Nest Building

Construct nests to protect and survive

Lindisfarne was, and still is, a refuge. Its monastic buildings provided a safe environment for the monks to work, worship and study. Its castle has protected the islanders from invaders. Its village continues to provide a warm welcome for visitors. Explore the idea of shelter and protection.

  • Collect wires, electric cables, string, twigs, grasses, feathers, mosses and fibres.
  • Weave a nest by first constructing a hoop or ring from a strong but bendy twig or wire. Lash it together with grass, string or thin wire or cable.
  • Reinforce this hoop with more material wrapped and bound around it.
  • Begin to weave a basket form beneath the hoop using thinner fibres or wires and cables - under and over, under and over. Don't worry if your nest looks a bit messy - the birds certainly don't!
  • Incorporate objects into your weaving - nuts, seed heads, dried flowers, electrical components, LED's or fairy lights.
  • Put eggs in the nest - they could be real hens eggs, or quails or chocolate. Try boiling hens eggs with onion skins and then paint or draw over the blotchy surface you obtain. Metallic pens work well. Lay mechanical eggs - rusty machine parts, ball bearings, marbles in the nest.
  • Take digital photographs of your nest in different locations - a tree or bush, in undergrowth, on a beach or amongst rocks.
  • Apply textures, filters and captions to your photographs using image manipulation software.
  • Print and add to your Research Book

    (see Nest Building Image).


Nest building design
Nest Building

Nest Building


Storm Shelter


Raids by Viking warriors eventually drove the monks from the island of Lindisfarne. They took with them the precious remains of St. Cuthbert and the Sacred Book made in his honour. They traveled for many years across the wilds of Northern England before finding refuge at Durham. Here the followers of Cuthbert and the protectors of the Sacred Book founded a new monastery which was to become the great Cathedral of Durham. Explore the idea of sheltering from a natural or man-made disaster in a series of drawings and prints.

  • Dress up some friends in old coats and blankets. Get them to huddle together as if trying to protect each other from a terrible threat.
  • Take digital photographs (see Figures image).
  • Collect and scan images of disaster - the results of storms, floods, earthquakes and wars.
  • Use image manipulation software to combine this material into a composition where people shelter behind rubble, a wall, a fence or in a ruined building for protection from a destructive force.
  • Alternatively, photocopies of the images could be collaged together (see Shelter Montage image).
  • Use the printout or collage of the composition as the foundation for a collographic printing block. This is simply made by first sticking the collage or print to a piece of stiff cardboard and then pasting cut and torn textured materials onto it. Pieces of crumpled paper, corrugated cardboard, textured wall papers, textured plastic, string, textiles, sand paper, sand mixed with glue or thick glue left to dry all work well.
  • Make sure that everything is stuck down firmly. Cover the collograph in a layer of glue, varnish or spray with enamel car paint to fix the surface and give extra strength. (see Shelter Block image)
  • Apply a layer of printing ink to the printing block using a brush or a roller, lay a piece of thin photocopying paper over the top and rub vigorously on the back of the paper. Use your fingers and thumbs to get into all of the hollows and grooves to pick up as much ink as possible.
  • Gently peel away the paper to reveal your print. (see Shelter Print image)
  • Experiment with different colours
  • Use your own homemade paints to print with. Print with mud or coal dust.
  • If you have access to a printing press use dampened thick paper and run the block through under a lot of pressure to emboss the paper
  • Add one of your prints to your Research Book.



Photo of figures


Montage of figures and shelter in background
Shelter Montage

Shelter Montage


Drawing of shelter block
Shelter Block

Shelter Block


Image of print from shelter design
Shelter Print

Shelter Print