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pear tree tile panel made by bromsgrove first school in worcestershire with the help of herefordshire artist jon the potter williams

jon the potter assembling school project tile panel made with the orchards school in worcestershire

The Flying Potter Jon Williams from Eastnor Pottery worked with every single child at The Orchards School, Bromsgrove to make this fantastic pear tree tile panel.

On it’s website the school aims to: “develop a love of learning and the opportunity for each individual to achieve their full potential and to develop and explore their own interests in a secure and challenging environment” We reckon the clay project certainly fulfilled this aim!  Every child hand modeled either a fruit, leaf or branch covered in clay decoration depicting an aspect of school life they enjoyed or excelled at.

The tiles, all 268 of them were mounted on to painted and cut MDF boards and delivered to School ready for installation in the Autumn term. The panel will be hung near the reception area to be admired by children, staff and visitors forever more – a permanent reminder of what can be achieved when we all work together.

close up of orchards school project will herefordshire artist jon the potter williams

 

owl drawing in degments projected on to wooden board, with clay pots in the foreground

jon williams drawing on to board with a projection of an owl template

A little preparation for a BIG tile panel project at Grangefield Primary School in Bishops Cleeve Gloucestershire. Jon worked with the whole school over two days to construct a giant ceramic version of the school’s logo. Each child contributed a tile and the composite image was commissioned to celebrate the school’s 20th anniversary.

Must say it’s great to be back on the road working in Primary Schools and early years!

drawing of an owl in segments on a projector owl drawing in segments projected on to wooden board with measurement tracing paper on top

owl drawing in degments projected on to wooden board, with clay pots in the foreground

hand holding card board with measurement sections drawn on with black marker

 

natural resources for pattern making in clay session with jon the potter from eastnor pottery and the flying potter

textured terracotta tiles made by young children at washwood heath nursery school and jon the potter from eastnor pottery and the flying potterThese amazing terracotta tiles have been made by the talented children at Washwood Heath Nursery School in Birmingham. Although they look rather stunning arranged here on the ground, the tiles form part of a much more ambitious project at the nursery.

Jon the potter worked with artist in residence Claire Witcombe, Nursery staff and of course the children to plan an exciting and inspiring project to introduce aspects of pattern making, surface design and construction. The aim, to create something that would pool the skills and experience of all the collaborators and result in an outcome everybody could enjoy and share – as well as provide the children with an exceptional learning journey along the way.

After much consultation and planning, a shelter proved to be a popular choice with all stakeholders – a structure the children could pass through, play in and around. It was decided the interior space would be protected by hand made roof tiles, co-created by the children in a series of practical workshop sessions.

natural resources for pattern making in clay session with jon the potter from eastnor pottery and the flying potterautumn oak trees in eastnor herefordshire

Natural resources, hand tools and other mark making objects were introduced to the clay table for the children to press and work into the clay. Once they had flattened large lumps of terracotta clay into flat slabs, the children got to work, pressing and rolling the tools and resources into the soft material. They were also encouraged to cut their textured slabs into uniformed shapes by slicing around a template especially prepared for the task. The range of patterns produced, and the degree of exploration was a delight to behold….And as for the sheer number of tiles made – WOW! Proper tile making factory.

pressing oak leaves into clay slab with jon the potter at washwood heath nursery school in birminghamcutting clay tiles at washwood heath nursery school with jon williams from eastnor pottery

table full of mark making materials and clay at a creative session led by Jon Williams the flying potter at washwood heath nursery school in birminghamThe 100 tiles have all been fired and ready for dispatch! The baton now passes to Claire who will enable the children to build the main structure from recycled pallets and boards. The roof tiles will be added later by the children using hammers and nails to hang them on the timber – a traditional and contemporary technique used by roofers in the construction industry all around the world.

The project is a fine example of partnership working and creative collaboration and we all cant wait to see the final piece installed in one of the Nursery’s exterior spaces.

iron age clay round house made by yr4 at finstall first school and jon the potter

collaborative totem pole sections made by jon the potter from eastnor pottery and meadows first school

Spent the week before the October half term heading North up the M5 into Bromsgrove, where I had the pleasure and privilege working with children and staff at two of the town’s First Schools.

Monday and Tuesday were spent at Meadows First School working on a whole school project making a ‘Well Being’ totem pole. Once it’s fired, the terracotta sculpture will be installed in the school’s well being garden in the school grounds.

clay totem pole made on one of the flying potter's visit to meadows first school in bromsgrove

Although the project was a collaborative one with each child in the school contributing to the whole, it didn’t stop a YR2 pupil designing and making her own personal interpretation:

On Wednesday I headed across town at Finstall First School making Iron Age houses with YR4 and oak leaf tiles with Reception class.

iron age clay round house made by yr4 at finstall first school and jon the potter

I’ve worked with both schools over a number of years and have become a regular activity at both. I love my visits to the Bromsgrove schools and sometimes get to encounter the same children. It’s great to see they develop their ideas and creativity year on year.

collaborative planters made by bishops cleeve primary school and eastnor pottery and the flying potter

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.