Pipworth School Values Sculpture

Beatrice Lee Knowles

Beatrice Lee Knowles is a freelance visual artist and a Create Sheffield Partner. Below, Beatrice has written a short account about her recent experience of working on a sculpture project in Pipworth Primary School. 

For 6 weeks I was an artist in residence, every Monday, at Pipworth Community Primary School. I worked with a group of 20 pupils from across KS2, with the aim to expand and develop their creative skills.

As a group we were challenged by the Headteacher to create a sculpture that represented the schools’ values of Aspiration, Community, Respect, Teamwork, Courage, Determination, Equality and Honesty.

In Week 1 we looked at examples of different types of sculptures and thought about what qualities we wanted ours to have before setting about coming up with design ideas through sketching and plastercine modelling. I collated all the ideas the children had expressed to create a final design that the pupils could work on creating elements and develop over the coming weeks.

Over the next 4 weeks, I worked with the children in smaller groups, split as year groups. Each session we created the different elements for the sculpture and by doing so explored the processes of making. This including Modroc casting and upcycling creating elements including people, hands, balloons and trees - that individually and collectively represented and illustrated the school values. I also did an introductory woodwork session with the Y6’s, where they created representations of Pipworth pupils, that worked as an integral part of the sculptures structure.

The sculptures elements were then refined through the addition of paint - adding colour and detail. The pupils worked collaboratively across year groups to paint the upcycled cable reels that made up each section of the sculpture.

For the final session, I fixed the sections and elements together to create the final sculpture. The pupils also painted small canvases to sit alongside the sculpture that symbolised one of the values. Once completed the children had time to reflect and evaluate on the project, their experience and the final sculptural outcome.

The creative impact for the pupils that took part in this project was exceptional. The children became completely absorbed and excited by the making process and as the weeks went on their confidence in their creative ideas and abilities grew.

As part of the reflection for the project, I gave them the opportunity to express areas of making or skills they would like to develop further that could be fed back to teachers, but also gave me chance to give them ideas of what they could achieve independently at home.

This project was an opportunity for me to demonstrate how sculpture can be successfully created and developed as a medium with Primary school pupils. It also allowed me to develop my approach of working collaboratively with pupils and fully responding and including their creative ideas towards the final outcome, instead of being too prescriptive with a pre-decided design.

This Story was written by our Partner and freelance visual artist Beatrice Lee Knowles. Read more about her work here