124…A workshop at Peacehaven Community School

by frances doherty on October 14, 2014

Earlier on this year I was contacted by a young chap doing his GSCE’s to ask me if I would go along to his school to talk about my work. Apparently they were studying me in their art class and he realised that I didn’t live far away. I was impressed by his initiative, and when his teacher found out that he had contacted me, the school arranged for me to go in and do a days workshop with about 50 students.

As I am used to working with primary school or degree level students this was going to be a challenge for me and I had to put my thinking cap on. Each student had to be able to produce a piece that fitted in with their sketchbook work and that could be perhaps be used in their exam, but they little or no experience with clay, so the project had to be achievable in the time. In the end I came up with the theme of ‘emergence’…this meant they could all work within the confines of a small pinch bowl, which is a good place to start the first time you encounter clay, but the theme could be fitted to their previous work.

I gave a quick demonstration at the beginning of each session and then they were off, and it was fascinating  to see all the different ideas coming to fruition. Here is a selection of their work:

an alien eye

an alien eye

a dragonfly

a dragonfly

an Hibiscus

an Hibiscus

a lady emerging

a lady emerging

a pretty pansy

a pretty pansy

a red flower

a red flower

a skull

a skull

As you can see there was a real selection of ideas, although eyes, skulls and roses were popular. The good thing about the first time that a student plays with clay is that they don’t really know the limitations and experiment more perhaps than someone who understands what can go wrong. This means that they come up with some interesting forms and ways of using the clay,

an iris

an iris

as in this student who is interested in the iris of the eye and here has represented the flecks and different colours that can appear in an interesting way.

So now the 50 little sculptures are going to be dried out,

some of the collection

some of the collection

and will hopefully all survive to be fired. I can’t wait to see the glazed results. I think a lot of the students found this a real challenge, but most of them stepped up to it, and at the end of the day, Billy the young chap who had originally contacted me,

a home made sketchbook

a home made sketchbook

presented me with a sketchbook that he had made for me. I was very touched.

So, back to France this week and on with the next collection of work. I continue with my new ‘Dreaming Spires’ forms, and last week took the latest one out of the kiln.

Pink Hollyhock

Pink Hollyhock

I usually make up my own colours and layer them onto sculptures. But the range of pink colours are almost impossible to find (it’s a colour that tends to burn out at low temps) so on this occasion I decided to try out a commercial colour….they can tend to be dissapointing too, but I really like this one and like the way it doesn’t go on as an opaque colour.

The garden is now being tidied up for the winter but I have left my Trombonchino squashes out until the last moment as they are suspended off the ground and we have been continuing to enjoy mild, sunny weather.

strange fruit

strange fruit

They will probably have to come in this week though, and I look forward to cooking them. They are my favourite squash.

Last week we had a series of gorgeous sunsets every evening, often after a rainy, grey day,

halo sunset

halo sunset

I don’t know the phenomenom that causes this halo effect….but it is spectacular!

{ 0 comments }

123…An excellent Art Fair

October 7, 2014

No blog last week as I was doing the Brighton Art Fair for four long days and needed the same amount of time to recover. It was however an outstanding fair with thousands of visitors and great sales. It takes a long time to prepare for a fair especially when the work takes as long […]

Read the full article →

122…Foxgloves and Sunflowers

September 18, 2014

I’m channel hopping this week as I bought all my sculptures back to Brighton last weekend for the Brighton Art Fair which is coming up next week, but I’ve had to pop back to Normandy to finish another sculpture for an exhibition coming up in November. It seems like a long time away, but by […]

Read the full article →