The Coolamon Bowl Story

Third grade artists began their study of the culture of Australia and New Zealand by learning about a traditional Aboriginal ceremony.  The Aboriginal people show respect for another’s language, country, and ancestors by performing a special smoking ceremony.  Fragrant eucalyptus leaves are burned in a special bowl, called a coolamon.  The smoldering leaves are used to cleanse the air while participating in the ritual.

After reading Why I Love Australia by Australian illustrator and artist Bronwyn Bancroft, my students were inspired to create their own interpretation of the smoking ceremony, complete with the special coolamon bowl.  Third grade artists also noticed the use of painted dots in Bancroft’s art, and they spent two class periods just making beautiful dots with the handle end of their paintbrushes.

Here are some of our Aboriginal inspired pieces – more can be found on our Artsonia on-line art gallery.



And a final collage – couldn’t resist!