When our children were young, Sarah and myself loved reading to them. Story time just before bed was a magical, special time we look back on with total fondness. We enjoyed the literature just as much (maybe more!?) than the children and each evening marveled at the illustrations, narrative and the clever way the two came together.
The kids are all grown up now and have either flown the nest or are preparing to fly. As a consequence of them getting older, our exposure to the brilliance of children’s picture books has dwindled.
That said, it hasn’t been a total drought as we get an occasional fix working, as we do with hundreds of primary schools and nurseries. We love it when a head teacher or art co-coordinator starts a conversation with “there’s this book….”
We’ve recently worked with two primary schools who have set beautifully illustrated children’s books as the inspiration for their clay work.
High Meadow Infants School in Warwickshire have been using ‘Come All You Little Persons’ by John Agard and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle as inspiration for a whole term’s worth of learning and exploration across the curriculum. We were invited to work with the whole school to make a celebratory tile panel to mark the 50th anniversary of the school, based upon the book. (above)
Each child and member of staff made and painted an individual tile, imagining which type of ‘person’ they would be. All the tiles have been fired, glazed and mounted and make a composite image of a globe supported either side by magnificent trees. The celebratory piece has been installed in the school hall for children, parents and staff to admire for a long time to come.
Another school another book! KS1 at Upton Upon Severn Primary School looked at the books ‘Milo and the Magical Stones’ by Marcus Pfister and ‘The Tin Forest’ by Helen Ward. Both books have an environmental message and offered perfect inspiration for the children’s clay work. Instead of a collaborative effect, each child made an individual piece using the pinch pot technique to create a hollow character from the book.
Two separate projects with two super ceramic outcomes!