St. Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphy’s 5th/6th class with Artist Jane Groves.

Session 11… Clay Selfies

Carmel had asked me if we could use clay today, so it was decided that wed work again with self portraits. we talked about where clay come from, how it is processed. where it can be found in our local environment etc and then recapped on the children’s experience in using clay at the school. pinch pots, coiling, making impressions and of the technique of ‘smearing’ and using slip to bind.

The class were given mirrors and we discussed the anatomy of the face, how the face is built onto the skeleton etc.we looked at how to build up a small head and shoulders sculpture, discussing how in reality the head is positioned on the neck and the proportions of the features.

Everyone has interpreted the project in a different way, with some of the children still preferring to create a cartoon representation. we’ve decided to go with it and have fun! after all that’s what creativity is about!

Theres still more fun to be had here… so everything is wrapped up ready for next session .

St Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphy’s 5th/6th class with Artist Jane Groves

Session 10.. In the clouds..

Today we worked on finishing our second cloud and on decorating the forms. It was decided by the class that they wanted to incorporate some natural materials.Half the class went on a foraging mission ( taking care not to steal any daffodils from the school garden!) while the remainder worked on covering the clouds ready for the additions to be embedded in the paper.

The children also worked on creating wishes which we decided would be hung from the clouds, these ranged from aspirations for the environment to ´I wish my dad would give up smoking´ to wanting to win the lottery! the children wrote and illustrated onto card and then these were attached with string.





St Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphy’s 5th/6th class with Artist Jane Groves

Session 9…. Making Shapes..

Today we moved on from printing as it was decided that we needed to experiment with something 3D. I had bought in some Buff willow and after talking to the class about where it grows ? what it was used for historically and today? I told the class much to their initial disappointment that we would be starting our maths lesson!

Each table worked together to make circles, bending the willow and then attaching with masking tape, each group had to measure the circles together and were then asked to make spheres. I asked the tables to attach the spheres together to construct an abstract cloud shape.

we discussed the transformation of clouds both in the literal and metaphorical sense and then I showed the class some of the wet strength tissue paper I had bought.

The paper is dropped into PVA glue and then squeezed out….a gloopy messy process! Then stretched over our cloud shapes.

St Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphys 5th/6th class with artist Jane Groves.

Session 8.. Some Beautiful Selfies..

Today we continued working on the printing press using the techniques we had learnt last week.

Dry point etching can be a meticulous process, but the class worked brilliantly and with patience. There was much excitement as the images were rolled through the press for the ‘Big reveal’ and some beautiful pieces of art made.


Some people who finished early, worked on some of the large pieces of foam board I had left last week and created some seasonal panels

St Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphys 5/6th class with Artist Jane Groves.

Session 7 … Introducing the printing press.

I’m totally bias, but I think my printing press is amazing ! I recently bought a small mobile press and I was really excited to bring it into the class to show the students.Today I demonstrated a way to make prints through dry point etching which is a process where an image is etched with a scribe onto aluminium or in this case perspex plate and then inked over, the ink is then removed using a cloth called scrim, only remaining in the etched grooves ( It is the opposite way of printing to our initial experiments on foam board where the line drawn is the negative image.) Once the plate is ready, it is placed on the printing table with some pre soaked printing paper and rolled through the heavy rollers of the press.

We have been talking over the last few weeks about transformation and the way nature and ultimately ourselves are constantly changing, I thought it would be a nice idea to work on some self portraits, so we took some ´selfies’ which we worked over using clear perspex and utilising some of the expressive marks we have been developing.

A few students printed their work through the press while the remainder finished off their plates ready for next week.


St Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphys 5th/6th class with Artist Jane Groves

Session 6… Mosaic printing

Moving on from last weeks session I demonstrated how print designs could be developed by cutting out pieces of foam board to create an image, this can also be used in conjunction with last weeks technique which involves making indentations with a very sharp pencil

The class made some stunningly beautiful images they’re really getting the hang of printing, and are learning to mix colours.

After our session we investigated some more provocation boxes and learnt a bit more about each other.

St Columbanus N.S loughlinstown

Carmel Murphys 5th/ 6th class with Artist Jane Groves

Session 5… More Transformations, mark making and print.

I always see winter as a great opportunity to examine the beauty of decay in the ark of seasonal transformation.Today I bought in a selection of seed heads,a discarded birds nest, feathers, cones and some fascinating bird skulls for the children to draw from.I encouraged the class to be inspired by the expressive mark making of the last session and explained that because we would develop these ideas into prints, that we would use marks rather than shading techniques

we began by drawing from the stimuli and then I demonstrated how a drawing could be made onto foam board and then printed using rollers and water based printing ink.


The children worked steadily and transformed their drawings into some beautiful prints

St. Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphys 5th/6th class with artist Jane Groves

Session 4.. Responding to Music

Today we wanted to explore mark making using music as a catalyst for response.we listened to a variety of music which I felt evoked our theme of transformation such as music of the mountains,’sea scene’ by kila, ‘African River’ by John de cart, ‘Gradual Motion’ by Peter Jones, Vivaldis ´Four Seasons’ etc.

We described mark making using works like, rolling, racing, flowing, urgent, spiky, pointed etc. We used a variety of mediums, pencil chalk and paint. working with our eyes closed, open and then using in conjunction with some collected natural materials

After our music session and a break we took a look at 3 more provocation boxes, from Summer, Simone and David we  learnt more about each other and it was a great opportunity to reflect on how different we all are.


St. Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphy’s 5th/ 6th class with Artist Jane Groves.

Session 3 …’Being Here’

Today we took a good look at the space around us and examined our place in it, the class used mindfulness to try to be hyper aware to their present moment using all their senses to record the space walked through.

Outside in the playground the children tried to point to various landmarks using clues like sounds, smells, bird flight etc, where was the sea?, the Wicklow mountains? the M50? Dublin ? their own house? We walked down to the river and discussed where it came from and where it was going.

Back in the classroom we used 3 different pieces of paper to map the school and its surrounds

After our map making we looked out some of the provocation boxes made by the children who shared with us some of their treasures and interests.Today was the turn of Aran, Jessica and Layla. The boxes provide stimulus to talk about ourselves and for us to listen mindfully


St. Columbanus National School Loughinstown

Session 2…. Provocation box and making visual diaries

Today we further discussed the idea of learning through the process and of keeping a record of what we are doing. we made visual diaries which are to be concertina type books inside some beautiful boxes I had sourced. measuring and folding the paper took quiet a lot of concentration. 

I bought in a ´provocation box´… a box full of interesting objects which explained who I am and objects which creatively stimulate me. I showed the children the box and invited them to fill their own provocation box /diaries with things which are important to them which we will look at over the next few weeks


After we had finished making the visual diaries where the children can record our experiences together, we brainstormed the idea of ‘Transformation’ a concept I think well integrate more. we talked about change in ourselves and our external environment.