We are lucky enough to have a maintenance department at the College which means that once in a while we can create something extra-ordinary. Luckily maintenance was willing to make us a freestanding plywood tree and they used a concrete block to secure it. It was up to us, or better the students, to get the bare tree filled with peace wishes. An hour cutting leaves out of coloured paper created a pile that would last forever, we thought. The orange, green and yellow represented the autumn colours.
What you need:
- concrete block
- material previous display if you have
- information internet about peace week
- (enlarged) images art and photography books symbolizing peace
- coloured card
- several packages of blu-tack to paste the leaves to the tree but a glue stick will work as well/stapler/tape/guillotine/scissors/ruler/glue stick/marker
What to do:
Ask your maintanance team (if you are lucky enough to have one) to make a tree or else create one yourself with cardboard. Look around at the campus or at friends and family for a concrete block that can sucure the base if it is a freestanding tree. If you make it against the wall, make sure you attach it securely.
To cover up the concrete base I collected falling leafs from trees just outside the library and pasted them with blue-tack to the trunk and base.
After that I wrote a few wishes myself on the paper leafs to make a start and walked around the library with some paper leaves and markers asking the students to write a wish. Most of them were happy to do so, though often they needed a bit of encouragement or advice about what to write.
I explained that they could write what they wanted as long as it had to do with peace, for instance a peace wish for their family or a particular friend. Maybe a peace wish for themselves or the whole world. They could write what peace meant to them, how they saw peace or wanted it to be.
We were not sure if the students would participate but within a few days the empty tree was a full tree. The packets of blue-tack I used to paste the leaves to the tree vanished like mist on a sunny morning and I started using a glue stick and tape. When the surface was totally covered up I stacked the leaves between the others hoping the wishes could still be read.
The tree was a bit wobbly and it actually needed a bit more support at the higher part but for maintenance and me it was a learning curve and next time a similar project will be even better.
Some of the wishes were heart warming and some were heart breaking but standing in front of the tree and reading all those wishes, hopes and dreams of the students was a great experience.
The display boards were covered with pictures about peace. Peace between people with different skin colours, between old and young, between opposite countries with different cultures and I also used images of peace organisations.
I pasted quotes about peace from Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, St. Francis of Assisi, Buddha, Jesus, Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King to the top of the board and between the images. To connect the Peace tree with the display on the board I pasted falling orange, yellow and green leaves to the panels.
With a little bit of imagination the peace dove on the other end could have flown away with a branch in its beak.
To view larger images of displays click on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gr8displays/