Category Archives: Work with School

Matisse Inspired Feltmaking

One of Year 3's laid out Les Velours compositions

One of Year 3’s laid out Les Velours Compositions.

Peterbrook Primary School, Solihull invited me to work with them, using a C20th artist as the theme, during their 2015 Summer Arts Week. With Years 5, 3, 2 and 1 we choose Matisse’s cut out period as the inspiration to create collaborative group felt wall hangings.

Each year group worked to recreate one of the following Matisse work; The Snail, The Composition Les Velours, Les Figures and Polinesa The Sky. In each group individuals worked on different sections of their wall hanging, emulating Matisse’s cut out method of working, using pre-felt instead of paper. The elements of leaves, shapes, figures and birds were cut out of the pre-felted wool by the children, with the aid of templates, and then arranged on colour blocks of prefelt.

Once the groups agreed about the layout of their wall hanging, the fun began, spraying warm soapy water over their work, much to everyone’s surprise! All hands went on deck, rubbing their work to adhere the cut out felt to the background. Team work was then needed, as each class group divided into smaller teams to start rolling the wet prefelt, and begin the fulling process.

Throughout the sessions each group learnt about the artist Henri Matisse, his work, the processes he used and discussed the period in which he lived comparing it to today. Everyone also learnt about the materials they were using and how the process worked to create a fully felted finished piece.

Matisse Felt Wall Hangings

Year 1, 2 & 5 Matisse Inspired Wall Hangings drying in the sun.

I would like to express a heart felt thanks to all the students and teachers at Peterbrook Primary School, who made me feel so welcome and for working so hard to create their wonderful wall hangings. Thank you also to Adele Deane of Workshops for Schools for making this event happen and giving me the opportunity to work together.

After the Arts Week I was delighted to hear such positive feedback from the school about the event.  “I started work yesterday afternoon and can’t tell you the amount of positive feedback and praise I received about Emma and the felt workshops as soon as I got in! All year groups absolutely loved it and thought she was fantastic at organizing the children and explaining the process so clearly and all in an interesting manner.” Liz Thorne (Headteacher)

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British Values in Screenprint

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In late May I was invited to visit Moreton Community School in Wolverhampton by Amy Draper (Head of Textiles), to work with some of their gifted and talented textiles students. The students from Years 8, 9 & 10 were to spend the day learning how to screenprint using dyes and developing work as part of piece representing British Values. 

The subject matter was certainly a challenging one, what are British Values? I really had to think carefully and investigate what are thought to be British Values today. I spoke with friends, my adult students and researched the governments recent papers on the subject – it certainly sparked some interesting debates!

We agreed to focus on creating symbols that represent the following values  – freedom of expression, community, democracy, tolerance, rule of law, respect and equality. Following a discussion on what these values meant to the group, they selected symbols to interpret in their own designs. These were drawn and stencils cut out to attach to their screens.

Then the messy bit began – no matter how hard you try when new to printing with dyes, it seems to find its way into your gloves, across the table and even onto your face!  We used white cotton pre soaked with soda ash and red & blue dyes to represent the Union Jack colours to continue the British theme. Some students decided to work with one colour, others printed with both and some even swapped screens with their fellow students to create their printed designs.

Once the prints were dried, bunting and figures were cut from the printed fabric to assembled into a collage. The group machine embroidered words, representing British Values, and the details of the figures onto the wall hanging, using the work of Laura McCafferty as their inspiration.

Everyone worked extremely hard during the workshop and I was very impressed with the students ideas & perseverance whilst working on a difficult subject and tricky medium. The group are still working on completing the final stage of the wall hanging during their lunch hours and hope to have it completed very soon. Amy has promised to send us a picture of the completed work – so photo to follow!

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