Artist lures children outdoors in hunt for sea creatures

Holly Ogden is putting together a book on marine life, called The Little Divers Alphabet.
Holly Ogden is putting together a book on marine life, called The Little Divers Alphabet.

MARINE artist Holly Ogden will be hiding pieces of her art in Mullaloo to encourage outdoor play and an interest in marine life among children this weekend.

The Kallaroo resident recently started a project called The Little Divers Alphabet to spark creativity among children and started art hunts to get families involved a year ago.

“I have painted obscure marine animals in a bid to teach children different sea animals and the magic below the surface of the ocean.

“This project will be converted into a children’s book and I aim to begin classes for children and adults alike in marine identification, environmental impacts, how to paint marine animals and fun facts about each one.

“Every few months, I organise an art hunt at Mullaloo Beach park – I hide painted marine animals and post clues to help children and families hunt for them.

“The response has been amazing, and it’s so lovely to get the local kids involved.”

Peekaboo! Where am I?

Posted by The Little Divers Alphabet on Friday, 26 July 2019

More than 100 families are expected to attend the next hunt, which will coincide with the start of the school holidays, on September 29 from 5pm.

Ogden said she would hide at least a dozen marine animals around the park and post clues on The Little Divers Alphabet Facebook and Instagram pages.

She said hid 12 marine animals around Tom Simpson Park for a hunt in July, then watched as about 20 children and their family members hunted for them.

“I saw one lady who had a beaming smile when she found hers, and children running from place to place as I posted clues online,” she said. .

“Majority of people who found their pieces had come down specifically for the art hunt and came together as a family.

“Two of them were passers by and contacted me to tell me how much finding it had made their day and made them smile.

“All of the art I place, and the materials I wrap them in, are recycled products ad made from natural fibres, so if in the case of one accidentally blowing away, littering is not taking place.”

Mantis Shrimp (peacock)

Posted by The Little Divers Alphabet on Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Ogden said her love for the ocean and its creatures blossomed while she lived and worked as a dive master in South East Asia.

“I began painting wall murals and surfboards, and since returning to Perth a few years back, I have been lucky enough to be a part of a few exhibitions,” she said.

“My focus has always been around the environment and the human impact, in regards to waste and the need of single use plastics.

“Most of my works are on reclaimed pieces, giving them a new lease on life.”

After giving birth to her first son last year, Ogden created designs featuring marine animals and palm leaves for a cloth nappy company.

Holly Ogden’s nappy designs.

She had not seen many children’s books encouraging children to learn about the ocean beyond ‘F for fish’, which inspired her idea for a book.

“I began thinking that, if from a young age, we teach children the differences and the uniqueness of all the under water creatures, we could one day have such amazing divers, marine biologists and environmentalists,” she said.

“The Little Divers Alphabet will be an alphabet book, an illustrated A-Z of obscure marine animals to inspire little and future divers.

“Each animal will have a fact alongside the name and illustration in order to teach the reader how special and unique each individual creature is.”

Ogden said she had finished 20 animals so far and was collecting art work from children of all ages to include in a few pages of the book, which can be sent to thelittlediversalphabet@outlook.com.

She said she planned to print the book locally on Forest Steward Council-certified paper to minimise the carbon footprint.

Visit www.hollyogdenart.com.

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Holly Ogden with her surfboard art.