Opening ceremony for new build entrance and children's mural at All Saints' C of E Junior School, Warwick, 23rd March 2010-Headmaster Richard Machin, Architect Darren Chadwick GCG Construction, Fine Artist Jo Murphy, The Bishop of Coventry,The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth.

Creative Process 

Mission Statement

To create an inclusive piece of artwork inspired by the children's favourite things about their school. The finished piece will occupy an exterior wall, as part of a new build entrance area, commissioned to coincide with the school's 50th birthday. This artwork should complement the dynamics of the new architecture and enhance the sense of welcome as you approach the entrance to the building.


 

Starting in class

I began with 'brainstorming' sessions, alongside the teachers, developing the children's ideas to a stage where they could all visualise and draw something on A4 paper. Each class produced a fascinating range of images that could be grouped into similar themes i.e. sport, music, the eco garden etc.... 

 
 

Design Consultation

After consulting with everyone involved, I designed a 'skyline' backdrop, featuring Warwick Castle and All Saints' Church. I chose the five lines of the music stave to run through the composition, linking different themes.

 

 

Drawing plans and making samples

Back in my studio I produced several working drawings, gradually building up scale, colour and finalising a plan of the composition. I deliberately included several large curves in the design to reflect the curved lines of the new office and emphasis the sense of movement and energy generated by this busy, exciting school. 

 

 

Choosing Materials

I wanted to use the actual drawings and 3D reliefs made by the children, but the outside location dictated using durable materials. After sourcing several alternatives, I decided to combine the traditional art of collage with digital technology, to create a ceramic mural. Sample collages and tiles showed us that this process would create a long lasting mural whilst retaining a hand crafted beauty, depth and texture.

 

Working in school

The children enjoyed seeing their work transformed into a collage, attached to a board, a quarter size of the wall space. Original artwork was enlarged and then adhered (goalkeeper image), or included as part of a larger piece (seed packet) and brought to life in 3D (pop-up book, sunflower). The finished collage was then photographed and the printing/firing process began.

 Evaluation

This was a fantastic educational opportunity to demonstrate step by step, how ideas are developed through to a finished product, using contemporary, technical skills.Bringing every class together in this project has brought tremendous pride, pleasure and a heightened sense of school ownership to both the staff, students and wider community.