Giant Grass

Artist in Residence

Week 3 and 4

Week 3

Exploring bamboo and sound…

This week Deb led our workshops and we explored the potential of bamboo to create sound. We approached our explorations in two stages. These were not necessarily in any order.

  1. We explored a range of sounds that we could harness from the bamboo
  2. We considered how we could exploit these sounds as part of a structure.

We were asked by Deb to use a range of bamboo off-cuts of differing lengths and widths and different sizes and shapes to explore the possibilities of creating a range of sounds. We then refined our ideas and began to develop some conceptual understandings about how bamboo works in relation to sound.

It was a loud workshop, but amazing to experience the range of possibilities that students were able to discover through experimentation and exploration. Students created sound by hitting and tapping the bamboo, by inserting bamboo pieces into one another, by scraping, by laying split bamboo on the ground and by creating large scale rattles.

Students worked in the same small groups that they worked in last week.

They discovered that different lengths and diameters of bamboo create different pitches when hit.

They also realised that the sound created when the bamboo is hollow is different to when the bamboo has a series of sections in it created by the nodes.

When the bamboo length has nodes, the pitch can be different when hit on each side of the node.

Rattling timbre changes depending on the surface texture of the bamboo, whether it is smooth, rough or bumpy.


They discovered the incredible sound possibilities of ‘Guerro’ achieved when exploring the turtle bamboo. They even discovered that when played like a violin, bamboo echoed like sea shells in your ear!

Over the course of the day, students bought unique insights to their explorations. Every group that came into the visual art space, came with new and innovative ideas and varied perspectives. It was an amazing day, a loud day, but one that was filled with an excitement and anticipation that comes in this exploration stage of the design process.

It is now important to start refining our ideas and to bring the ideas developed over the last two weeks together to develop a sound/sculptural installation ready for next week when Munir visits and we start to develop prototypes of our design for our playground.


Artist visit – Week 4

Week 4

Creating a prototype…

This was our first week with Munir, our artist/ designer in residence. It was fantastic to have him in the visual art studio teaching us all the skills we needed to know when building a prototype of our designs.

Munir brings with him a wealth of knowledge about, and a passion for, the material bamboo.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Munir will guide us through the process of making a prototype of our designs and help us to realise them in the form of a bamboo structure or installation with some musical elements.

Munir explained to us, that when we draw, we are designing in 2D. When we create a model, we are shifting our thinking in the design process and realising our ideas in 3D. The prototype that we are working on now, is not meant to be a final design. It is through the process of working on a prototype that we will come to understand the essence of building it. Making a prototype is a stage in the design process that allows us to work through our ideas, find design solutions and determine what difficulties we might have when building.

To begin, each group was given a black foam board that serves as the base for the model or prototype.  Munir asked us to carefully map out the design on the foam board in pencil. We were then instructed on how to measure and cut the bamboo to the correct length, with a consideration for the scale of the final work.


Munir also showed us many techniques for using the skewers; how to bend them, section them and how to create a zig zag length. He also instructed us on how to glue the model together and how to ‘grow’ the model to create structures using rubber bands.


Students’ were challenged to bend and manipulate the bamboo skewers to resemble bamboo strips. Munir also demonstrated techniques to reinforce and build up structures.


We are well under way with our prototype structures and will continue next week, coming into the space armed with all the knowledge and skills we learnt this week.

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