On 18 February, Oakham’s sixth formers studying art attended a day of online workshops led by talented artists. The event was organised by Oakham’s Director of Art and Sketchbook Circle founder, Ms Brass and Mrs Naish from the Grange School in Hertford. It was also open to Form 6 students across the country.
There were 16 schools that participated, and the workshops covered support with pupils’ Personal Investigation, which is the main coursework project for A-level Art.
Ms Elinor Brass tells us more:
“The day began with a creative workshop led by Paul Raymond, who is also a member of the Sketchbook Circle and a teacher. Paul asked the students to create assemblages, drawings and develop their own work, playing with ideas through the making process and using Paul’s inspiration through his presentation.
There were lots of imaginative pieces created working with an enormous range of materials and approaches. After a break, there was a talk from Lee John Phillips, and he spoke about his career as an artist, illustrator, designer, teacher and sketchbook keeper. He is well-known for the Shed Project, where he has been honouring the memory of his late grandfather by meticulously drawing everything from his toolshed. LEE’S ILLUSTRATION WORK. Lee gave plenty of detail about his approaches to ‘making’, which was very valuable. It was powerful for the students to hear how to make a career as an artist.
The final workshop of the day was led by painter Charley Peters charley peters. Charley makes beautiful abstract paintings and spoke to us from her studio in South London. She initially spoke about where the inspirations of her work come from, which was a fantastic opportunity for the students to see how artists bring together their connections with the world around them. Charley set the students some significant activities that forced them to think closely about their own motivations, inspirations, and preferences. The students created lists, mood boards, colour explorations, considered textures and marks and generated lots of starting points to move on with when they are back in the classroom for lessons.
It was such a pleasure to have a day working alongside other students from across the country and to see how other students responded to the same challenges. The artists were really inspirational and have given the students plenty of food for thought.”
Comments from some of the teachers:
“It blew their mind, confused them, frustrated them, made them go “wow!” They had never done anything like it.”
“It pushed them out of their comfort zone.”
“Thanks for an awesome workshop – some sound messages and inspiring methods explored today. More, more, more of this sort of thing!”
“Loved it. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do another!”
“Thank you so much for this opportunity to provide such a rich opportunity for our students. Their minds were blown, confused, delighted…”
Elinor has run a project for Art teachers since 2009 called Sketchbook Circle which encourages participants to stay connected with their own artistic practice. There are around 150 teachers taking part in the project this year, with well over 1,000 teachers part of the Sketchbook Circle community sharing ideas and approaches as well as getting together for artist-led courses. In lockdown, Ms Brass began running courses online for teachers with Georgia Naish as a way of helping people stay connected and to support teachers’ well being.