Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson of theory and art making, students will explore art and sustainability, focusing on the idea of conscious consumption. They will analyse the work of contemporary artist, Gwyneth Leech and create an artwork on found objects that convey a message of conscious consumption. 


Faber-Castell has long understood the importance of creativity to all people, especially to young people. It is also continuously searching for environmentally friendly processes and high-quality materials to enhance children’s creative experience throughout every development phase. For more information about Faber-Castell, click here.


Learning intentions:

  • Students understand how subject matter influences an artwork’s underlying message.
  • Students are able to combine 2D and 3D art making techniques.
  • Students are able to select subject matter and art conventions to convey a message about sustainability.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 & 10 Visual Arts

  • Conceptualise and develop representations of themes, concepts or subject matter to experiment with their developing personal style, reflecting on the styles of artists, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists (ACAVAM125)
  • Manipulate materials, techniques, technologies and processes to develop and represent their own artistic intentions (ACAVAM126)
  • Develop and refine techniques and processes to represent ideas and subject matter (ACAVAM127)
  • Plan and design artworks that represent artistic intention (ACAVAM128)

Syllabus outcomes: VAS5.1, VAS5.3, VAS5.4, VAS5.5, VAS5.6

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of Year 9 & 10 achievement standards: By the end of Year 10, students evaluate how representations communicate artistic intentions in artworks they make and view. They evaluate artworks and displays from different cultures, times and places. They analyse connections between visual conventions, practices and viewpoints that represent their own and others’ ideas. They identify influences of other artists on their own artworks. Students manipulate materials, techniques and processes to develop and refine techniques and processes to represent ideas and subject matter in their artworks.

Topic: Sustainability, Social Issues.

Unit of work: Creative Sustainability – Visual Arts – Year 9 & 10.

Time required: 180 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – Facilitate class discussions and student art making.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Student’s own Visual Arts Process Diaries, Pitt Artist pens or Playing & Learning Brush Markers (class set), colour wheels, Optional: Colour Theory Factsheet.

Keywords: Sustainability, art, drawing, conscious consumption.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand how subject matter influence an artworks underlying message.
  • Students are able to combine 2D and 3D art making techniques.
  • Students are able to select subject matter and art conventions to convey a message about sustainability.

Success criteria: 

  • Students critically analyse artworks with messages of sustainability.
  • Students create artworks on found objects.
  • Students are able to convey a message of sustainability through drawing technique and a simple found object sculpture.

Teacher content information: Sustainability describes the ability to keep going at the same rate and in the same (or better) condition as before. In order for our world to be able to sustain us, as well as the generations to come, we need to change. It’s time to think differently – and more creatively – about sustainability and the future of our planet.

Creativity and approaching challenges in a creative way has traditionally be

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Coffee cups make up 23% of our litter volume!

Source: Keep Australia Beautiful, National Litter Index (

After watching the clip on Gwyneth Leech's art, answer the following questions:

Coffee Cup Consumption

Why might Gwyneth’s walking to work be important to her practice?

What mediums does Gwyneth use?

Why do you think Gwyneth adds details to the bottoms of the cups?

Coffee Cup Canvas

Does the use of coffee cups adds to Gwyneth Leech’s artworks? If so, how?

Overall, do you think these artworks are drawings, sculptures, performance pieces, installations or something else entirely? Why?

Coffee Cup Concepts

Finally, considering your responses to the above questions, what messages do you believe the artist is trying to express in her coffee cup artworks?


As you view your classmates' work complete the following peer assessment on at least two art works:

Which aspects of the visual

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