Art Blog March

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Welcome back to our Art blog. SSMJ is a hub of creativity again this term. The Schools’ Dance Festival at the New Theatre went brilliantly. Our children danced in front of a packed auditorium, performing a dance they had helped to choreograph. Meanwhile our Bollywood dance activity group is also proving a fun way for the children to express themselves through dance.

Preparations for our Treasure Island production are in full swing now. Year 4 have been singing and dancing, as well as learning lines and making 3D models in art, (to be used as props in the show). We explored the work of Swedish artist Claes Oldenburg, who created large sculptures of food and other everyday items out of unexpected materials. The artist intended to make us look at everyday, ordinary items with fresh eyes. The children made observational drawings, designed the props, then they created their 3D models from Modroc and finally painted them.

Year 3 are busy with their creative arts this term. They are currently involved with the Story Museum Mutual Exchange Programme (along with year one). The programme involves visits to our school from museum experts and trips by our pupils to the museum. They are exploring the power and magic of oral story telling. In art they are creating still life images, using collage and paint as a medium. Their art lessons this term are linked to the science curriculum and particularly the life cycles of flowering plants. The classroom will be transformed into a studio and the young artists will draw from a still life of plants and fruit. Continuing the botanical theme, they will soon move on to cyanotypes and exploring natural dyes.

We hope to get Tom Hunter back on board at SSMJ next term. Tom is a teacher from Magdalen College School, who bought a great workshop using chalk from the Chilterns, to our Year 6’s last year. He will hopefully work with year 3 next term, bringing fresh ideas, and possibly access to a kiln, which is very exciting. Magdalen College School have also lent us some stage lights for Treasure Island. We hope to be able to get our own set at some point, but for the moment we are very grateful that MSC could help us out.

We use AccessArt pathways to support the art curriculum in our school. Year 6 will use AccessArt’s diverse and creative resources, to learn about Nigerian artist Yinka Ilori, who uses his crafts as a way to communicate Nigerian parables and verbal traditions. Inspired by Ilori’s work, the children will learn about chair design and create a chair which expresses their own personality. We can’t wait to see what they create! Meanwhile year 1 are having fun with watercolour, exploring how we can use accidental marks to make art. They are using Emma Burleigh and Paul Klee as inspiration.

In class the children often talk excitedly about exhibitions they have visited; we are very lucky to be living in Oxford with its access to so much free culture. During art lessons we encourage gallery walks, where our children put down their art equipment and walk around the classroom observing, sometimes magpieing ideas, learning how to ask critical questions and make constructive observations. We also encourage the children to visit local galleries. Magdalen Road Studios gallery is right on our doorstep and the children might even catch sight of work by artist-teachers they know if they pop in there from time to time!

Ali Moreton
Sarah Blackwell
and the arts team