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!