alexandra junior school: workshops
In 2008 I met the head teacher of AJS at a craft fair. She was very interested in my work and invited me to come to her school on a regular basis and run metal sculpture workshops with the kids (ages 8-12 years).
Parent and Child Workshops
For an hour a week a group of parents are invited to come in to the school and work with their child (and me) on a sculpture project.
To start, I get each pair to draw a flower. From that they make a cardboard template of the petal shape, leaf, and flower centre which they then use to draw round on a piece of metal.
They cut out the pieces using the guillotine and tin snips, file and hammer. Working from their drawings I then weld all of the pieces together.
A basic flower takes 2 or 3 sessions, then I let them choose their next project (some choose to continue working on the flower, adding more and more petals).
I have plenty of reference books for people to look through for ideas and often suggest butterflies and fish as a simple but effective project. Often a parent/child has an idea a little more unusual ( including birds of prey, robots, buildings) and I always try to work out a way of simplifying it so that they can make what they want in the time that we have. The designs have to work so that there isn't much welding to do (otherwise the finished piece would be my work rather than theirs), so I try to get them to use large pieces that they hammer and cut into the shapes they want. A wing for example would be cut out in one piece and hammered rather than individual feathers that all need welding together(like the birds I make).
For one afternoon a week AJS have "University". The kids get to choose a 6 week course in a non curriculum subject (street dance, fashion, horticulture, metalwork etc.) which they "graduate" from and get a certificate. I have a group of 12 kids all from different years and classes in the school. After telling them about my work as an Artist and showing them examples of my sculptures, I get them to design and make their own sculpture that they get to take home at the end of the course. We generally start with a leaf because it's a simple shape and gets them to use all of the tools. Then we go on to a bigger project (I set the theme and the kids make their own design).
Wall Hangings (from recycled metal)