Jon worked with the two Reception classes at Woodlands Infant School in Shirley earlier this week. The four and five year old pupils have been studying dinosaurs as part of their learning and were really really excited about making their own pottery creation.
Making clay dinosaurs has to be one of our favourite themes of all time. Probably, in part something to do with our son’s obsession with all things Jurassic when he was a youngster.
The children used the simple technique of sticking two pinch-pot bowls together to make a hollow structure. Next they fashioned their hollow ball, without breaking the seal into a dinosaur of their choosing, using an additional lump of clay to make legs, spikes, horns etc.
As well as learning new clay skills the children also used lots of new words and vocabulary to express what they were doing. Here are just a few snippets of conversation with their teacher after they had completed the activity:
“I was going to make a T-Rex but I changing my mind. The Slytherin [painted slip!] was the best bit – it makes it look shiny”
“I made a T-Rex, I made the mouth wider”
“I was squeezingly it carefully so it didn’t burst – I stroked it and it sticks”
“It stayed brown when I put it [green slip] over the top”
“I found it easy doing the body. I made the tail a bit lumpy and a bit short”
“I made a theradactile it had wings – I rolled them”
“I cant really spin it with my finger [making the thumb pot] if it didn’t have a hole it would explode”
“The spikes was tricky, I tried to flatten it and stick it on”
Check out these beautiful River Wye inspired tile panels made with the students at St Martins Primary School in Hereford.
Jon worked with every child in the school at the back end of the Summer term, encouraging them to roll the soft clay to make tiles. Low relief decoration, inspired by their experience of living in Hereford was modeled onto the surface and the whole effect painted with coloured slips.
At the end of the workshop sessions, the individual tiles were transported to the Pottery for drying, firing and glazing. Once out of the kilns the children’s work was assembled into collaborative fish, ducks and swans and finally attached to bespoke painted boards.
The finished panels were delivered to St Martins in October ready for installation on a huge wall above a busy stairwell. As soon as we have a photo we’ll share it right here on our website.
Nearly 10,000 people enjoyed tinkering with materials in The Maker Shack at the Cheltenham Science Festival 2018 – and nearly all of them designed and made a clay tile at the Eastnor Pottery station!
It was the second year running Olivia Clements requested the services of the Flying Potter so we knew what to expect in terms of sheer volume of participation….and we weren’t disappointed!
The event was exhausting and needed team Eastnor Pottery & The Flying Potter to work shifts. Sarah, Millie and Jon all did a couple of days but all agreed it would have been really, really hard work if it hadn’t been for the brilliant army of volunteer helpers.
Each station was designated a couple of extra hands who once had been briefed on the activity, set about their tasks with enthusiasm, initiative and understanding. They were brilliant!
Arts week at Brockhampton Primary School near Bromyard is a busy and creative time with the school employing a host of creative practitioners to work their magic with mixed age groups of children. It was a great opportunity to network with other artists and catch-up with old friends.
Megan Evans is an environmentally aware print maker whose work with young people I’ve admired for some time. Although we’d been employed on the same projects in the past, we hadn’t had the opportunity to put a face to the emails and phone conversations until Brockhampton.
Felicity O’ Neill is a teacher turned artist practitioner who is destined to set the world of participatory arts alight with her well prepared & researched visual arts projects. I loved the janga janga inspired paintings the children made just as much as they obviously enjoyed painting them.
It just so happened Nortonwoods were at the school putting the finishing touches to an inspiring and amazing outside area including a giant crooked house, old fashioned sweet shop and barbecue shack – all lovingly constructed from recycled and reclaimed timber and materials. (above) What a fantastic learning space to fire the imagination!
Well done Brockhampton for its commitment to the creative arts and outside learning.
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!