This year saw John Hampden enter new desert plains that we have never ventured into before! We took a magic carpet ride across the sand dunes of the Middle East to the fantasy land of Agrabar, enjoying midnight at the Oasis under the stars amid flowing Bedouin tents, exploring the Kasbahs of Morocco to find hidden treasure on our desert journey which culminated in the discovery of an Arabian palace in the Jackson Hall.
We slaved tirelessly to create our own desert oasis, repurposing our school communities’ recycling in the form of our junk modelling station, leading to some ambitious and creative models, including a life size camel that you could ride, opulent Arabian palaces, deadly sabres and an array of decorative magic carpets to line our palace interiors.
We had a record number of volunteers this year too! Over 70 parents, grandparents, community members, artists, and former staff and pupils came to support us in our artistic endeavours, sharing skills which ranged from traditional, Middle Eastern rag rug making to calligraphy, print making and mosaic tile collaging, to name but a few.
Liam Biswell, fine art printmaker, guided the children in Arabian Night scenes, which they printed onto fabric.
Christine Tacq, book artist and collagraphic print maker, worked both in class and in the hall to make a magic carpet of animal images using a range of techniques and Middle Eastern inspiration.
Jane Morton Driscoll also shared her amazing calligraphy skills with us, with fantastic results!
Liz Byrne made decorative Islamic tiles via collaged, colourful paper and Jenny Clamp introduced our youngest children to playdough magic carpets, made from a jigsaw of painted pasta pieces.
Lord Williams’s School teachers and pupils also came to support us in class, making magical, illuminated Middle Eastern skylines.
Debi Abdelrahman came in to share the traditional, Middle Eastern skill of rag rug making, making our own magical version.
We certainly do have some talented and skilled helpers! Thanks to them all for their help in making the week so amazing and diverse!
Alongside these activities we also had the ever-popular biscuit decorating station, overflowing with donations from parents, carers and ASDA, where edible genie heads and jewels were created. Clay divas were made to light our way home and spoon and peg doll princesses and urchins populated our place grounds. Decorated and hand-sewn elephants joined the parade, mendhi hands and feet making our children feel decorated aswell!
Each class contributed a treasure chest filled with precious gems inspired by our class names, filling our Cave of Wonder, a super-sized tiger’s head (courtesy of Astor Bannerman/Pete Deverson) to overflow with treasure.
But was there a ‘diamond in the rough’? Watch this space….
The staff of John Hampden didn’t miss out on the artistic fun creating their own 3D and 2D genies complete with magical clues as part of our ‘Whose genie is whose?’ competition, the children trying to match the magical creatures to the staff artist.
The week culminated in a whole school assembly where we shared our artistic talents within the school and then within the community at large, as part of our Arts Café, munching on cakes and biscuits to raise money for next year’s endeavours!
A wonderful time was had by all, granting our 3 wishes in art form, and the magical, mystical wall awaits our return after half term to inspire us in future learning! We look forward to welcoming you all next year for future Artsweek fun!
Jackie Nichols, Art Co-ordinator