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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Endangered species

This blog is all about showcasing some of the outstanding young artists that I have had the opportunity to work with recently. This year I have prepared, planned and delivered ten art weeks across the schools in Basildon. All the Art weeks have been designed around each schools theme or agenda focusing on the following aims :
  • To raise confidence and aspirations of young people.
  • To provide a wide range of opportunities to all students irrespective of age or ability.
  • To promote community cohesion within the school – bringing the school and local community together through art projects.
  • To create a strong student involvement in the steering of Art Week work.
  • To enhance Art development, level of risk taking and promote new ideas and techniques.
  • To support economic well being by providing a range of ideas that are accessible and affordable
The images on this blog are from the Art week delivered at Fairhouse Community Infant School. The objective for this project was to create 6 sculptures of endangered species which are the names of each of the classes within the school - Orang-utan's Panda's, Tiger's, Eagle's,  Elephant's and Turtle's. I wanted the pupils of the school to explore a variety of approaches and experiment with ideas, information and resources in order to develop project intentions.
I worked with each class to build their sculpture using traditional sculptural materials such as chicken wire and mod roc. With the help of the pupils we made the basic shapes out of chicken wire, then covered these with newspaper and padded areas out where appropriate, finally covering the sculpture in modroc. During the process we spent time comparing and commenting on differing ideas, methods and approaches used by artists, crafts people and designers to create art work; relating to the context in which the work is made.

The method of constructing the sculptures involved a range of processes that enabled each child to participate regardless of their age or ability. Pupils needed to apply numeracy skills to work to scale and create the basic shapes for each animal. Some pupils enjoyed the tactile quality of applying the modroc and generally getting messy. Whilst other that felt confident in their painting skills had the opportunity to shine, applying marks and images to the sculpture.
Here are some images that show the making process and the final products produced during this week.
          Delicately placing mod roc onto the newspaper covering the frame.
 Making the turtle armature and frame using chicken wire,
cardboard, newspaper and a lot of tape!
 All the sculptures were painted to represent the animals natural habitat. The children discussed where the animals live and like to be and painted this onto the sculpture using acrylic paint
 All of the sculptures were given names as they were worked on by the children. Here you can see Jake the Tiger being painting. During the painting process the children explored mark making, blending techniques and how to mix colours.
 In this picture you can see Mia the Panda being painted. The children chose to paint Bamboo and small pandas onto the sculpture. Can you see the painted pandas on the table cloth? I demonstrated how to use simple brush strokes to create a panda and then the children practiced on the cloth before they painted on the sculpture. In this picture you can see one child practicing and one child painting directly onto the panda. This built the children's confidence and showed them how effective it can be to use delicate marks and make full use of the brush.
 The finished African Elephant. I love the simple design on this sculpture.
The children decided to paint our Nellie like a sun set and then
 add images of African people and plants onto the sculpture.
 Here is the finished Tiger Jake, he is decorated with a range of Jungle plants and animals.
Even the parents joined in painting this piece!
 A beautiful sky with a stunning tree was painted onto the Eagle. Using a limited palette the children blended the colours fantastically to create a really sublime background. If you look closely in the tree you may even see a couple of eagles perched on the branches.
 The completed bamboo painted panda.
 I love the small delicate pandas painted on this sculpture and the contrast of colours. The letters on the head of the panda should be F C I S, for Fairhouse Community Infant School.
 The reception children painted this sparkly underwater scene on Bert the turtle.
We had great fun singing under the water songs while painting and sprinkling glitter
- creating a range of exotic fish and seaweed to decorate our turtle.
 For some reason I don't have a picture of our rain forest Orangutan, but if you look at this group picture you will see him in the centre of the group.
Prior to the art week, I carried out a training session with staff at the school demonstrating how to use mod roc and create relief designs. Alongside the animal sculpture project the teachers led an additional activity. Every child was presented with a wooden circle to complete their own uniquea design on with each class focusing on a different theme from under the sea, sunflowers, letters and alphabets, aliens and landmarks. Using art straws, rolled paper and masking tape the teachers helped the children created their designs and then covered them using modroc. These were then decorated using a range of mixed media.
The circles are going to be displayed inside and outside the school in small groupings.
Some of the finished circles are pictured below.
 How fabulous do these numbers look created by the receptions children?
These are going to be displayed in the garden and used as a learning aid.
 Multi coloured sunflowers and sparkly under the water sea scenes.
If you would like to find out more about having an Art Week project at your school, please contact me through my website

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