As part of our celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee, we entered a competition organised by Norfolk Gardens Trust to create ‘Posies fit for the Queen’.
We wanted to celebrate the rich diversity of plants that grow locally, so we worked with a local artist and the BFER to explore some of the flowers and plants that grow alongside the rivers in the Brecks. The BFER are an organisation who are working to conserve and celebrate the unique heritage of the Norfolk and Suffolk Brecks. One of the ways they do this is by using the Arts to connect the community to the unique habitats of the Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers landscape.
You can find out more here:
The BFER put us in contact with an Artist who came into school to work with all our pupils from Nursery through to Year 6. Our Artist, Jacquie, https://jaccampbell.com/ took inspiration from an artist called Margaret Mellis. Margaret was a Scottish artist who produced a series of delicate drawings on the backs of opened out envelopes using crayon and pastel.
In response, all of our pupils worked with Jacquie to create torn paper collages on opened out cardboard packaging.
Listen to a podcast made for Radio Drake that talks all about the BFER and our work with Jacquie:
The Jubilee Competition
We selected 4 posies from every class to be entered into the competition. Children from all over Norfolk entered pictures are we were so proud to receive the news that one of our Year 5 pupils, Zuzanna, was awarded Highly Commended. She was invited to Norfolk County Hall to be presented with her prize of a goody bag. We can’t wait to see Zuzanna’s work on display at the Royal Norfolk Show.
We were then excited to find out that our school had be awarded a special prize as ‘Best School’. This was in recognition of the hard work of all our pupils, and of how every single member of our school community embraced the project. Our prize of £200 will be going towards an art project in our Summer Arts festival.
Here is a write up of the prize giving in the EDP:
The impact of the project
Here are some of things our pupils, staff and parents have had to say about the project
What our children had to say about the project:
When asked if you would like to work with an artist again, 100% of pupils said yes!
What was good about working with an artist?
* It was really fun.
* It was good having an actual artist. She helped us make our pictures to be just like we wanted them to be.
* We used paper in a way I haven’t used it before.
* It was a new person, she was really nice and it was fun.
* It was more free than other lessons. We could make our pictures in our own way and be expressive of ourselves.
* She knows all the good stuff to use and the right techniques you can use to make it really good.
* It was more about how you want it to be rather than people telling you how to do it.
* They have lots of experience so they can help us make our pictures really good.
* We learned new skills, like how to carefully tear paper.
* We got to use old cardboard and paper instead of new stuff. That's really good for the environment.
* I got to do lots of ripping!
* She showed me new ways of making flowers.
* It was good because she is a real artist and I love art. I want to be an artist like her.
* She was very encouraging.
* She made feel like an artist too.
* I have never met a real artist before. She was really nice.
* It made me feel like I was painting the flower even though I was using paper.
* I love my flowers.
* She shares her experience and helps us.
* We got to express our self in a way that wasn't just drawing or painting.
* She is really good at art.
* She showed us different ways to make art that we haven’t done before.
* Artists help you with stuff you're struggling with and they tell you better strategies.
* She can teach us her art skills so then we can become artists.
What skills did you learn?
* How to rip paper carefully.
* How to make a flower without using scissors.
* I got better at sketching.
* Ripping paper in strips to make stems and how to rip slowly bit by bit to make a shape like a petal.
* When you make a collage you can add the shapes and details on top with a pen. That looks really good when you do that and then your shape doesn’t need to be perfect.
* I learned how to use different shapes to make a picture on.
* How to make a collage with old bits of paper.
* How to make a picture on a cereal box and make it look really good.
* To use different materials and how to make them into what you want.
* Doing the ripping in the right shape is hard, but it can be undone so its ok.
* Where to put things on the cardboard so that they fill it up.
* How to add details over a collage. I hadn’t done that before.
* How to stick down paper to make a picture.
What else did you learn?
* You can make art with anything.
* Art doesn’t need to be perfect to be good.
* That artists use old paper and cardboard too.
* That I can try again.
* That it doesn’t need to look exactly like a flower to be good art.
* There are lots of different of flowers in the rivers.
* I learned about a flower I had never heard of before.
* Flowers grow in rivers too.
* We drew some of the minibeasts that live by the river too. I drew dragonflies.
* I saw a flower that grows in the river. Its really little but really pretty.
* I found out about the Sundew flower. I didn’t know about them before. They are really cool. They look spiky and sticky and they catch flies.
* Some plants catch insects for their food.
What our staff had to say about the project:
100 % of our staff reported that their class enjoyed their sessions with the artist.
100 % of our staff reported that their class benefitted from their sessions with the artist.
What skills did your pupils learn from the session?
* They learnt to look carefully at all the parts of a plant, to name some of the parts of a plant and flower (which links to our science objectives) and also to enjoy art. Sometimes, when my class are sketching, they get frustrated that 'it doesn't look like the real thing,' but the collage nature of the task meant that every child was engaged and not worrying that it was not an exact representation of the flower, rather their expression of the plant.
* What a real artist does, different techniques and how to use different mediums to create an image.
* Children learnt to use a range of resources which we wouldn't usually use i.e. working on cardboard. The children learnt to use their imagination from a basic pictures and could use the techniques shown easily and effectively.
* They learnt the different ways of portraying a flower, looking at the minor details and reusing resources to create art
* How to make a picture using different materials and that all pictures are different
* The way in which different materials can be used to make a piece of art.
* They learnt to be resilient with their art work and apply new skills. They enjoyed working with paper as a media and really focused on observational skills. They were able to recall knowledge on the different features of plants.
* They learnt how to use different techniques. They learnt what difference it could make when adding details using the fineliner pen and also how that being free with their creativity could add even more character to their art work.
* That it's ok to not use scissors. The end result does not have to be perfect.
* They learnt observational skills, they learnt how artwork can be built up in stages. They learnt a new form of art.
What else did your pupils gain from the experience?
* An opportunity to explore a plant that grows in their local area through art. I am hoping they’ll be on the look out for all sorts of river plants now.
* All our pupils learnt about flowers that are growing locally. We can share our artwork with each other and build up that bank of plants we know.
* The children learned about a new habitat. We have previously looked at flowers and trees that grow around them, but we haven’t looked at wetland plants before. This was a great way to introduce them to this habitat.
* It was good for children to learn about a new flower that they probably haven’t come across before.
* The whole school working on the same project has been fantastic. It has given us an opportunity to celebrate our local river habitat as well as all explore an art process together.
* I love seeing their faces as they look at the display of finished work. The children stand in front of it, carefully looking at all the details. The pictures are all so different, even though they are all made using the same prompt and same techniques.
* Confidence in their artistic abilities and the thought that "I could be an artist when I grow up."
* They were free to take their time and really immerse themselves in their creations.
* To believe that anybody can create a lovely piece of art.
* More confidence and creativity
* It was a lovely experience for them to work with an artist who had a deep understanding of the work that could be produced.
* They learnt how to adapt a piece of art in order to make it their own.
* They had some 1:1 time with the artist who could offer bespoke advice to them.
* They could ask questions and get first hand demonstrations.
* They benefitted from the knowledge the artist imparted.
* They were able to create and explore with different textures, shapes and resources realising that each creation was different even though they had the same picture to create
* That they can use their own ideas to add to their work to make it their own.
* They realised they all have the potential to be artistic, even if it meant trying a few times
* New skills, excited about the activity, every child engaged and kept focus within at least one aspect taught, wanted to complete the task.
* The children were more engaged to produce higher quality work.
What did you learn from working alongside an artist?
* How to teach collage and how to give specific artistic feedback to children (from observing the artist teach and give feedback to children).
* You don't need lots of materials to make great art.
* In particular I learned how picking out the details on an image can change the effect as opposed to drawing around it.
* Messy tables are a good thing to allow children have a wider variety of choice during Art lessons. This is something we need more of.
* I learnt that my children are much more capable when given a bit more freedom and time with their art.
* To think outside the box when it comes to art!
* No limits in what resources you use, eg recycling boxes to produce high quality art.
* I learned about a new plant I hadn’t heard of before.
* From looking at the huge range of artwork across the school, I have learned that one prompt can have an infinite number of responses.
* Tips and tricks when working on cardboard/making collages and the use of fine liners to enhance work.
What else did you gain from the session?
* Gaining a different perspective and method in teaching the skills of art.
* To see how you can experiment with art.
* How therapeutic the lesson was even though I am very self critical.
* It was nice to see the children engaged in the activity which made it enjoyable for me.
* Able to see how different artists can create their own style art.
* More confidence in myself when it comes to art.
* Wonderful to be inspired by nature and the passion the artist had.
* I’m looking forward to going for a walk along the river to see if I can spot all the different flowers the children have been looking at.
* The session has given me more confidence in going forward and getting the children to do their botanical art work.
* It was so lovely to see children enjoying this activity and producing such lovely art work
* My own confidence in teaching art is developing. Watching the artist teach increased my own confidence. I realised I need to slow down- lots of my art teaching is fast paced and feels pressured to get the task complete in the allotted time, whereas, sometimes, I need to slow down and give children more time (or time over a set of art lessons) to develop their own style and express themselves. It taught me that not every piece of art should look the same- it is good if some pieces look different as the children are expressing their creativity.
* I now know about 7 different water plants from our local area that I didn’t know before. I didn’t know that we had carnivorous plants in the Brecks.
How will this session impact your creative practice and/or your work in school?
* Be more free with the children and their designs.
* Thinking more clearly when it comes to art.
* To encourage the children more, to be involved and to continue to encourage them to explore a range of media.
* I’m inspired to try more collage pictures myself.
* I shall continue to encourage the children and let them see I can make mistakes too.
* The importance of teaching different skills and techniques for children to build upon.
* I’m going to use recycled materials much more – we need to use less ‘perfect’ art materials, and work with what we have around us.
* I will not overcomplicate my art lessons in future and give them a much shorter modelling time before letting them have a go.
* Remind children that it does not have to be perfect the first time!
* Give more choice to the children to build form something basic i.e. a picture and allow them to be creative around this.
* I will give the children more time to work on projects like this as a whole class because it worked really well at this point in the year for Reception.
* I am confident to teach collage now. It also helped me to see how science can be so easily linked with art. Next year, I will be looking for how I can link more of my science lessons to art.
* I'm inspired to take my camera out to the river and look for different water flowers to photograph.
What our parents had to say about the project:
100 % of our parents reported that their child enjoyed their sessions with the artist.
100 % of our parents valued the opportunity for their child to work with a professional artist.
“My daughter was very excited about the whole thing. She told me they did water lillies. And she liked to put details on it. She had fun.”
“My son took away an interest in the subject of the Queen and different Norfolk flowers. He also came home and started to make his own ‘art work’ with posy and other flowers he knew.”
“My daughter will be more encourage to do arts, learn and try something new, be more creative.”
“This was such a great project. My son came home and told me all about it. He keeps wanting to make pictures from our cereal boxes now.”
“Thank you for organising this experience. My daughter was so excited. She told me all about tearing up paper to make a flower then adding little details.”
“After this project, my daughter will be more encourage to do arts, learn and try something new, be more creative.”
“They learned that it doesn’t need to be perfect!”
“As soon as my son came home he wanted to get paper out to make more flowers. He told me about a flower from the river that I had never heard of.”
“My children both want to go to the river to see if they can spot the flowers they made pictures of.”
“He wants to find some of the flowers by the river. He is going to research them and see if we can find them. Thank you for organising this.”