood Special & Stobhillgate Primary school, Northumberland.
  • Series of mosaic stepping stones – Hadrain Park Primary South Shields.
  •  2008 Supporting the children’s interests through a number of practical workshops Gosforth Park Primary, Goathlands Primary, Newcastle, St Bernadette RC Primary.
  • Creative response to a visit to Belsay Hall reporting on their findings, through a collation of ideas, plans, and drawings cumulating in the creation of imaginative worlds and shadow plays-Bead Burn Primary Jarrow S Tyneside.
  •  2006 ‘Lost in Landscape’: A collaborative project about embracing the landscape and getting ‘lost’; a journey with children, teachers and artists, to woods and beaches expressed through a series of multi media events.                     Malvins Close First School Northumberland.

Other School projects

  • 2007 A ‘Creative Action Research Awards project (CARA): ‘How can we have a creative learning community’. Pupils created their own shrines in small boxes and on banners transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. Westerhope Primary, Newcastle:
  • 2005 A CARA project- Looking at how artists and teachers can work together to use Thinking skills strategies to help pupils explain, elucidate and evaluate their creative endeavours.                                                                                                           West End First , Bedlington, Northumberland.
  • 2004 ‘Home’ ISIS Arts: Supporting artist, working with lead artist Farhad Ahrarnia producing a series of dolls houses whilst engaging children about their with ideas of home and identity.                                                                                Berwick Middle, Middlesbrough Primary and Battle Hill Primary.

Mosaics in schools and Community centres 

  • 2015 Swalwell Primary. entrance mosaic.
  • 2013 Farne Primary School N’cle. Dare to Enquire.
  • Benedict Biscop Primary Sunderland. Entrance mosaic.
  • Western primary, Wallsend. Identity panel (using recycled materials)
  • 2011 Biddick Hall Community centre. Wall mosaic
  • Stobhillgate First Morpeth. Courtyard mosaic.
  • 2009 Houghton Community Nursery. Mosaic commission for garden
  • 2007 Whitehouse Primary North Shields. Mosaic School Logo
  • 2006  Redesdale Primary, Wallsend.Mosaic School logo
  • Hazelwood Primary North Tyneside.Mosaic stepping stones
  • 2004 Sure Start, Wallsend N, Tyneside
  • Burnside First Cramlington Northumberland
  • Bailygreen Primary Killingworth NT
  • 2003 Marden Bridge Middle school, Whitley Bay.
  • Pupil Referral Unit, Hepscott Park, Northumberland.
  • Hareside First, Cramlington, Northumberland.
  • St Aidens Junior, Gateshead.
  • Beacon, Community Centre, Falmouth, Cornwall.
  • White Swan Centre, Killingworth NT
  • 2002 Beacon Junior , Falmouth, Cornwall.
  • Nursery School, Easington. Commission.
  • 2001 Richard Coates Middle School, Ponteland
  • Caedman Primary, Gateshead
  • Ovingham First, Northumberland
  • Burradon First, North Tyneside
  • Southridge First, Whitley Bay.
  • Red Row, Millennium Green, Northumberland.
  • South Shields, Library
  • 2000 Star of the sea, Primary, Whitley Bay,
  • South Hylton, Primary, Sunderland.
  • Bede Burn, Primary Jarrow .
  • Tyne Bikes Millennium project, Seaton Burn.
  • Rising Sun Countryside Park, North Tyneside.
  • Enterprise 5 housing association, Hebburn.
  • 1999 Rockcliffe First, Whitley Bay.
  • St Columbus RC Wallsend.
  • ‘Speech after Stroke club’, Nomad housing S.Shields.
  • 1998   Kingsway First, Blyth
  • 1996   Tynemouth Station.
  • 1995 Witherwack Primary, Sunderland.
  • 1994 Carley Hill Primary, Sunderland.
  • 1992 King Edwards , Meadowell, Goathlands, Primary’s
  • Corpus Christi Primary, Gateshead.

While most of the mosaics I do are school and community based, I do undertake private commissions and have exhibited in galleries.

  • 12 tiled panel mosaic for Basingstoke Hospital



  • 2011 Waterville Primary- Painted and planting seascape project
  • 2010     Six Newcastle schools
-Aspect Games -set of silk banners
  • 2006 New Delaval First, Blyth – silk banners
  • Jubliee Primary, Wallsend silk banners
  • 2005 St Roberts, Morpeth – silk banners
  • 2003 Hareside First Cramlington- mural & banners.
  • 1997 Corbridge First, Northumberland – banners.
  • 2002 Stobhillgate First, Morpeth – banners
  • 2000 Malvins Close First, Blyth -interior mural.
  • 1999 Hebburn South Tyneside – play features
  • 1998 St.Wilfred RC Gateshead – interior mural.
  • 1995 Walkergate Infants, Newcastle -interior mural.
  • Rockcliffe First, Whitley Bay – exterior mural.
  • Shiremoor First – playground feature.
  • 1994 Carley Hill primary, Sunderland – exterior mural.
  • 1994 St Anthony’s Nursery, Newcastle – exterior murals.


Carnival workshops: Site decoration: Posters

  • Womad Festival. Childrens parade.
  • Ashington Miners Picnic- banners.
  • Morpeth Gathering- pageant and banners
  • Tall Ships -pageant and site banners
  • First Wave Festival – flags & banners.
  • Fish Quay Festival –pageant, site decoration, merchandise and posters
  • Dodgy Clutch Company – back drops, floor cloths
  • Buddle Arts Center -Signage

I have also designed logos and posters for festivals, theatre companies, arts centres and illustrated for Iron Magazine.

From 1995-2003 I Co-ran a voluntary ‘After schools club’ at Rockcliffe First School, Whitley Bay, (my then two daughters school). Together we explored various arts, collaborating with poets, dancers, gardeners & musicians. We secured an allotment & went on to explore various projects with an environmental impact, winning ‘A Green Fingers’ award in 1999.






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.”