This year the children of John Hampden were like Jacque Cousteau, taking a deep dive into Artsweek, incorporating the themes of geography and ecology into our artistic pursuits to create an amalgamation of the oceans of the world on the Jackson Hall wall.
We threw ourselves fully into the repurposing of the school communities’ recycling in the form of our junk modelling station, which was very well provided for, leading to some ambitious and creative models including giant penguins, underwater cameras, deep diving gear and a flotilla of boats of various shapes and sizes.
We were amazed by the wealth of volunteers, including parents, grandparents, community members, artists, and former staff, and by the skills they shared with us!
Liam Biswell, fine art printmaker, guided the children in etching their observational drawings of shells with beautiful results.
Christine Tacq, book artist and collagraphic print maker, told us of the plight of the sinking islands which are gradually being reclaimed by the sea due to rising sea levels caused by global warming and the subsequent melting of glaciers. The children made their own alternative islands using reclaimed objects and then preserved their future visions via press print plates and prints.
Diane Burch and Hannah Hancock made intricate, fabric pictures with the children, capturing a snapshot of underwater life within the multi-layered and textured, colourful pieces.
Rosie Brandon, a local artist who is planning on opening an art centre in Thame in April, created vibrant images using oil pastels, powdered water colour paints and water spray with stunning results.
Alongside these activities we also had the ever popular biscuit decorating station, where edible rockpools and sea creatures were created. Clay fish and shark shapes were embossed with surface patterns and embellishments, and peg doll mermaids and mermen rode 3D fish creations over rolling waves. Felt jellyfish and sting rays were buffeted by tidal surges and colourful coral reefs were created for the fish to frolic in between.
A great white shark threatened to chomp at passers-by as the majestic loggerhead sea turtle relentlessly kept on its journey, a blue whale keeping an eye on proceedings as a narwhal breached the artic waters.
Each year group concentrated on one of the oceans of the world, it’s wildlife and location, creating their own 2D or 3D models to enhance our underwater view, an emperor penguin awaiting the return of its mate on a glacial ice flat, turtles laboriously making their way onto the beach to lay their eggs and star fish and crabs thrown up onto the sand via coastal tides.
The staff of John Hampden didn’t miss out on the artistic fun creating their own 3D and 2D sea creatures complete with fishy clues as part of our ‘Whose fish is whose?’ competition, the children trying to match the fishy creations to the staff artist.
The week culminated in an under the sea dress up day where mermaids and pirates rubbed fins with sharks, beach combers and giant jelly fish at the Arts Café, munching on sea themed cakes and biscuits to raise money for next year’s endeavours!
A wonderful watery time was had by all, and the fabulous, fishy wall awaits our return after half term to inspire us in future learning! We look forward to welcoming you all next year for future arts fun!
Jackie Nichols, Art Co-ordinator