Grass Drawings

Matt Milkowski
with students at Kenwood Academy, Chicago

Students utilize stenciling to draw with grass

Materials:  soil, cheap grass seeds, shallow cardboard or plastic containers (I used the trays that 24 pks of soda arrive in), plastic garbage bags or wrap, water-resistant stenciling supports (laminated cardboard or cereal box covers work well), cut to the same size as container faces, pencils, x-acto knives, water, sun

• Students decide on an image or series of images for their grass drawing. In this instance, the students chose a phrase to depict via lettering."BELIEVE IN YOURSELF"
• One group of students preps containers by lining them with plastic, and filling them with soil
• Second group of students draws and cuts the stencil imagery (in this case, one letter per student).
• Upon completion, stencils are placed on containers (now filled with soil). Students sprinkle seeds over exposed (cut away) areas.
• Over next couple weeks, students water seeds. Keep stencils on to block sunlight in negative space in case some seeds accidentally spilled into the worn area. After grass reaches 3 inches, stencils may be removed and grass trimmed as needed.

Lesson Expansion:
• Repeat process using a grid transfer method, where each container is a box of a gridded image (requires teacher to posterize, grid, and reproduce image in advance).
• Use different grass seeds to attain a variety of colors.