“By looking at the details of the natural world, the changing seasons, the plants and wild life they begin to see how they fit into the world and what they need to do to protect this amazing natural world. They start to understand the rhythm of nature and how it can lead to creative work.”


Isobel Coney is a qualified (Goldsmiths College, 1998), experienced Secondary School art and textiles teacher, with commercial textile experience and three successful years teaching GCSE, GNVQ and A-level at St. Marylebone School in London. She has also worked in the United States with younger age groups (2-10), and now teaches students and teachers to develop and use art in the outdoor environment.

Isobel’s projects have combined cultural, environmental and historical studies with art, with techniques spanning painting, quilting, felting, knitting, batik, print-making, hand-made paper and woodland crafts. She works equally well with adults and children, having extensive experience teaching in schools and in an instructor-training environment.

Isobel is a regular contributor to Horizons Magazine  on art and outdoor learning, recently completing a series of articles on how to find materials and create art, for teachers and students in each of the seasons.

Isobel recently led a series of art workshops as part of the Windermere Reflections “Creative Reflections” initiative, and at the same time conducted a community project using the help of Reflections visitors to create a series of felt panels depicting the daily cycle of life, nature and activities centred on and around lake Windermere.

Isobel is keen to work with schools to develop the art curriculum, in particular with outdoor themes to encourage students’ awareness of the outdoor environment, and to help make the outdoors part of the educational comfort zone for students and teachers. Specific assignments could include:

  • Development of the art & craft curriculum;
  • Projects bringing outdoor materials to the class room, hooking children on the idea of making things from what they find outdoors;
  • Projects to take education into the environment: “The joy is in the making, the putting together, building our confidence and building on what we understand”;
  • Projects celebrating and leveraging cultural heritage within UK education;
  • Making co-existence with outdoors a part of the curriculum: “Being challenged by what we find and what we see but dare to push forward and create something from nature”

“The workshops combine art and craft projects to remind people of the range of fantastic, beautiful, natural materials that can be found all around us in the outdoor environment. They increase team-work and admiration for others’ creativity, giving participants a sense of physical grounding and creative community, and they emphasise the historical, geographical and environment heritage that is all around us.”

A set of projects are ready to use immediately:

  • Leaf printing
  • Hand-made paper
  • Outdoor sculpture
  • Exploring colours in the outdoor environment
  • Fun with frost
  • Natural pens & brushes for ink drawing
  • Observational techniques outdoors
  • Self-awareness through self-portraits
  • Ice lanterns
  • Autumn outdoor lanterns
  • Ice medallion dream catchers
  • Autumn leaf colour rainbows
  • Work with natural dyes
  • Native American head dresses and masks
  • Exploring identity: self portraits and masks
  • Flower pounding
  • Exploring texture with natural materials and art media
  • Leaf and bark rubbing
  • Autumnal dream catchers
  • Felting natural wool