Category Archives: Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Clay Heads and Animals – Senior/ First Class, Holy Family – Week 4+5

Meanwhile over in Senior and First Class we had two very busy weeks of making and sculpting. We have been looking at making clay heads. We began by first feeling our own heads working out the shapes and forms and whether the features on our heads stick out or go in and whether they are hard and soft. So using our hands we explored our head top of the crown to bottom of the chin. This helped us figure out the shape in clay. We were just going to use the different techniques of poking, pinching, squeezing, stretching, rolling and moulding using our hands with the clay. And then using the skewer sticks for adding smaller details like eye balls, hair, nostrils, ear holes. Everyone took their time working our their heads and adding details. We had to make sure that any parts we added on would stay on and not break off when the clay dries. So we did a lot of smoothing and joining over cracks where we added the clay.

Then each person made a stand or plinth – thinking back to the ones we had looked at in the museum online. So to make the plinth we got a ball of clay and tap tapped on all sides on the board to create a flat surface – like a cube. We then used a stick to join the two parts. They look so funny! Like ancient museum artifacts from Greece! We are looking forward to painting all the clay we have made over the last few weeks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

The Print Studio – 2nd Class, Holy Family – Week 4&5

Then this week we were going into full flight with using different coloured inks – red, blue and yellow. We had a really busy morning trying out different colours and different patterns and blocks and using two colours on one plate. We then tried cutting the plate into a shape to print from. Some of our plates got cut into tiny bits that were nearly too small to use. So we realised that one simple shape worked well and worked in sequence to create a repeat pattern on fabric. Fabulous prints!

We’re still printing over with 2nd Class over at Holy Family! What a busy two workshops we have had with the printing studio producing reams of block prints. We began by looking at a history of block printing – from the cylinder prints and qanats of Mesopotania (which we had been looking at with Senior Infants linking in with their clay work). We also looked at Japanese woodblock printing noticing the use of colour. And we looked at some wallpaper patterns noticing how the pattern was made from one design repeated and layered in different colours. So over two weeks we worked on block printing – using stryofoam panels which we could draw into using pencil. We spent a bit of time making sure the design was “carved” in deep enough to come out. In week one we used two blocks and began alternating looking at different ways of sequencing the pattern – still just using black ink on different colour papers. The class created prints in pairs with their own blocks on long yellow strips.

Well done 2nd Class on all your printing! Great work!

Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Ancient Clay Pots, Bowls and Cups – Senior/ First Class – Holy Family NS, Monkstown

Well we began this week by talking about the cups we had made last week and how people in ancient times – cups and pots were the first things that people made out of clay because they needed them. And they needed them to function or work as a cup or pot or something to carry water or other things. And how the shape was designed for whatever it was used for. Calvin told us about an episode of Peppa Pig where she finds a cup buried in the ground and digs it up and brings it to the museum because she thinks it is very old. In the museum they put it in a glass box and on a cushion. So it must be an important cup! We began looking at some photographs of ancient pots from the country Greece.

What did we notice about the pots? The shapes, different features, different designs, different sizes.

Milly said No.2 was very big and tall and different shape and size to the cups we made.

Seán notice the second one had two handles – so it could be a Date Cup! The two people on the date could hold one handle each! What a lovely thought!

We had a long chat about the horse/ unicorn/ winged horse/ dead horse design on No.5. Was it unicorn? Was it a horse with artificial wings? Was it a dead horse with angel wings? Was there a plant growing from his head that would grow above the ground after he was buried? Was it a ghost of a horse?

Oh an we also remembered the word spout to describe “the poury thing on the jug” in No.3

We noticed in some there was a base so it would not fall over – which is a good idea on a pot!

So what vessels would we make today? We began with a demo on how to join two pieces of clay – first making two flat surfaces to join by tapping on the board. Then drawing in X’s (or like Tic Tac Toe like Rebecca suggested) – to make the surface textured and added a little water to make it a bit sticky then joined the two pieces of clay and smoothed the edges. So it won’t come apart. We will need this to join on the handles or base.

After all that we did not have much time to actually get making our pots but we still tried to make a good shape that will stand and a round shape, smooth sides. With sides and base not too thick, not too thin and if possible the same thickness. Some managed to get a handle made and attached. And we even had one or two square sided Minecraft inspired cups! Busy making session with Senior and First Class! Look forward to seeing how they dry and testing there use as cups!

Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Busy Printing Studio with 2nd Class – Holy Family NS, Monkstown

So today we transformed the classroom into a very busy printing studio for the morning! It took a little bit of time to set up and explain the set up and the monoprinting process. We had a quick chat about what we know about printing. Most students just know that you press print on the computer and it comes out of the printer or in the school secretary’s office there is the photocopier and Ms.Cooke presses the button and lots of photocopies or identical prints come out of the machine. We looked at the newspapers we had covered the tables in and realised they are printed too and all our books – so it can be writing or pictures or both and can be black and white or all the colours.

But before printers existed how did writers make copies of their books? They might have a team of writers to copy it? But what if you were JK Rowling who wrote Harry Potter???? She has millions of books. The printing we are doing today is like the beginning of printing – like the magic carbon paper we used last week. We will be transferring ink onto paper using a pencil to make an edition of a print.

So we talked through the process and the tools – dry roller, wet roller, plate, printing ink, taking a print, making a second edition, making a third edition. I gave quick demo of the process –

First Edition: rolling the ink flat on my individual plate (acetate over card), laying down sheet of paper, drawing onto back of paper, lifting the paper to reveal print.

Second edition: Lay down sheet of paper, using dry roller, lifting sheet – print is reversed.

Third Edition: Repeat second stage – lay down sheet of paper, using dry roller, lifting sheet – print is more faded as less ink, less definition in the lines.

The class experimented with this process and multiple prints began to emerge. As they experimented they began to realise what would work, what would not appear, how much ink, how flat the ink should be, and how much pressure to use with pencil and how they could create different effects by leaning heavy or light and using different sorts of lines. After break we tried one more process which was to lay wool and textured wool directly on to the ink to make the lines on the print. Very different effect. And the first and second edition were very different with the second edition picking up all the thread patterns of the wool texture.

Very busy morning printing! So busy we did not have a chance to look at what everyone had created and to select the print they liked best and worked best for them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Back to the Caves! – Senior Infants/ First Class – Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Great to be back with Ms.O’Connell’s Senior Infants and First Class group. Lots of familiar faces and one or two new faces! We had decided we would begin with working with clay – taking it right back to the Caves. I had worked with clay with both of these groups when they were in Junior Infants so we were using today’s session to refresh ourselves on using clay. So we began with exploring clay using all of our senses….(well nearly all…we stopped short of tasting the clay!).

So first with a lump of clay in front of us we looked at it – what does it look like – what colour is it – shape – texture – temperature – wieght. Lots of chat about what it looked like – chocolate, wood, rock, poo! Looks kind of wet and smooth.

Looks cold, wet and squishy!

Looks like a rock that rolled down a mountain and collected dust because there’s dust on it and it might have broken off!

Looks like wood that has being chopped off a branch because its straight on one side and bumpy on the other.

I still think it looks like chocolate!

We smelt the clay – I still think it’s wood said Reilly. We listened to it – could be hear little voices, squeaks, or silence or the sea. Then we picked up the clay and felt it with our hands, the weight, the texture, the feel of it. We moved it between our hands pulling and squeezing, pushing and flattening. Walking our fingers over it looking at the marks.

Then following the story of Mr and Mrs Stone in their cave thousands of year ago – wondering about how they would get a drink of water from the river – we began making bowls. Slowly forming a ball with the clay, round and round in our hands. Then pushing one thumb in and making the hole bigger by squeezing the clay and stretching it to make the bowl bigger. Making sure the clay was not to thin and that there were any holes as the water would fall out! We also wanted to make sure the bowl could stand and didn’t fall over. Would we put a handle on it? How would we make the handle. Very busy making session! After break it would be time to test our bowls and cups. Some were getting nervous! Would the water spill out! Some great designs – including one cup which had an overflow system! Genius design!

Great session with Senior and First Class as we reconnect with clay! More clay next week. And next week we might even keep the clay work we make!

Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Collecting Lines, Shapes and Patterns – 2nd Class, Holy Family NS, Monkstown

Great to be back with Ms. Cooke’s 2nd Class and looking forward to working together over the next 9 weeks! I had worked with this class when they were in Junior Infants and Senior Infants so it is great to reconnect with them now in 2nd Class. Last time I was with this group we had done lots of colour mixing and painting so we are going to explore printmaking over the next couple of weeks and maybe even link it in with some construction. It was a chilly winter morning with clear skies and bright sunshine so we planned on going walkabout collecting shapes lines and patterns. So being artists and explorers we would need sketchbooks. So using A3 paper we made a simple 8-fold notebook. We took our time following the steps with each fold and little bit of help we created our notebooks. As we were folding them one suggested they were like a map – so we thought we might use them as maps too.

We talked about what shapes we knew – circle, square, oval, square, rectangle, triangle – and looking out the window noticed buildings are made up of different shapes and repeated shapes in different sizes. And also thinking of natural shapes – trees, clouds, birds and others we might discover on our walk! So off we went – First noticing our shadows on the school wall – so that was the first drawing in the notebook. Around the field we looked at the shapes of the school, the blue pool, skateboard park and then the bushy trees, the bar winter trees, the mountains in the distance, the purple clouds that looked like mountains. Even a few dog walkers on. Then looking under foot the textures – and noticed some shore covers with writing. So using graphite we did some rubbings and then tried doing rubbings of the rough texture of the path.

Back to school with our sketchbooks of drawings! And to warm up! We had a chat back at the school about which was our favourite drawing. And then using another sheet of A3 we did a simple map of the directions we had walked – and then using the magic blue carbon paper we transferred some of the shapes we had drawn. Building up a layered map. Once we got the hang of the carbon paper we were off! We could repeat a shape/ drawing in different parts of the map by going over it again. Check out these beautiful layered drawings!

Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Week 7 – Senior Infants, Holy Family N.S – Painting the Paddy’s Day Parade!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Over the last six weeks we have been experimenting and exploring colour through paint. Moving slowly and deliberately through one colour a week – mixing colours – experimenting with colour shape and pattern – looking at how the colours work alongside each other, on top of each other. We have created cave paintings, dyed paintings, monochrome painting, colour mixing painting, wax resist paintings, giant paintings, pattern paintings and collaborative paintings. I had suggested to the Senior Infants that this week we would maybe move onto another material – but they all wanted to continue with painting! So be it!

So as we had not experimented with different tools and techniques for applying paint we were going to experiment with different size brushes, gestures, actions and plastic knives. But this week with a figurative theme. We had just heard that the St.Patrick’s Day Parades all across the country were to be cancelled so we were going to paint our own parade. We talked about what might be in a parade – looked at some photos from last year’s parade to get some ideas. We noticed that the main colours in the parade were the colours of the Irish flag – green, white and orange – and we know how to mix lots of different greens! So we’ll be grand!

So here our the beautiful parade paintings from Senior Infants! Check out the Lord Mayor on his carriage with horses and the giant fish, the crowds of people, the dancers, the street and St.Patrick leading the parade!


Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Week 6 – Senior Infants, Holy Family N.S – Giant Paintings and Patterns

This week we worked on group paintings – giant paintings – so big they covered the whole table! To give us a structure I had divided one of the canvases into smaller spaces and shapes using masking tape. So each group – around a table added masking tape in lines to divide up their canvas. The idea was that each space would be a different colour. As Senior Infants are now master colour mixers this was no problem to them! A flurry of mixing and painting and the canvases were covered in a rainbow of colours.

But that was only the first part for today. The next part was to add a pattern on top in another colour. So we looked at each space and decided what colour would work well, be a contrast or different to the other colour. We had quick chat about different patterns – and if we needed ideas we looked at our socks! Always good inspiration for patterns!

Wow! Oh Wow! When we excitedly removed the tape we had these fantastic paintings of colour and pattern.

After break we had a look more closely at one of the paintings – picking out what we could see in the painting. We discovered landscapes, countries, roads, cars, faces – a whole world of images in the painting that we had not even planned on putting there! Lovely discussion. And what amazed me was how long we talked about the painting that they had only just completed and that the children did not just pick out sections they had painted. Lovely morning as always with Ms.O’Connell’s Senior Infants!

Each painting is 120cm X 120cm on canvas.

Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Week 5: Holy Family N.S – Exhibition Visits to Our Colours exhibition at The Lexicon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With the school closed last week and then the mid term break it seemed like ages since I had seen the Senior Infants and the 4th Class group. We had no opportunity to discuss the exhibition visit before the day of the visits. So it was with great excitement the Senior Infants arrived and we had a quick refresh on some rules in the gallery around not touching the artworks, not running, not shouting….general gallery and library rules and most importantly listening to each other and their ideas on the artworks we were looking at. We also remembered the last exhibition they had visited at the Lexicon. It is good for the students to be aware that the exhibitions change regularly and they can also see how the gallery changes depending on the artwork that is on show.

Our Colours – Artworks from the dlr County Collection is an exhibition of over 30 artworks from the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Collection – including new works to the collection that have not been exhibited together before. I wanted to highlight to both groups the diversity or range of artworks in different mediums (eg. painting, drawing, sculpture, photography etc.), different subject/ imagery (eg. portrait, landscape, abstract etc.), 2D and 3D and different sizes and scales. Most of the artists in the exhibition have a connection to Dún Laoghaure – they may live here or studies here or have moved here.

We had some great conversations deciphering the artworks and also linked what we were looking at with what we are working on back in the classroom. So for example with Anita Groener’s large three part painting the Senior Infants discussed the colours the artist used to create the painting. The 4th Class looked at the centre of the painting wondering whether it was a human figure with some animal parts and whether it was coming towards us or going back into the painting.

In looking at Bassam Al Sabbah’s series of small artworks on a pink shelf we wondered if they were portraits of the same young boy through his life. Students in each class identified the writing on the painting as Arabic so we talked about how this artist was from Iraq and this was his language. We wondered if they were his family, if they were in a war because one man looked like he was wearing a soldier uniform.

In looking at Mark Grainier’s photographic image of an upturned car the conversation of whether it was art if it was a photograph was discussed. One student pointed out that the artist may have set up the scene to take the photograph so he was an artist.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Each class then did a workshop in the Project Room after the exhibition visit. Senior Infants made beautiful stained glass artworks using coloured cellophane on sheets of acetate. 4th Class made sun catchers using the coloured cellophane on old CDs and then suspended from sticks. With the reflective surface of the cds we did a little bit of light projection on the ceiling and around the walls. So busy I did not get many images unfortunately.

Brilliant morning with Senior Infants and 4th Class! Great art chats and beautiful artworks made in a very busy morning!


Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown

Week 4 – 4th Class, Holy Family N.S – Weird and Wonderful Mythological Creatures

This week we were bringing together the elements of drawing, line shape and beginnings of form that we had been exploring over the previous weeks. But we were going to link them with our conversations about the zodiac, star constellations and mythological and half man/ half animal – or centaurs. Everyone was going to develop their own mythological creature. We looked at a few examples from ancient history and from around the world….loking at the similarities and different characteristics and styles.

Working first in drawing to develop the creatures. We then transferred these to cut paper shapes so that when we try to make them in papier mache we can identify the forms and shapes needed and how they will be connected. These also created lovely silhouettes as an aside. After break we began working with newsprint to create forms that will become the bodies of our creatures. We scrunched, wrapped and rolled and packed together the newsprint and taped it up so it became tightly bound. Just getting going! All to be continued next week!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Family N.S, Monkstown