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collaborative tile panel made by the flying potter and high meadow infant school based upon come all you little personsWhen 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.

Upton upon severn primary school make clay models inspired by children's book milo and the magical stonesAnother 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!

Lugwardine primary school logoThe 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:

x7 terracotta collaborative pots made by the whole of Lugwardine Primary School

 

 

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.

Look out! there’s something lurking in the rhubarb patch at Kingham Lodge.

terracotta caterpilla mad by oxforshire primary school children

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:

Bledington

Leafield

Great Rollright

Ducklington

Kitebrook

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.

collaborative terracotta bee and snail made by oxfordshire primary school children collaborative terracotta mini-beasts made by Oxfordshire primary schools

tile panel primary school project worcestershireWe 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!