Discovering Sculpture at Southey Green Primary

Beatrice Lee Knowles

In early July, Southey Green Primary invited me to work with their Reception pupils on their summer terms art topic - Art Attack. For this topic they were exploring and experimenting using different tools, joining techniques, their imagination and different materials to create artworks. In the glorious sunshine, pupils joined me in their outdoor classroom to be introduced to 'Sculpture', something the majority of children hadn't heard of before.

Working in small groups they had the chance to look at images of famous sculptures, ranging in materials, subject matters and colours. They then chose a sculpture to try and recreate in the array of materials I provided - from plant pots to mop heads, drainpipes to telephone wires, cotton reels to dog bowls. To get them started I encouraged them to focus in on shapes and colours they recognised, gathering materials and making collaborative decisions, before allowing their brilliant imaginations to run wild and complete their masterpieces.

The array of outcomes was incredible, some pupils were drawn to sculptures of things they recognised like Yayoi Kusama's 'Flowers that Bloom' compared to other pupils who were drawn to more abstract pieces like Eva Rothschild's 'Wandering Palm'.

They all captured an essence of the original artworks but what really shone through was how they stood with such brilliance and confidence alone, and illustrated how quickly the pupils had picked up and embraced the magic of making sculpture!

Having time to reflect on what they have created, is a key element to my workshops, so when they had finished I encouraged pupils to draw their sculptures, by way of documenting them. I also allocated time for us to move round the space as a whole class to look at each others work. Pupils in each group were given the opportunity to talk about their sculptures and experience of the workshop with a recurring comment being "I am proud of what I have made".

I look forward to being able to take this workshop to another school to introduce sculpture to even more young minds or even see how the workshop would be interpreted in an higher key stage, where making processes can be explored further.

Beatrice Lee Knowles is a Create Sheffied Partner. To learn more about the brilliant work she is doing, visit her Partner page