Queensbridge primary school
Katie Louise Surridge
The project I worked on with Queensbridge year 4 students focused on the disappearance of the coral reefs. I started the project with a two-day residency where I was using recycled eggshells from the food industry to make a boat. This referenced a story in the 15th century where it was believed if you did not crumble the halves of your eggshells witches would make ships and cause havoc out at sea. My work is infused with a sense of magic and an open and explorative approach to materials, and this is what I wanted to bring to my classes.
We worked on a number of projects starting with using Willow patterned blue and white chips of pottery to influence the drawing of coral reefs. This was recycled from the Banks of the River Thames. The children copied the pattern on their piece of pottery to make the design.
Next, they moved on to designing bottle worlds, making pasta corals for inside these, and studying photos of coral reefs to inspire the background scenery. Finally, they cast a low melt metal alloy into some cuttlefish. Again this was leftover from the food industry and the children discussed the implications of overfishing.
One project they liked the most was making soft sculptures of coral reefs. These were stuffed with plastics that they recycled from home or lunchtimes. This helped us discuss the issue of plastic waste and the impacts it has on our seas. It was a really great opportunity for the children to learn a new skill as many had not sewn before.
We also used air drying white clay to work communally to make a bleached coral reef. This is a great experience for the children as it shows what can be down when you work together.
The final exhibition was a great success and we looked at ways to display their work in a professional and exciting manner and using the gym equipment to install it on. The project is a fantastic way for children to try new materials and also work with a professional artist and learn how to prepare and hang an art show.