Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Art from Recycled Materials

Recovery Curriculum Resources from Leeds Museum and Galleries Leeds Art Gallery.


These resources are designed to support a recovery curriculum and can be used in any education setting. They complement the ‘Supporting the Return to School for All Pupils’ guidance in Leeds and the PACE approach of playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy.

Colour photograph showing a sculpture of flowers in a vase, made from recycled plastics.
Some Flowers by Brian Griffiths



The artist who made ‘Some Flowers’ from pre-used plastic bags and Tupperware, worked quickly and in the moment. The physical properties of the materials helped him decide what to do – scrunch, wrap, tie, thread, make a flower and put it in a pot. The materials were brought to him by other people, and the fun was in the challenge.  He drew on the familiar, as well as what was possible through experimentation and what ‘just happened’.

This sort of activity, especially when undertaken by an artist, can be described as being creative and often involves many small decisions made one after the other. Give each other a bag of materials. Play with them. See what you can make.


Acceptance (self-esteem)

“Brian Griffiths views art as a means of escape; a repeated and heroic attempt to leave the here and now and be transported to other places.”

He uses his imagination as a tool to reflect on everyday life. He makes art to share his observations, worries, and a sense of humour.  This can be difficult for himself and the people who spend time with his sculptures. It can also be very positive, the artworks can be surprising and funny. They provoke memories and feelings, and start conversations. Spending quality time with art can be a safe way to puzzle, notice and reflect on our habits of thinking and behaving. Start a conversation about an artwork, you could use written provocations. Listen carefully, respect what is said by all. If it is comfortable, share what you have noticed about each other in the conversation.



‘Some Flowers’ was made in 2002, it was displayed in a Leeds Art Gallery exhibition called Natural Encounters in 2021. The exhibition brought together different artworks to explore human relationships with nature. Find other artworks about nature using libraries, the web, art galleries, and possibly shops. Groups of people you know could be given the challenge to help.  Gather together lots of ‘nature artworks’.  What do they have in common?  What makes each artwork different?  How could they be grouped together under a theme?  Make a physical or digital exhibition using the artworks if you can.



Look at different natural environments. What makes them the way they are? How have they changed over time? How does their location affect the way people have to live their lives? Imagine you lived there, what would your life be like? Make an artwork from safe materials you have found around the house or school to show it to other people.