The Flying Potter landed at Lugwardine Primary School near Hereford just before the Easter break.
The school was celebrating all things arty and crafty in their annual arts week and pottery was just one of many art forms the children were encouraged to engage with over the five days.
Each year group was given a different country to inspire their clay work with each class making a collaborative terracotta planter encrusted with decoration associated with their assigned country. The Sydney Opera House on the Australian vessel was a particular stroke of genius!
The pots have been dried and fired at Eastnor Pottery HQ and returned to the school to take up permanent residence in their new sensory garden.
We didn’t manage to get a photo of the x7 finished terracotta pots before we delivered them (doh!) but…. they posted a lovely photo of the pots freshly made on their website:
We’ve worked with Bishops Cleeve Primary School for a number of years producing quality, collaborative ceramic masterpieces, most of which are proudly displayed through-out the school.
We thoroughly enjoy our visits and it appears the school do too! Here’s what Arts Development Officer Mrs Parks has to say about our relationship:
“Always polite and puts all at ease whether paid teaching staff, classroom assistants or the unpaid voluntary helpers who make such a difference to the children’s experience of clay. Jon is always totally responsive to ideas and suggestions from the teacher planning the day and he or his friendly & helpful staff, respond promptly and enthusiastically to all the administrative details that schools need.
Jon’s encouragement and gentle, open manner with the children never fails to put all at their ease and get the best outcomes possible.
They love his sense of fun and even the teachers forgave him his jokes! It is always evident that Jon has a wealth of experience working with children of all abilities and he seems to have an intuitive feeling for the best approaches to take with each individual. His enthusiasm is infectious and our children gain valuable memories or working with a professional artist who is happy to share his skills and passion for all things muddy!
It exceeded my expectation as the children were more original and Jon’s demonstration of different ways of forming the animals and borders were so clear that all the children had a range of choices to make and were able to adapt the techniques shown to suit their animal and their own ability.
I just know the highlight hasn’t happened yet…it is the moment that the children see their fired pieces and those wide eyes and happy faces make it all worth while!”
Mrs Parkes is also an extremely talented maker in her own right. Examples of her work can be seen here.
Jon recently spent two creative and inspiring days working with the young people at Tettenhall Wood School in Wolverhampton, an educational setting specializing in students with a wide range of autism.
Arts week co-ordinator Maggie had worked with Jon in another SEN school and was keen to introduce her current pupils to the delights of working with clay in an exploratory and open ended fashion.
There were some ceramic outcomes – eg Zurg and Buzz Lightyear beautifully sculpted in a matter of minutes, but on the whole it was all about the potter’s wheel and the fluid, silky consistency of slip and soft clay.
The sessions were gloriously messy and by the end of the day the art room was well and truly splattered, a testament to the enjoyment and enthusiasm in which the students approached the material.
One student was initially unimpressed by the mess and stood a long way from the wheel vocalizing her disapproval at being in the space. Through-out her protest, the individual in question watched the other students take their turn on the wheel and as her mood calmed, she was encouraged to step a little closer. Eventually and with a little more coaxing she was handed a pencil to interact with the spinning clay. She used the pencil to create marks, spirals and swirls before downing the tool and tentatively touching the clay with the tip of her finger. Next thing, both hands were clasped around the lump and a broad smile stretched across her face. All this inside a very short space of time – naught to sixty in 20 minutes!
Look out! there’s something lurking in the rhubarb patch at Kingham Lodge.
These fabulous terracotta creepy crawlies were made by five Oxfordshire primary schools earlier in the year. Jon the Potter was commissioned by Kingham Lodge to co-create the artwork with the children to be exhibited in the Sculpture at Kingham Lodge exhibition He spent a half day in each school working on the collaborative insects.
The schools who took part:
The children’s work can be seen alongside sculpture made by professional artists in the beautiful gardens set in the heart of the Cotswolds. The show runs from Saturday 5th May – Sunday 15th May. Open 10am – 5pm daily.
We recently collaborated with the whole of Broadwas Primary School in Worcestershire to produce this brilliant tile panel interpretation of their school emblem.
Each pupil made an individual tile from soft clay before adding detail and painting in coloured slip.
We transported all 100 tiles back to the Pottery to be fired, glazed and returned to the school for ready for installation earlier this year.
The panel is mounted on the outside of the school near the entrance, welcoming pupils and visitors and serving as an excellent reminder of what can be achieved when everybody works together.
…and, if you study the school’s website banner photo roll for long enough, you’ll see our very own Jon the Potter facilitating a potter’s wheel assembly!