By Paula Briggs
During June 2013, I was fortunate to help with the planning and delivery of Bourn Primary Academy’s Art Week. Over 170 children took part (years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). The normal timetable was collapsed – each child being invited to attend “Art School” for the week. The week was organised by Art Coordinator Jo Daniels. In addition to projects planned by staff at the school, including the creation of an art trail, AccessArt helped deliver the following activities: sketchbook making, constructing tree house sculptures and creating a Klee-inspired communal collage.
AccessArt has worked for many year to support the introduction and development of sketchbook work in schools. Following an hours Inset with staff, each child in every class went on to make an elastic band sketchbook. Children were asked to bring in a variety of scrap papers so costs were kept to a minimum.
Teachers used drawing exercises to help develop their sketchbook work. The ownership that the children felt towards their sketchbooks was very apparent!
Making Tree House Sculptures
The whole school (very bravely) decided to make tree house sculptures. Following a short introductory assembly, and with a number of parent helpers and TAs present, children then went back to their classrooms to make sculptures! The focus was on how to manipulate and construct materials, balance elements, and to “design through making”. The children kept up the making for the whole day, and then in the late afternoon we took the tree houses onto the field to enjoy.
Klee-inspired Communal College
Finally on Thursday I visited the school to work with approximately 120 children on a shared-collage. Working on a shared, finished piece is always a challenge as one tries to balance three criteria:
1. There is an end-result
2. No child is excluded through time pressures
3. Each child has a meaningful (if short) experience!
Working in a corner of the field, we decided to make a collage based upon the natural environment, which gave pupils the opportunity to explore new drawing materials/methods. Taking Paul Klee as our inspiration (especially his paintings which contained “elements” and blocks of colour), each child was invited to make a single drawing on a small sheet of paper. First of all they used 2 or 3 oil pastels to create a block of colour which they could then blend, and then over this they used graphite sticks and erasers to make rich marks. I asked each child to focus on an element of nature, rather than a scene, such as a leaf, twig, seed head. We added the images to a polythene sheet, and as the collage grew I directed or challenged different groups to produce different types of drawings with varying foci to balance the finished collage.
Many thanks to the Head of Bourn Primary Academy Christine Page, the Art Coordinator Jo Daniels, and the staff and pupils for their enthusiasm and energy!