Arbourthorne Community Primary School

Arbourthorne Community Primary School

'... a place of joy, inclusivity and learning' OfSTED 2022

Artist's Blog

Summer Term 2024

Exploring materials and sculpture with staff, using Access Art's prompt cards, and a diverse range of materials, as inspiration.

Spring Term 2024

This term we have been using the amazing resources from Access Art to drive our art curriculum. Written by practising artists and arts educators, their primary curriculum offers tons of ideas, inspiration and cpd for teachers.I can highly recommend. This term our main focus has been painting. Year 2 have been using acrylic paints, developing expressive painting techniques such as impasto, sgraffito and scumbling. These beautiful mixed media paintings have been inspired by still life objects, layering painted paper collage with oil pastels and colourful paint. Utterly joyous!

Critique Boutique

This week we looked at some artworks by American painter Marsden Hartley. We copied his compositional device of looking through a window to an exterior scene or landscape, like a painting  inside a painting. In the foreground we placed still life objects, the same as Hartley. We used acrylic paint which helped us create vibrant colours and textural brushwork.

March 2024

Pockets and Pop-outs!

Year 5 have had a great time extending their sketchbooks using Access Art's Making Spaces and Places resource. Pockets , concertina books, folding, sticking and layering to create surprises and secret places to contain their words, thoughts and collected imagery.

 

March 2024

Beautiful mixed media paintings by Year 1. Layering up media: handwriting pens and oil pastel on watercolour. Following marks intuitively to create their own painting journeys. 

January 2024

Great to start the new year with a full-on painting pdm. Thanks to all the staff who took part so enthusiastically. This term we are using the Access Art primary curriculum for a whole school focus on art through painting. In the training we explored expressive painting through mark making and working with colour.

December 2023

Christmas Cards

A big well done to Essay and Nevaeh in Year 5 who have helped me create these beautiful Christmas Cards for Miss Langley to send to all her friends. This years theme; robins and angels. In addition, Essay designed a special 'Sheffield Christmas' themed card to enter into a competition designing a card for our local MP, Louise Haigh. Good Luck Essay - I hope you win!

November 2023

Critique Boutique

Conversation and drawings made by some Y5  and Y6 children in response to an image of Cornelia Parker's installation 'Cold Dark Matter', made in 1991.

This thing scares me

Does it say 'hell'?

I can see a rope, and a toddler's bike wheel

I think a computer made it - like AI

I think it's a structure, in a museum, or maybe someone's basement

It's like walking past rubbish; wood ,plastic, stuff you see in the ocean

I think it's about pollution

It's levitating

The artist used invisible strings, maybe someone's hair, that's how it levitates

It looks like cross hatching, random shapes, but there are colours on the inside

I think there's a torch we can't see

The shadows are part of the artwork, I think the artist predicted them

The lines are so familiar, like knives

Maybe it represents death?

Objects are floating, like a dream

Maybe fireflies of fairies are inside?

It warns people about the future.

I would call it 'Imperfect Dream', or 'Plastic Pollution'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2022

Autumn Circles

I love it when lots of different themes and interests come together. The children in FS have been exploring circles in maths. This led to them talking about the artwork of artist, Fiona Rae. Rae makes large, colourful paintings, which feature a lot of concentric circles (circles inside circles - getting smaller and smaller , or bigger and bigger) and other abstract forms. In Family Art we used Fiona Rae's artwork and the theme of circles to inspire our own paintings. In addition, we focussed our colour mixing on the Autumn leaves that are all around us at the moment, carefully mixing shades of green, red,orange and brown.

Wonderful ink experiments at our 'Drawing Skills' PDM  last week....... great work!

October 2023

Family Art 

Welcome to all our new FS2 families who have signed up for Family Art. We had our first session of the year today, and it was lovely to welcome some new faces to Artspace. We have been looking closely at outlines of birds, using string and tape to create a line drawing, and smudgy, colourful soft pastels to add more expression and interest . We practiced simple line drawings first, before we developed the larger pieces. Well done everyone and welcome to Family Art!

Here are some of my favourite pages from this year's 'Big Books', which document the creative journey in pictures, capturing  the language of making, questioning, testing and discovering.

June 2023

Fabric, Light and Shade.

Y6 had their last sketchbook session with me today. Some of these children I first worked with  in Foundation, when their grown-ups brought them along to Family Art. How time flies. Today we made charcoal drawings of scrunched up and folded material, focussing on light and shade. The charcoal represented the darkest areas. the white chalk the lightest, and the coloured sugar paper, the mid tone. Following this we used viewfinders to focus on one small area of our drawing, and re-made it using black and white paint. These sketchbooks have travelled with them through the school, I hope they will enjoy looking back on them , and maybe choose art for GCSE?! It's been such a pleasure knowing these children, I shall miss them.

 

May 2023

Ears and Abstract Sculptures

Year 4 have been reinventing the human ear in the style of ceramic artist , Sarah Villeneau, whose abstract clay sculptures remind us of fleshy things and body parts. Villeneau enjoys making tubes, exploring textures and incorporating found objects, like nails and screws, into her artworks. We began our exploration by copying scientific diagrams of ears, then played around with scale (making small things big, and big things small) with the different elements, recombining them in unusual ways. This exercise helped us think in more abstract terms about the various shapes and forms. When it came to making our sculptures, we tried to keep an open mind about the outcome, allowing mistakes to lead us in new and unpredictable directions. 

April 2023

Springtime

Celebrating Spring, our families made these absolutely beautiful daffodil artworks. The trumpets were made using the flange technique from rolled up and feathered paper. We looked closely at the daffodils in the vase, describing the shapes of the leaves, the smell, the softness of the petals. We also talked about how daffodils come in many shades of yellow, white and orange - then set to work, mixing our paints to complete these joyful, sticky uppy, painty sculptures. 

March 2023

Tudor Portraits

Time to get the bling out and do some cutting and sticking Tudor Style. Every year the children in Year 2 make portraits using collage and it never disappoints. In addition to making their portraits, Year 2  used their sketchbooks to write annotations about the different materials  used  to represent Tudor fashion features. We particularly enjoyed using lace and doilies to  make frilly neck ruffles or 'neck protectors - to stop your head getting chopped off ': a very handy accessory in Tudor times.

Family Art and Friends!

March 2023

Family Art has expanded ; each week the children choose one friend to join them for the session, and work with them and their grown up. This creates more opportunities for our Foundation children to experience our Family Art Community. In class, they have been have been reading Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty, which inspired us to  think  about flying machines and how we might build them. The children  used split pins to make propellers and attach them to their paper planes, shifting the weight and balance .We  tested each one to see which ones worked the best .Many crashed  - but it was fun! We also used the slot technique to build flying machines, adding fabric 'to help them float'.

 

 

January 2023

In the Frame

As history is our main driver this term  the children in FS2 have been talking about timelines. Developing our maker skills and the stacking technique , we created these fantastic picture frames in Family Art. Each frame contains a collage representing the time line of the child's life; the children really enjoyed talking about their  baby photographs. We made the frames over a 2 week period, making the cardboard structures in week one then painting them with bright colours in the second week. The timeline frames are now proudly displayed at home.

Merry Christmas from Family Art!

 

November 2022

The Gruffallo 

Our Family Artists have been using the children's classic 'The Gruffalo', by Juila Donaldson as inspiration for their artwork. Check out the sharp hairy claws, using the slot technique and also the spikey hedgehogs, modelled from clay.

November 2022

Autumn

The children have been talking about seasonal changes and trees. In Family Art we learnt to mix Autumn colours, including 'orange like lava'  which we used to print leaves on our collages.  We used materials with rough textures to make the bark of the tree, working both in our Chatterbooks and on a larger scale.  

October 2022

African Rag Dolls

As part of International Week FS2 have been discovering Africa. In Family Art, we used this as an opportunity to look closely at the colours and shapes found in African textiles, using them to make an outfit for our paper rag dolls. Each week in Family Art we focus on a different technique; the dolls, made from bits of wood and newspaper, required lots of binding and twisting with different tapes, papers and pipe cleaners. The children had to work closely with their grown up as their were a lot of different stages in the construction. Everyone persevered and showed determination! The children were extremely proud  of their dolls when they took them back to the classroom after the session; all their friends wanted a rag doll too!

September 2022

Back to School

My favourite time of year. New boots, new pencil case and if you're lucky, a packet of new felt tips from WHSmiths. They are my primary school memories anyway! But here at Arbourthorne the weather is exquisite and our beautiful garden is beckoning, with sunflowers, sweet peas and tumbling nasturtiums. A perfect day to take our families out to collect natural forms and foliage to create artworks. The children gathered their natural materials, with help from their mums, and constructed some beautiful wall hangings back in Artspace. It's always interesting to see how children and adults work together: some work side by side in a team like fashion, other children declare their independence, "I can do this myself", which then gives the grown up an opportunity to do their own thing and enjoy some making for themselves. All approaches are welcome,valued and encouraged in Family Art. It is a space for our families to be who they are, in a nuturing, creative environment.

July 2022

Year 5 Sketching Trip

I've had a lovely day taking some Y5 pupils into Sheffield City Centre with their sketchbooks. First we visited the SSELP exhibition at The Circle Conference Centre; this showcased some of the best work from all SSELP schools, including Arbourthorne. The children drew a selection of their favourite works, concentrating on making a 'page' of various drawings, morphing together or being connected in some way.  We then moved onto the City Hall. where the 'Women of Steel' statue is and also the Cenotaph, followed by lunch in the Peace Gardens and some final sketching in the Ruskin Collection at the Millennium Galleries. Sketchbooks are a great repository for thoughts, images, inspiration and ideas, and it always fascinates me how the children's individual interests are expressed in this format. I am looking forward to working with the whole school developing sketchbook skills to support and enhance the curriculum in September.

June 2022

FS1 invited me to share my obsession with Italian Renaissance floor tiles with them. I photocopied and laminated drawings from my sketchbook to recreate a tiled floor. The children used cardboard to print onto the floor, obscuring some of the imagery beneath but creating new and exciting surfaces. They worked individually on each tile, rather than seeing the floor as one whole surface. They enjoyed mixing the blue and white paint with their hands. The following week we cut up some tile pictures and collaged them onto the painted cardboard, they look great. I'm wondering were this will go next? I will ask the children.

June 2022

I'm happy to announce that I've just returned from Italy, after receiving a travel award from the St. Hugh's Foundation for the Arts. The Claire Frances Peasnall Memorial Award has funded ten days in Parma, Northern Italy, where I spent time drawing and researching a collection of Rennaissance floor tiles, which I am currently obsessed with. The tiles used to be in a convent,   though as you can see , the images painted on the tiles are non religious and very unusual for a monastic setting. What were the nuns thinking, 500 years ago, when they were walking on and looking at these tiles? We will never know, but asking myself questions like this fuels my enquiry and drives me to make paintings, re-presenting objects from the past in new ways.

Check out the Queen's Knickers, or 'pop-up pants'  hanging on the washing line ! All made by Year 3 pupils to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Have you read the book?

May 2022

New Tools!

This week in Foundation Stage we have been getting to grips with our new Maker tools. The children have specials saws for cutting cardboard, blue plastic screw and screwdrivers to help them construct cardboard models. This is all part of our big drive this year to teach methods of attachment across foundation stage, to enable children to make their own objects to enhance and encourage play.

April 2022

Worms Don't Climb Trees

FS2 are learning all about worms. Qasim has created this extra long worm by twisting  pipe cleaners together and adding bits of tape. When the worm model was complete I hung it over a branch positioned up high  in the classroom, to keep it safe.'No!', Qasim objected, 'WORMS DO NOT CLIMB TREES!' 

 

March 2022

Spring is here!

Spent a glorious morning in the Spring sunshine constructing these cardboard flowers in FS1. Just look at the shadows!  They are just waiting to be painted, which I'm sure the children will enjoy doing very much this afternoon.

January 2022

Chinese New Year

In FS1 we are learning different methods of combining materials. Here, the children are learning to wrap one material around another. This happened in partnership with myself. passing one end of the ribbon through the hole to me, then over the top of the ring, back to the child. This one on one support made the process seem a bit like a game, and also allowed for a lot of direct interaction, language and eye contact. The rings were assembled to create a beautiful Chinese dragon, but wrapping also happened in other contexts too; around furniture, a plastic tiger and even my arm!

December 2021

'The Robin Lays New Eggs.'

Super proud and grateful of George in FS2 for helping me with this years Christmas Card. What a fantastic job he has made of this nesting Robin ( 15 eggs in total). George was building on his soft pastel skills used previously in Foundation,  building up colour in layers, smudging, blending and paying attention to outline. Well Done George!

November 2021

The Joy of Cardboard

Following the delivery of some IKEA furniture there are some very nice cardboard boxes knocking around the place. After using some to construct models in FS2, I gathered up the discarded pieces and stuck them onto boards to be used for painting; building outwards from a surface. The children became interested in making their  own painting boards including lollipop sticks and bottle lids. Because there are many different 'sections' to the painting, this way of working encouraged collaboration; together, but apart. 

Rhythm Jigsaw.....short version!

October 2021

Celebration!

Our visiting sound artist, drummer and percussionist Keith Angel returned to Arbourthorne to celebrate the Rhythm Jigsaw project with our Year 5 children. He brought with him the final edit of the children's performances; a blend of drumming, poetry, original songs, spoken word and atmospheric soundscapes. We also enjoyed showing Keith all our artwork made recently, he was super impressed. As I write this I realise we still haven't a title for our masterpiece, but whatever it will be, check this space for an upload soon! 

October 2021

Rhythm Jigsaw Revisited

Last summer, myself and the Year 4 children had a brilliant time taking part in the Rhythm Jigsaw music project with percussionist Keith Angel. Now in Year 5, our amazing musicians are preparing for a celebration event when the final mix/recording will be shared throughout the school. We are revisiting our memories of the project by  making a series of observational drawings, using and building on our sketchbook skills. It was good to share memories together, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with these drawings next. I asked  the children to resist the temptation to play the instruments during the art session, but to think instead how they could make the pages of their sketchbook 'sing' . I felt like a real spoil-sport, but I think they rose to the challenge!

September 2021

A new school year begins...

In FS2 we are talking, tasting and painting giant mangoes.  Learning to mix the colour green using yellow and blue paint and sprinkling speckles of brown powder paint into the mix. A whole range of individual , expressive, painterly marks and  painting languages represent each child's interpretation. We are responding to the text Anna Hibiscus' Song by Atinuke; a story about a little girl in Africa who climbs mango trees. It is a story about happiness. Painting makes us happy.

 

July 2021

Fruity Fruit

I've been spending Fridays with FS2 for the past few weeks developing drawing (through shape recognition) and cutting skills. The children's cutting skills are coming on wonderfully, as you can see in these joyous fruit bowls made in connection to conversations around the storybook, ''What the Ladybird Heard.''

June 2021

Rhythm Jigsaw

Having a great time at the moment with our fantastic Year 4 children and Keith Angel, Latin percussionist and sound engineer. I especially love the 'found' music we are creating from our Sheffield silverware ( kindly donated to the school)  and this massive piece of silver foil - it makes such a great sound when you dance inside it!

May 20th 2021

The Hive

Children in The Hive have been researching their animals in greater depth, focusing on physical attributes, features and textures. We have been using clay and junk materials to make various models of our animals, and a flower bed for the hedgehogs to live in. The children enjoyed the softness and malleability of the clay; rolling , squeezing, pinching and building. The 'junk' materials offered opportunities or transformation, to become something new, with few changes to their physical appearance. it always fascinates me the way children see past the graphics on packaging, how the 'weetabix' logo can visually co-exist, then become invisible as the new identity of the box emerges...

May 2021

Making brown...

Another super morning at The Hive mixing primary colours to make various shades of brown. Ms Langley and I always have a little joke about this, because when she first came to Arbourthorne (nearly fourteen years ago) she asked some Year 6 children to mix her some brown paint to repair a Y1 pupil's model and nobody knew how to do it.  She was so shocked by this she decided she needed to employ an Artist in Residence to help spread the magic of colour mixing. Lucky for me...

In addition to making many shades of brown, we used different painting techniques to create a range of marks, to show the different textures of animal skin, fur and feathers.

April 2021

Art Project in the Hive

Today I did my first delivery in the real physical world for over a year. Such a privilege to work with these children in the Hive, using charcoal and getting a bit grubby. Today was the first day of a six week project investigating, through visual art the children's interest in animals, particularly pigeons, foxes, puppies and unicorns.

11th March 2021

We're Back!

Great to have the children back in school and to see everyone again. Mrs. Pediani and I had a fun day today unpacking science kits which have been kindly gifted to our school by a Turkish company called Twin Science. They are a new company, born out of a charity and seeking to create a greater interest in the appliance of Science. Our children will be trialling the packs over the coming weeks. Also, as part of our Maker Futures project, we finally got our 3D printer out of the box! We plugged it in, read the instructions and got it to print a (slightly underwhelming) pen! The children passing through at the time were fascinated.... fun maker times ahead!

February 2021

Tudor Times

Last year, I loved making Tudor portraits with Year 2. This year I got to make some instructional videos, wear a big lacy collar and created Tudor Bling Packs which were delivered to some of our families. The children used mixed media collage techniques to create their artworks. Look how fancy they are!

November 2020

Reflections from Lockdown Number 2

 

Here we are in Lockdown Number 2, so I thought I would take this time to add a few reflections on what its been like to be Artist in Residence at Arbourthorne since the pandemic, and what things have changed for me in my role. Of course, the first lockdown was very different as schools closed across the country, and we all had to work out ways to work, learn, share and stay at home.

Through working with the team from An Even Better Arbourthorne it was possible to continue Family Art during this period. The intention was the same; to provide opportunities for quality talk and learning for all the family through engaging with visual art activities, but the method of delivery had to change radically, and with this came some surprising results.

 

Our families were provided with a very basic art pack; glue, paper, primary coloured paint etc to get them started, but each week they would need to plan, source and prepare everything they would need for the session. Normally, all these needs are met by myself, the school and our wonderfully stocked Artspace, so it was brilliant to see just how resourceful our families could be in finding materials or suitable alternatives, much of which came from the recycling bin! Initially for myself, this was a challenge; we have so many problem solving, ‘intelligent’ materials to hand in Artspace I had to ‘dig deep’ to see just how far I could go with a toilet roll tube or a cereal packet, and could not make any assumptions about what other resources our families may or may not have at their disposal. As is so often the case with creative endeavours ,when there are limitations, either imposed through circumstance or intention, new and unexpected outcomes can emerge.

 

Each week I would make an instructional video which An Even Better Arbourthorne would release on their Facebook page. Following this, myself and our families would meet via a live WhatsApp group, and create together in real time. Technology scares me a bit so initially I was quite apprehensive, but I couldn’t believe how well Family Art adapted to this new format, and in some ways felt richer for it. In addition to the levels of resourcefulness I’ve already mentioned, I saw a wider age range of siblings (both older and younger) taking part, as well as cousins and friends. Sometimes, if a child was ill , (or not in the mood!) the grown up would take part in the session and continue/ complete the activity with their child at a more suitable time. Without a doubt, the option of taking part in your own time, allowed Family Art to reach a much wider audience.

 

For me as a practitioner, it is really important to use creativity as a vehicle to broaden vocabulary and develop speaking and listening skills. After the initial input of the instructional video, I found the more concrete nature of committing language to the written word, rather than relying on oracy alone added a different dimension, or weight to the language, and more specifically, my own voice. True to our core values, I had a voice, and I found it very empowering to be able to convey myself clearly, concisely and without the interruptions of day to day school life. I wonder if it was more impactful for our families, whether this ‘empowerment’ I experienced through repetition and clarity transcended beyond my own kitchen table?

 

Either way, I know they had a great time. It was such a thrill each Thursday morning, around five minutes before kick-off to receive photos of the children sitting at their own tables, craft kits at the ready, loo rolls and Weetabix packets set out neatly and giving a big thumbs up to the camera.

“Skyla’s so excited, she’s been sitting there for ages!”

November 2020

Reflections from Lockdown Number 2

Here we are in Lockdown Number 2, so I thought I would take this time to add a few reflections on what its been like to be Artist in Residence at Arbourthorne since the pandemic, and what things have changed for me in my role. Of course, the first lockdown was very different as schools closed across the country, and we all had to work out ways to work, learn, share and stay at home.

Through working with the team from An Even Better Arbourthorne it was possible to continue Family Art during this period. The intention was the same; to provide opportunities for quality talk and learning for all the family through engaging with visual art activities, but the method of delivery had to change radically, and with this came some surprising results.

 

Our families were provided with a very basic art pack; glue, paper, primary coloured paint etc to get them started, but each week they would need to plan, source and prepare everything they would need for the session. Normally, all these needs are met by myself, the school and our wonderfully stocked Artspace, so it was brilliant to see just how resourceful our families could be in finding materials or suitable alternatives, much of which came from the recycling bin! Initially for myself, this was a challenge; we have so many problem solving, ‘intelligent’ materials to hand in Artspace I had to ‘dig deep’ to see just how far I could go with a toilet roll tube or a cereal packet, and could not make any assumptions about what other resources our families may or may not have at their disposal. As is so often the case with creative endeavours ,when there are limitations, either imposed through circumstance or intention, new and unexpected outcomes can emerge.

 

Each week I would make an instructional video which An Even Better Arbourthorne would release on their Facebook page. Following this, myself and our families would meet via a live WhatsApp group, and create together in real time. Technology scares me a bit so initially I was quite apprehensive, but I couldn’t believe how well Family Art adapted to this new format, and in some ways felt richer for it. In addition to the levels of resourcefulness I’ve already mentioned, I saw a wider age range of siblings (both older and younger) taking part, as well as cousins and friends. Sometimes, if a child was ill , (or not in the mood!) the grown up would take part in the session and continue/ complete the activity with their child at a more suitable time. Without a doubt, the option of taking part in your own time, allowed Family Art to reach a much wider audience.

 

For me as a practitioner, it is really important to use creativity as a vehicle to broaden vocabulary and develop speaking and listening skills. After the initial input of the instructional video, I found the more concrete nature of committing language to the written word, rather than relying on oracy alone added a different dimension, or weight to the language, and more specifically, my own voice. True to our core values, I had a voice, and I found it very empowering to be able to convey myself clearly, concisely and without the interruptions of day to day school life. I wonder if it was more impactful for our families, whether this ‘empowerment’ I experienced through repetition and clarity transcended beyond my own kitchen table?

 

Either way, I know they had a great time. It was such a thrill each Thursday morning, around five minutes before kick-off to receive photos of the children sitting at their own tables, craft kits at the ready, loo rolls and Weetabix packets set out neatly and giving a big thumbs up to the camera.

“Skyla’s so excited, she’s been sitting there for ages!”

 

Parents also commented that although their child may be missing their friends, without the temptation of playful distractions they focussed on their art-making for much longer periods of time, and although I wasn’t in the same room as them, I definitely got this impression too. Some parents said they were struggling to engage their child with the set schoolwork, and that Family Art provided a welcome alternative point of access to home/school learning.

 

As it turns out, Family Art @Home became the highlight of my lockdown experience, not least, because my own family had a part to play; husband as camera man and video editor, eight year old son as creative consultant and general critic. The blurring of boundaries between home and work-life yielded many pleasures ( and plenty of irritations too ) but the fact that we, all the families involved, were sharing in an experience from our own homes , arguably ‘letting people in’ to a greater degree, made Family Art feel more personal, more real and more connected than it had previously in the ’real world’. Maybe this feeling I had was just imagined; an outward projection due to the conditions of a global pandemic, the strangeness of it all.

 

Real or imagined, I know Family Art @ Home was a very special thing at the weirdest of times. Thankyou to all the families, the children, grown-ups and An Even Better Arbourthorne, for making it such a memorable experience.

September 2020

I do enjoy making a new display.....especially this one. I am particularly proud of how Family Art continued through lockdown and how amazing our families were with their resourcefulness, commitment and enthusiasm. This super colourful display in the entrance to our school begins to capture the delight  and creativity we shared through this time.

Spinning Drawing Machine! September 2020

As part of our home learning project, Adventures in Sustainable Play, I made my first drawing machine. It goes round and round  the whiteboard creating infinite spirals ( at least until the battery runs out) creating different coloured circular patterns with the whiteboard pens. None of this is my idea; I followed the expert instructions of Alison Buxton who is helping us develop a maker curriculum at our school. See 'other projects ' for more info and images of Adventures in Sustainable Play.

After teaching Skyla and Hudson the slot technique for attaching cardboard they made these fab giraffes on their own....superstars!

June 2020

I'm really enjoying Family Art @Home. Each Thursday morning I run a live whatsapp session with a group of families to create some lovely artwork. It has been a bit of an experiment during lockdown , to see how we can continue the family art that is such an important part of our school during this tricky time, and I am thrilled with how this new version is developing. Our families are amazing and make me smile every week with their wonderful creations. This week, Keiven made a model of Miss Daubney  from a plastic bottle. He gave her extra long arms because he's 'missing her hugs'. 

Well done Miss Daubney for giving great hugs and well done Keiven!

April 2020

Family Art @ home will be starting very soon. Check out An Even Better Arbourthorne Facebook page for fun videos on things to make and do, and if you'd like to be involved in a live Family Art Whatsapp group please email paigeliddle@arbourthorne.sheffield.sch.uk. See you soon!

March 2020

I ran a staff Professional Development Meeting this week, to kick-start the visual art element of our exciting forthcoming project 'Take One Voice'. My mission was to up-skill staff in teaching self portraiture, and introduce different ways of combining this with text and poetry. I have to say, the staff weren't always so good at 'good looking and good listening', but once they were unleashed with the materials they were 'A star' students. Such a variety of talent and different interpretations of my initial input, and a messy hall at the end of the day, which is always a good sign. Well done everyone and thankyou for a lovely time.

January 2020

LOVE these Tudor portraits by Year 2. We used a technique called collage; sticking down fabric , lace, fancy paper and a whole load of buttons to create these elaborate costumes . We have Henry 8th, Ann Boleyn, their daughter Elizabeth the 1st and some strange looking Tudor children, who seemed to look like miniature versions of their parents. I got this fab idea through the internet but Year 2 children at Arbourthorne have definitely made it their own. Fantastic.

December 2019...making seasonal scenes in family art... Frosty the Snowman and Elves and the Shoemaker....

October 15th 2019

Check out Riley. He is super proud of this excellent handwriting painting he and I have been working on together for the past couple of weeks. So great to see him use his voice with confidence and tell the group about how it was made. Well done Riley.

October 2019

Having a fantastic time with Y5 Girl Painters. They are great company, we meet once a week to enjoy sharing time  painting together and learning new skills. There are so many great learning outcomes to be enjoyed through painting, resilience, problem solving and quality talk to name but a few. This is what the girls think;

''It's relaxing and mindful, you can make it your own.... it's like being in my own wonderland'' Libbie

''I've learned techniques, I can show other people how to do it, because I know it's true.'' Ameira (learning through experimentation and testing materials, confidence in sharing new knowledge)

''It's calming, we get along very well. It's peaceful, we enjoy ourselves. It's so good, us guys learning all this stuff.'' Adhraa

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September 2019

Can we make paintings from handwriting?

Following our staff training with handwriting guru Martin Harvey, I have been working with a group of year 3 children to explore the above question. Our whole school is taking a new approach to handwriting, both how it is presented and how it is taught, and these sessions are aimed at helping children develop some of the fine motor skills needed for excellent pen grip and a super smart handwriting technique, as well as embedding some of the new language that we are all learning, staff and children, to support excellence in handwriting. 

July 2019

It's so lovely watching people enjoy memories of Family Art and Little Book of Chatter through our Big Books. The children now are all grown up! Time flies and it's remarkable that I have been in this wonderful job as artist in Residence for almost 12 years. At their request, our Arbourthorne crafters are repeating a Family Art project based on artist Gustav Klimt that we did a long time ago, and thanks to a grant from Better Arbourthorne, we have lovely new paints, brushes and canvases to work with.  Craft Club is open to all parents and carers, and runs until the end of term on Monday afternoons in Artspace, 1.15 - 3.15pm. Please come and join us for some calm relaxing 'me time'.

 June 2019

Year 2 are learning all about the seaside. They have been working with Latin drummer and percussionist  Keith Angel to create a seaside soundscape, which they have called 'Beach Danger'.

The children made a graphic score using colourful  signs and symbols to represent different combinations of instruments and rhythms. When they perform their soundscape, they read the score to help them remember the order of things. Keith did some amazing solo drumming that we all danced along to. Year 2 have great moves!

May 2019

As part of our Take One Interest project, inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci, Year 2 have been exploring life under the sea. They chose to show their learning through model making and sculpture, which they have done beautifully using clay. These final pieces will be on display soon at out forthcoming Take One interest exhibition, details to follow.

March 2019.....Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life In Drawing.....We can cross hatch!

February 2019

We have launched our Leonardo Da Vinci project in style, with a special visit from Architect and former Arbourthorne pupil, Tony Broomhead. Tony is a presenter on the TV programme The Dengineers and is a qualified architect! We had a lot of fun creating structures from spaghetti and marshmallows.Tony encouraged us to experiment as much as possible and not to be put off when our structures collapsed (many did); these were seen as opportunities for learning through rebuilding. We went on to make drawings  of the structures, and thinking about scale by populating the images with details like people, trees, balconies and diving boards. Lots of sticky marshmallow fingers at the end of the lesson!

January 2019

Boys Art Group continues.... we are thinking about storytelling through Totem Poles. This week we looked at images of traditional Native American totem poles and had a go at drawing some elements in charcoal. We then focussed on colour in the Paint Laboratory, mixing all kinds of colours for painted versions. ''This is like being a scientist'' said Leo as he was transforming coloured powders into runny liquid paint. Fantastic.

December 2018

Love this creation! Callum in Year 4 keeps extending his humble HB pencil with various things to create the 'mega pen'. His super hero character (made out of a clothes peg), a rubber and a biro have all been strapped to his favourite pencil. I had to draw the line when I saw him trying to tie a pair of scissors to this gadget, but in theory, I think it was a great idea. Here's a photo of him  writing in his box. Callum loves coming to the art group on Fridays and has written a brilliant letter to Ms Langley asking if the project can continue in 2019. I think she might say 'yes'!

December 2018

Thankyou to all our Foundation families who visited Woodfield Academy in Oldham to share all the wonderful things we do in Family Art. We had a lovely  art session making animals from Eric Carle's book, 'Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear?', check out our beautiful peacocks on sticks! Thankyou to Woodfield Academy for making us so welcome, we really enjoyed working at your school.

October Action Painting!

Loving the old school blinds as painting supports.

Wonderful gross motor exercises, pushing and pulling the paint around. Lots of other stuff going on too.... storytelling through painting .... language development, all happening at once in strange and wonderful ways.

Lots of fun, lots of mess. A big sorry to the grown ups if your child came home with paint in their hair... oops!

September 2018

In Artspace this month I have been spending time with Key Stage 1 children, exploring magic, mark making, mythical creatures, and a few superhero's too! We have been doing lots of messy, collaborative large scale painting. Over the summer our school got new blinds, which meant I get to recycle the old ones for various  painting projects. Some of them are huge... I need to work out a way to hang them and am thinking an exhibition outside, attaching the blinds to fencing, might just be the way forward...

July 2018 Summer Celebrations at the Little Book of Chatter Tea Party. Great Party everyone!

May 2018

I am currently attending a course which helps Early Years practitioners like me encourage boys to get into writing. This all starts with some serious play, mark making and story telling through construction and experiences of different materials. I have to say , today was a bit of an experiment, but a fun one. I observed the boys whist they engaged with all the different resources; chatting away and inventing different scenarios as they played. They ended up creating a special kit for motorbike making, and making an awful lot of mess! Lots of interesting things for me to think about, and a good time had by all.

April 2018

Foundation stage have made some stunning bird's nests artwork this week. We have created 'speckled' textures on Duck Egg Blue paper by taking rubbings off the playground floor. The surface creates lots of tiny dotty marks when you rub chunky graphite (an art material that's a bit like pencil)  over the top of the paper.  We've talked about what nests might be made of and created nest pictures with messy charcoal and rubbers. We built the nests up, line by line, bit by bit, just like a mother bird would do. Our nest collages in FS1 just got bigger and bigger, and needed extra taping down with lots of sellotape. Great results; making our Atelier look beautiful and super fit for Springtime talk.

March 2018

Minichatter is upon us in FS1 and we are all going a bit loopy with our wonderful loopy artwork, inspired by famous paintings by the artist, Cy Twombly. He did MASSIVE paintings full of wonderful loops which look a bit like giant handwriting. Through exploring these shapes, our children in nursery are preparing themselves well for becoming writers, as these skills will help them form letters in the very near future. Mum's and baby brothers came too - we had a lovely time.

January 2018

Year 2 have been to Whirlow Farm where they saw the paintings of Derbyshire based artist, Lynne Wilkinson. They have been talking about her style and copying her brushstrokes to make feathery roosters, and learning to mix their primary colours to good effect. Well done, Year 2, these roosters are wonderful! 

December 2017

Gleadless and Arbourthorne have been coming to a special after school club to make artworks inspired by ' A Child of Books' by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston. It is part of 'Take One Text - a literacy project running through both schools. The children used these sessions to explore the relationship between text and image, inspired by the illustrations and interesting lay out of words in the book. Mubanga and Flossie, who are both studying Art at Sheffield High School came along to support our students with their expert skills. A big thankyou to both of them. This project culminates early in 2018, so watch out for some beautiful displays, coming to a school near you!

October 2017

Year 5 have been looking at the changing states of different materials in in Science. To enhance this learning, we experimented with and compared different art materials,  treating our sketchbooks as laboratories. We found that the oil pasted resisted, or separated from the coloured ink, and that the felt tip pen and Brusho powder dissolved in water, creating magical effects. A good days experimentation!

20th September 2017

As part of our sketchbook focus, 'Sketchbook After School Club' has now commenced. The club, which takes place on Wednesdays after school ,rotates fortnightly throughout each year group and is open to all pupils (grown ups -look out for the permission slip in book bags please). Children who sign up for this activity will have the opportunity to revisit and explore in more depth their classroom sketchbook learning . Take a look at these marvellous medicine bottles, painted with primary colours by Year 3, who have been practising mixing their primary colours to produce secondary colours, and interesting shades of brown...

September 2017

Back to school and back to our sketchbook skills (hurrah!), which will be our  focus this term  with an emphasis on drawing and painting. All the lessons, from Year 2 to year 6, are linked into each year groups topic work, enhancing and extending learning in the classroom. Here are some Year 2 pupils exploring the wonders of broccoli, linking (eventually) to the storybook 'Supertato' and a superhero themed half term. 

May 9th 2017

After looking at the famous paintings 'Waterlillies', by French artist Claude Monet, we visited our very own 'Giverny' , two minutes away down Eastern Ave. How lucky are we! The children had already  explored different ways of making marks to represent  the trees and sky reflected in  water , as well as the flat lillypads  on the pond surface, 'like squashed circles'. We took big A1 drawing boards, paper and charcoal to record what we could see.

April 2017

Finally our mini Atelier is finished in FS1 and I was able to run my first session there last week. Children are exercising their 'painting arms' whilst developing gross motor skills, and having a fun time mark making with paint. The mini Atelier has been inspired by the Reggio approach: the aim was to create a calm environment, with lots of natural objects, textures, colours and continuous art making provision so children can shape and choose their own learning and discoveries. We still have a long way to go on our journey but our aim is to get cracking over the next few weeks, inviting families into the Atellier to work alongside myself and their children. More soon! 

April 2017

Spring is here!

And yellow is my favourite colour, along with pink, blue and grey, so it has been  delightful to celebrate the season with daffodil  observational drawing and paper sculptures which now adorn the Artspace walls. So optimistic! Thankyou to all the Key Stage 1 families who have attended afterschool Chatterclub. 

Valentines Day

We took a detour from the forest of Red Riding Hood, home of the Big Bad Wolf to a woodland full of heart trees. We are celebrating Valentines Day, using small, medium and large heart shape templates for the decorations. Can you guess how this will help us get ready for Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

A really lovely session. Lots of families taking their trees home for a special Valentines display, saying what a great time they'd had.

February 2017

This is my favourite photo of the year so far..... FS2 children developing their gross motor skills through large scale painting. The children enjoyed making big circles with their arms and letting the loaded paint brush crash down on the painting . Ms Langley, who was working in her office next door, came to see what all the banging on the wall was about. Needless to say she was very impressed.

December 8th 2016

Year 4 have been thinking about Paris. In our sketchbook sessions we have been drawing The Eiffel Tower using soluble pen. We have also been looking closely at the famous painting 'Starry Night' by Vincent Van Gogh. Today, we brought together all this learning to produce a final Paris painting, using masking tape and paint technique called 'scumbling' to create the structure of the Eiffel Tower. In  these photographs you can see an assortment of visual resources used to inspire the final piece, including earlier sketchbook experiments. Sketchbooks are a great tool to reflect on previous learning, and think about how best to go forward. Well done Y4, I had a lovely time with you today. Thankyou! 

October 2016

Almost half term and I have sooo enjoyed working with ALL our children from Y2 to Y6. Sketchbooks are such exciting things. I have lots and lots of them dating  from when I was at school myself (over 30 years ago!)  to the present day.  I have been sharing some of my books with the children. Looking back it's so interesting to see the thread that runs through them all. Some things change over the years, but some things stay the same. I have encouraged the children to embrace their sketchbooks as a place for experimentation and self expression. Sketchbooks are like diaries with pictures, they contain memories and capture the essence of eras in ones life. If there was a fire in my studio and I had to choose between saving paintings or sketchbooks, the sketchbooks would win!

And so I am looking forward to 'The Art of Sketchbooking' part 2, which will continue until the end of  Autumn term.

Here are some images of Y6 creating designs for their Dracula Wallpaper, complete with costumes for the ultimate immersive learning experience!

October 15th

Year4 are experimenting with the different effects acheived through using hard and soft pencil pressure in their drawings of the famous Henderson's relish bottle. They have been looking closely at the work of Sheffield artist, Pete McKee.  

September 2016

This term I am back in the classrooms! I  am sharing sketchbook skills with children from Y2 -Y6. Each child has a beautiful hard backed, spiral bound sketchbook which travels with them through their time at Arbourthorne. My job is to show them all the different ways sketchbooks can be used, and link this to their learning in the classroom. Above are some images of Scarecrow collages made by Y2. They had lots of different textured paper and material to design their scarecrow's outfit, and used annotation to explain more about their wonderful designs.

 13th July 2016 

I've been Artist in Residence at Arbourthorne for over eight years but this is the first year I have been asked to get involved with the school production, Oliver with a Twist. Something 'extra special' was required, to celebrate the federation between Arbourthorne and Gleadless. I thought, rather arrogantly, that it would be easy. It was not. Far from it. But some of it worked, and if I'm asked again next year I will certainly know what not to do. That's the fun of learning - you've just got to keep at it!
These images are some of my 'Oliver' drawings, collages and paintings that have been expertly photographed (and slightly photoshopped) by photographer Graeme Oxby. They were projected as backdrops at the back of the Montgomery theatre. My favourite is the 'Who will buy' scene,which I interpreted quite literally with collaged images of 'ripe, strawberry's ripe' and 'sweet red roses'.‚Äč

June 6th 2016

Ellie Bratton in Year 5  has designed a fantastic poster for our forthcoming production of Oliver with a Twist. Ellie's design will be reproduced as a large scale poster to be hung outside the Montogomery Theatre for all to see. Can't wait to see it. Brilliant! Well done Ellie. Here she is with her fellow designers using printing techniques to develop her ideas.

12th April 2016

 Our Elephant is now on display! And she is beautiful! Thankyou to everyone who helped raise an amazing £940 for Sheffield's Children's Hospital and a special thankyou to the six children whose designs were chosen to decorate our elephant, which will be going on display in Sheffield city centre with the rest of the herd this summer. Little Herd of Sheffield is a city wide project. creating a trail of elephants, large and small throughout the city, whilst raising funds for the hospital. You can find out more on www.herdofsheffield.com. As soon as I know where on the trail our elephant sculpture , entitled 'Arbourthorne Cares' will be, I will be sure to let you know. She just needs a few final tweaks and a coat of varnish before we release her to the wild. Any suggestions for a name?

March 18th 2016

Our Gifted and Talented artists visited Salts Mill today to see the Ipad art of Bradford born painter, David Hockney. 'The Arrival of Spring' documents the seasonal changes between January and May of one stretch of road in East Yorkshire, where Hockney lives. All created on Ipads, the pictures capture the beauty of the landscape observed by Hockney, who spent a lot of time looking closely and carefully at the subtle seasonal shifts of light, reflections in colourful puddles (no grey puddles to be seen anywhere) and new Springtime growth. This exhibition , which is in the permanent collection at the gallery, celebrates the act of looking itself and getting to know something really well over a period of time.

Spring has definitely arrived at Arbourthorne too - so watch out for some of our own Ipad artwork! 

1st February 2016

What a great start to this years Chatterbooks. Inspired by the Year 1 visit to The Deep in Hull, we have been chattering away about all things fishy, creating some beautiful Under the Sea mobiles and fishtanks. Thankyou to all the families who attended. To those of you who want to come but have found that the sign up sheets are full , let your class teacher know and come along anyway to your chosen session - we will do our very best to fit you in.

Looking forward to some Springtime Chatter after half term. Happy Hols!