In 2016 artist Sarah Pimenta worked with teacher Denise Quinn and Year 2 at Blessed Sacrament School on the exhibition Imagine Islington. Sarah supported Denise to design and deliver a 5 workshop programme for the classroom, inspired by Islington Museum’s historic wooden water pipe.
Sarah also worked alongside the pupils in their classroom to create her own new artwork inspired by the water pipe and the pupils.
Why we chose the wooden water pipe:
‘We choose this object to tie in with the artist Andy Goldsworth and use his inspiration from natural forms. Trees are a large part of the natural environment in Islington and it was a good way to encourage appreciation of nature in the local area. I wanted to get the children outside the classroom despite curriculum restraints and SAT’S looming. It encouraged them to make interdisciplinary links and enabled the children to produce inspirational and creative artwork alongside developing their vocabulary. The children have applied their terminology in their writing.’
Blessed Sacrament’s artworks
The pupils created an installation art piece combined a collaborative mixed media leaf collage, individual rainmakers and a collaborative screen printed hanging.
The collage was created from mono printed leaves, rubbings and poly tile blocks, the different colours and textures combining to create a natural canopy. Moving from this visual display the rain makers referenced the sound of water travelling through the historic water log. The rainmakers were decorated in marks created by the pupils in response to sounds of water.
Sarah worked alongside the class to collaborate on a printed banner, working with small groups each workshop to experiment with different printing techniques.
Pupils listened to audio clips of rain, flowing water, rivers, storms and the sea. They worked on sheets of acetate covered with ink, using their fingers and other mark making tools to draw what they heard and imagined. Sarah then immediately printed the acetate onto cloth to create mono prints.
Sarah drew alongside the pupils in the observational drawing activity outdoors. She took both the pupils drawings and her own, cutting them out using a craft knife to create stencils. Sarah and a group of pupils then screen printed the stencils.
Pupils also created interesting natural prints by laying natural objects on to the fabric and screen printing them.
While the class made simple rubbings with natural forms onto paper using wax crayons Sarah made rubbings with natural forms through her silk screen using a water soluble pastel. She then printed them on to fabric.
Sarah then sewed all these individual pieces of fabric into one tactile banner, an artwork exploring both the imagined sound and texture of the historic log, as well as its materiality.
For her own artwork, Sarah selected areas of the printed banner. Using photoshop she edited these designs to incorporate them within the geometric symbol for the tree of life. In this she referenced both the elm tree the log would have been cut from and its new function as a water pipe to bring fresh water to London. The design was digitally printed on to cotton rag paper.
What we thought about the project:
‘As a school we loved the project as the children would be able to celebrate their work in a museum that they knew and loved. It was a fantastic opportunity for the children to work with an artist in the comfort of their own surroundings. It gave the class the option to work with different mediums and see how an experienced artist used her skills.’
‘As a reluctant teacher of any creative art activity, due to management and lack of experience of different art forms, I was nervous. The object you choose is irrelevant as long as you keep an open mind and are willing to give everything a try. The result will be not only a lovely piece of art but a more confident and creative teacher. It’s a great project. Give it a go!’
‘As an artist, I was able to explore the object fully in a way that was relevant and meaningful to the group I was working with, which was inspiring. It was amazing to see how much potential learning /creative approaches/ tangents/ inspirations can arise from a simple object across the curriculum. Art provides the key to open lessons into literacy, geography, history and even maths.’