‘Chair of Sanctuary’ inspires

The poem written by the poet Rachel Flint that inspired so much of 3H’s Arts Fortnight, is called ‘Meditation’. To grasp what it means to meditate- focus one’s mind for a period of time-the class were encouraged to pause, slow down and respond individually through paint and drawing materials to the calm music playing. Their meditative responses would later be collaged onto their chairs.

Together, we read the poem and discussed what Rachel meant. Could we use our recent shadow puppet skills and make a shadow poem for Meditation? Could this then be shared at Monday’s Collective Worship? The combination of Mrs Harbour’s ingenuity, the kindness of Matthew Bellwood -who loaned his overhead projector- and 3H’s creative collaborations to make lettering, clocks, arrows, slogans and drawings all contributed to a short, simple film.

In the studio, 3H used black paint and thick paint brushes to produce mindful breath painting. They were inspired by the artist Torkwase Dyson. Thin lines using biro was then added. The process was repeated, but this time in colour. These too would feature as collage on the chairs.

Referring back to the poem, 3H began to think about their safe place. What or who made it a ‘sanctuary’? What words did they associate with this place? These words would feature on their own chair. Each child, chose a colour for their chair that represented them. For some it was a pale blue- they supported Manchester City- for others it was vibrant yellow, calming green, delicious pink or energetic red.

Photographs of 3H’s safe place were emailed to school and included bedrooms, Grandma’s house, the sofa, pet dog or cat and the library. Something within the photograph was captured and using acrylic paint made into a backdrop for our chairs. These backdrops included wallpaper prints, duvet cover designs, paw prints, pyjama prints , a grandma in the doorway…

Our chairs had a lot of surface area. They could be viewed from all around. Therefore, it was important to plan where words, photographs and collage would go. Perseverance was required in bucketloads. The ‘feedback sandwich’ highlighted the wow of what we had accomplished so far as well as ‘even better ifs’! Oil pastels and paint markers were used to emphasise and outline.

Each chair, belonged to and was known and understood by the individual who had created it. To celebrate the uniqueness of each child, self-portraits were made. The process shared the need to understand proportions, to notice where our facial features were positioned on our face and to appreciate that our skin was made up of many tints and tones.

Friday’s celebration was memorable in so many ways. Both Bronagh Daly (Art Theologian) and Rachel Flint (poet) joined parents and interested adults from 3H and contributed to the afternoon’s carousel of activities.

The dance to ‘Safe Place’ choreographed by Miss Patchett was beautiful, powerful and emotional. The ‘bubbles’ were enjoyed later with Mrs Harbour!

In the hall there were privileged conversations and opportunities to be ‘present’ as well as create individually, side by side or in collaboration.

The following parental/ interested adult feedback gives a glimpse of 3H’s special celebration:

‘I always find the Arts Fortnight so special! It allows us as a parent to really get involved with our children on a creative and spiritual level. Thank you to all the staff for all your hard work in creating such a magnificent environment for our children to learn and express themselves.’ Holly Sewell

Sanctuary- what a brilliant theme. It is amazing to see children from various countries across the world, cultures coming together to up a great show. The world sees hope and we are optimistic.’ Riaab’s dad

’Very interactive and inspiring sessions. Using art to encourage the kids to share is a wonderful concept. Truly welcome this initiative. We are conscious that children have so much to tell with the little words they know. This will encourage them to share what they feel courageously. Thank you.’ Tameem & Mubeena

’The program is very moving, very well planned. I see the much joy of each student. Good guests including poet & artist. Teachers are brilliant.

This was such a lovely experience and was really insightful to see the kids with their classmates in the school environment. The dance was amazing it actually made me cry and being able to do activities with the kids after was great.

Fantastic celebration with some real meaning and emotion. Thank you all so much. We were so impressed by the children of 3H (and Mrs Harbour and Mrs Woodthorpe)

As always great to see what the children have been doing. Was nice to have a 3rd party there (Bronagh & Rachel).

’Today’s celebration has been very inspiring. I’m glad my child got to experience this event.’

Thank you for this amazing work. The children have been very creative about their safe place.’

’We enjoyed and had a lovely time with our kids. Dance part was amazing and emotional. Writing our safe words on the sofa was brilliant. Daniel really enjoyed the drawing part. Thank you so much for making this great opportunity for us.’

Always really nice to come and see the children in school and all their hard work. They love sharing it with us and every year that fortnight is a safe space for them to share and consider their emotions.

Very interesting to see what children have been doing over the last two weeks. It is amazing to see how engaged they have been and how they really enjoy it.

The afternoon was lovely. It was great to see and understand what the children have been learning over the past two weeks. It has been great to spend time with my daughter in each of the areas.

Very well put together. Dance was very moving. Good 20 minute activities. Lovely to see all the children’s work.

Below is the artwork created in response to being present. Thank you.

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