Thursday, 30 October 2014


I am delighted to have received an Access Star for my contributions to the Access Art website. Its a wonderfully inspiring website for art educators, artists, teachers and creative thinkers.....check it out 

delighted to be part of it.....

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Less people are buying newspapers now, reading news online......thank goodness those that do, are willing to donate them to schools.   In the past they would be used for keeping table clean.   But by the end of the summer term they are sculptures,  technological  constituents and objects of great desire.   SHOES


Pixie boots, clown shoes, moccasins, flip flops, moon boots.   It seemed the list was endless ( unlike the cellotape)  

Teachers dreamed of elegant cocktail parties, and long summer weddings.

Pupils worked together in small groups.  The brief was simple - one shoe, to fit a member of the team, must come on and off. 

The challenges were endless.  
 Making newspaper as strong as leather without relying on the tape, folding, joining, crumpling,  making laces, buckles, football boot studs, heels, bows and bells.   And only using scissors for cutting the tape.

We had to stop the children wearing them home!


Inspiration comes from many directions. It's very often driven by a lack of equipment or a surplus of available junk.  I never turn down the offer of a box or bag of something!  One day, I was sorting out some watercolour paints that I had acquired, a lot of them were beyond saving, but I loved the wee tin boxes.   I also had a bundle of fabric sample books.    So this is what happened.....

The pupils pinned and cut little paper patterns to selected coloured fabric, that represented the colours that appear on the paint palettes.  

The children really gained some understanding of different fabrics, their textures, construction, use, weight etc when handling these samples. They also had to make decisions regarding colour.

The pupils then sewed the patches of colour on to a piece of backing fabric.  All standards of sewing was acceptable, all age groups were involved, as you can see! 

For some schools I was reinforcing a skill that they had previously experienced, sewing clubs are alive and well in some corners of rural Angus.   This was evident in some of the stitching skills that transpired.  A curiosity for sewing was hopefully inspired in other children and maybe some even went home and encouraged Mums and or Dads to dust down the sewing basket.

The little coloured panel was then sewn on to a larger banner which was fixed into the tin and lid.  If I thought I had lost some of the boys when I was giving them sewing instruction, I certainly won them back when the sewing machine was produced.   Inspired by Victorian technology......whatever next! 

The panels are simply hung to create beautiful textile rainbows.

Friday, 21 March 2014



Sometimes pinning drawings to the wall is just not enough.  I wanted my pupils to gather their drawings in the form of a book.

We used goose quills and ink to decorate the front and back covers.  The children learned that repetitive words can make a great pattern and texture, regardless of spelling!  They loved to break all the handwriting rules: no spaces between lines or words, mixing upper and lower case letters, vertical, horizontal and diagonal directions, and drips and splashes allowed.

Drawings were glued together in a long panel and the pages were simply constructed, folded concertina style.  

Simple little fastenings were made by wrapping pieces of scrap fabric around the finished article, and adding the used quill.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Fantastic Feathers

First term, and a three week block of observational drawings.  Not quite finished but too good not to share!
I wanted to get the pupils to really look at details of small, unfamiliar objects.  Feathers seemed to be the perfect thing.  We started off looking at the linear patterns and recreated the feathers with soft pencils and water soluble crayons.

Peacock feathers next, what a gift!  Looking at colour and pattern we used a mixture of pens, watercolour, water soluble graphite and soft pencil.  New words now added to our vocabulary include iridescent, rainbow like.....they sure are.  I have offered £1 for every child that includes it in their next story!  Shall I start saving?

I have really enjoyed floating around my schools with armfuls of peacock feathers! 
 Attention seeking behaviour or what?

Some of the infants got involved too, can you spot which drawings are theirs?  

Looking at texture and tone now, with white feathers, chalk and black pen on black paper.  Studies too of the best little spotty Guinea Fowl feathers.  

We drew the feathers twice the size to include the detail and introduce the idea of scale.

Some of the classes used masking fluid with watercolour to try and reproduce the patterns of dots on the Guinea Fowl feathers.

I plan to make these drawings into wee books - next term....