C.I.C. back to school

A new school year has begun and I’ve started to work with two classes  –  first class in Our Lady of Lourdes in Goldenbridge and  fourth class in Our Lady of the Wayside in Bluebell. I will spend two hours over the next ten weeks with each class. During the first few sessions we will explore materials. This gives me time to get to know the children and teachers and what their interests are. The first session started with a lot of energy and excitement.

 I brought in a bucket of leaves as a starting point for each class. I thought we might spend the next few weeks looking at trees as they will be a record of time as they change through Autumn. Also my plan is for us all to visit the ‘Sculpture in Context’ exhibition in the Botanic Garden. We will see trees from all over the world.



Our Lady of Lourdes N.S. Goldenbridge, First Class 

Teacher Ms. Heavey. 17 pupils

1    We drew trees from our imaginations and then went into the school gardens to look at  different types of trees. We made a drawing of our favourite tree in the garden. We examined the leaves and made drawings of them. The children have asked to work with paint and clay over the next few weeks.


2  We explored colour with paint. The children had the three primary colours (I give two reds a brilliant red and a crimson, two yellows, a brilliant and a lemon) and were encouraged to mix their colours on the paper. There was great discussion and excitement about the magic of colour.

Then we took rubbings of our leaves with wax crayon and used washes of colour over them.



3 I often use (‘Introduction to Clay- form and building’, see Materials) to introduce children to clay. Its starts with a tactile experience and explores techniques useful in clay, rolling, pulling poking,pinching etc. Finally they make 3d shapes and build a tall structure with the clay forms and matchsticks.


4 The plan to visit the Botanic Gardens had to be cancelled due to weather. We continued working with clay rolling out slabs and adding texture to them. These slabs were used to build haunted castles in groups.

Haunted Castles 1st class Goldenbridge

5 We visited the Botanic Gardens even though the weather was as bad as the week before but it was the final chance to look at ‘Sculpture in Context’ as it was it’s final week. Unfortunately the rain was so bad we were confined to the hot houses. We missed the most exciting art work. The children were fascinated by the size of the leaves, their texture and pattern.

6 The art work at the Botanic Gardens didn’t excite the children so I was a bit stuck, I expected something to come out of our visit, I didn’t feel very inspired either so I thought we should return to the leaves and see what happens. The children made leaves out of wire. One child, Helen made a chair when she was finished her leaf and asked could we do chairs next week. We discussed this and the other children were interested.


7 We started with an interesting discussion on chairs – did you ever think how many parts of a chair are also body parts! The back, legs, arms. We drew chairs,we looked at photographs of different chair designs and we made small chairs out of wire.


8 The children worked in groups of 2 and 3 and built life sized chairs using cardboard.


9 Colour work.  

  Using coloured paper shapes and cutting their own shapes the children collaged these on to the chairs. I asked the children to choose two primary colours and white for each part of the chair – legs, back and seat. This gave the opportunity to explore paint and colour further. The children with Ms. Heavey finished off the chairs during the week, overpainting with gold and glitter.




  10 The parents came in to see the children’s work over the past 9 weeks and to do a clay workshop with the children. Everyone made themselves in clay and then the children put their figures with their parent’s figures showing what they like to do best together.



Under the Sea

Our Lady of the Wayside N.S. Bluebell, 4th class 

Teacher Ms. Browne     14 pupils

1    We examined and drew the leaves. We looked at all the edges of each type of leaf, wavy edges and serrated edges, and drew them. We used wire to make the lines we drew. Some children used the wire to make wire drawings of the leaves.



2       Thomas from 4th class Bluebell writes – ‘The first day we picked 3 leaves each. There are wire and five different pliers. We drawed leaves on one piece of paper. The teacher who teaches us her name is Liz. We had lots of fun on the first day. The second day we built leaves out of wire. We moved the wire around to make shapes. We hung the leaves on a branch. There was fat ones, tin ones, skinny ones and big ones and small ones.’


3 Clay workshop, ‘Introduction to Clay’ see under Materials.


4      A visit to the Botanic Gardens,squirrels everywhere, it was so exciting. The children learnt to stand still and the squirrels came right up to them. They took lots of photos. Eventually we began to notice the   sculptures. They were hidden everywhere. We were like detectives working out what each piece was about, what it was made from and how it was made. The Sculptor Susan Cuffe made her fish out of wire like our leaves.


Tree Hugging                                             Dancing Sea Bass-   Susan Cuff

5. Back at school we discussed the sculptures we saw in the Botanic Garden. The children were very interested in the materials the artists used and the techniques and tools to make the work. We have decided to try some materials the children have never used and make our own sculptures. Everyone was interested in Dancing Sea Bass so we have taken a theme of fish and we are going to use fabric as our material.

We tore up an old sheet and folded in different ways and dipped it in food dye. This will be our material to make the fish from. We looked up lots of books on fish and made drawings from these.


6 The children cut out their drawings of fish and pinned these to the fabric doubled over to make a pattern for their soft sculptures. They cut the fabric from these and sewed them using a simple running stitch.


7 More needle threading and sewing.

8 They have begun to take on fish forms. The children turned the fabric inside out, stuffed them with filling sewed on fabric for fins and buttons for eyes, and attached pipe cleaners for crabs legs. 


9 Planning a display for the fish. During the week the teacher and children created a display of underwater in the foyer for all to view.

10 The parents visited to see the exhibition the children put on and a slide show of the process of the past 9 weeks. We had a workshop with parents and children making clay fish tiles. The children will  paint them when the clay dries. 





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