Wednesday, February 27, 2013

food tech

Y5 made sugar mice today - they've been looking at 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by Roald Dahl and have embarked on a short quest to produce their own sweets, which they hope, at a future date, to recreate and sell to their schoolmates. Mixing the icing sugar into a paste was tricky, the plastic spoons we used weren't really up to the task. Must put metal spoons at the top of my next shopping list - all the school ones seem to have disappeared.

Shaping wasn't too bad,

even though the end result looked a bit flat!

We used chocolate sticks for the tails (we couldn't find any liquorice laces in the local shop), white chocolate buttons for ears and raisins for eyes. Mmmmmm, tasty!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

recent stuff

Back to school after the half term. The FS1 display - 'People Who Help Us' - continues to grow steadily. Out of shot is a lighthouse and an air/sea rescue helicopter.

In y2 today we drew owls - the children have started to learn about nocturnal animals. We used both a rectangle and an 'egg' as starting points and added texture/patterns to our sketches. I gave them a simple step by step guide and they drew some wonderful birds.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

abstract journey

Last week I had the privilege of working with a real, bona-fide artist - Brian Sayers. A select group of sixth form students and staff were treated to 3 days of expert tuition centred around our interpretations of one of the largest collections of still life bits and bobs I have ever come across. Centred in the room it resembled the barricade from Les Mis. There were musical instruments, skulls, old frames, ribbons & scarves, dried corn stalks & husks ,chairs, cardboard boxes, artists mannequins, bottles, glasses, tea cups, maps etc. I think the prop department had been well and truly raided. Initially we were encouraged to draw anything from the artfully arranged pile. Then, through careful guidance, we were directed to cut, chop, and paste our drawings into altered assemblages and add paint, inks and pastels. This was way out of my comfort zone. I was at first very reluctant to cut anything but, having seen the gusto with which my fellow 'artists' attacked the task, I felt inspired to give it a go. They were busily and happily working to A1 size whilst mine eventually came out to A4! This is my final piece;

A lot of other stuff happened to get to this stage - I initially went for the tea cups and did a variety of studies from different viewpoints, this led on to studies of wine bottles and glasses as a direct contrast, which led me on to a representation of the sights and sounds of a smoky jazz cafĂ©. Which all led eventually to the piece as pictured. In my mind it was supposed to represent the journey we all take from birth to death (from one box to another) - but that it should be taken with as much fun and enjoyment as possible along the way!
I thoroughly enjoyed having the time, space and freedom to explore lots of different ideas - something that rarely happens during the school day. Brian proved a very knowledgeable and humorous practitioner and I'll certainly be taking some ideas and concepts back into the classroom. Time, methinks, to start amassing an eclectic collection of pieces ready for when I move into my new art room in a few weeks(?) time.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


In y6 on Friday we combined the recent work we've been doing on perspective (tonal & linear) into landscape sketches and small, painted studies.


Monday, February 11, 2013

as the clock ticked down

Jenkins was far enough clear of the chasing defenders (chosen not for their speed and quick-thinking but more for their girth and resultant difficulty to get past) to allow himself a moment of composure. 'Stumpy', the Bartholomew's keeper, was well positioned but, as Jenkins noticed , seemed to be slightly off balance. Jenkins steadied himself and let fly with a tremendous right foot shot. 'Stumpy' had it covered or so he thought but as he pushed off with his right foot to effect what he was sure was going to be a spectacular (but fairly routine and comfortable save) his studs got caught in the roughly mown turf. His flailing dive fell short of the balls trajectory and the shot flew past him into the top corner. A moment of silence was quickly followed by a deafening roar as half of the crowd realised that their team was 1-0 up. Jenkins was immediately swallowed up by a sea of red and white as the referee signalled not only the goal but also half time.
Jenkins and his team mates trotted off the pitch to the rapturous acclaim of their supporters whilst the Bartholomew's lot marched away to the changing room muttering darkly under their breath and looking menacingly over their shoulders as 'Stumpy' picked himself off the ground and began the long, lonely walk to join them.


Saturday, February 9, 2013


With y6 yesterday I took them, step by guided step, through the construction of linear perspectives, both 1-point and 2-point. Most of them rose to the very technical challenge and ended up drawing quite presentable images. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013


The littley's (fs1 aged 3/4) were in town planning mode today. We made buildings and began the 'construction' of our town display - incorporating the theme of  'People Who Help Us'! To that end we made a fire engine (just visible on the left) and drew some of the fire fighting crew. The children carefully followed the step by step instructions and came up with some fantastic illustrations.
In y3 we continued with some x-stitched bookmarks we began last week (ties in with their Victorian theme). We looked at pics of samplers and then designed our own simple patterns/motifs. The children are becoming quite skilful at sewing, having previously stitched and embroidered Indian Elephants.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

papier mache

FS2 read one of Oliver Jeffers' stories about the boy and his friend the penguin today - 'Up and Down'. We decided to try and re-create one of the illustrations - in semi-relief. We papier mached  a cannon (of the human cannonball variety) and a ring master. Boxes as supports pasted over with one layer of newspaper and a coloured layer of tissue.

Monday, February 4, 2013

arctic prints

Last week in Y4 we printed some arctic images - using polyprint (polystyrene tile that can be impressed using a pencil) but they didn't turn out as well as we expected. The paint/ink was a bit lumpy despite a good 'rolling' in the inking trays and didn't seem to sit on the tile surface properly.
This week, after they'd had a chance to dry, we thought long and hard how to keep the best bits (some great textures/surface patterns) whilst trying to enhance the original images. We settled on oil pastels and felt pens. Below is the work of one girl who, without any prompting, enhanced her 4 prints of a polar bear using different colours. It was too good an opportunity to miss to point out the similarities between her idea and the work of Andy Warhol. She was really pleased with the outcome.
It also provided a great opportunity to explain that what might at first be considered mistakes and failures (our initial prints) can often be adapted/altered into successful pieces. It really backed up my oft repeated mantra of  'you're allowed to make mistakes'.
ps. Over the weekend I sold the last copy of 'A is for Art' in my Etsy shop - but fear not, today I listed some more! Please feel free to browse both of my shops, Etsy & Folksy - just click on the links to the right.