|A template for a glass tile.|
Thursdays have fast become my 8 year old DD’s favourite day at school – so much so, that this week she crossed her fingers her flu would be better before Thursday so she wouldn’t have to miss school. The reason behind her enthusiasm is due to a talented and creative duet of artists, namely Marie Brett and Gana Roberts, who come to the school on Thursdays to teach the children the exciting craft of working with glass. After the first Thursday, my DD came home fired with enthusiasm and stated that she already knows what she wants for next Christmas – a kiln!
|The Kiln that has fires glass and young imaginations!|
Marie and Gana, in an ambitious research and development pilot project launched in 2005, worked with a panel of primary school teachers to develop ideas for a school artist-in-residence project. This would enable children to work creatively with glass and metal in a safe, controlled and inspriing way. The idea became successfully established and well supported. Between 2007 and 2009, six artist-in-residence projects took place in West Cork National Schools.
The artist in school residencies are in partnership with the school class teacher and are closely linked to the school’s Visual Arts curriculum plus also offer cross-curricular opportunities.
|Laying the fused glass cuttings onto a design.|
Due to popular demand in 2009, a second panel of teachers was established for training and consultation. One school artist-in-residence project was delivered in 2010 as well as a mentor scheme (in partnership with West Cork Arts Centre) established with Marie Brett as mentor. Four school artist-in-residence programmes are planned in the West Cork region for this year.
The programme is called “Fun with Glass” and it is child focused and fully interactive making it a memorable and fun challenge for the kids. Fused glass (in an assortment of colours I did not even know glass could come in) is used along with metalwork to create wonderful patterns. Parents have an open-ended invitation to attend during the session and after finding out what time it was on, I did not hesitate to visit. The class is divided into small workable groups of between 4 – 6 children which ensures optimum attention and each group has a given a time slot for the day to come into the hall (where Marie and Gana had set up in this particular case) and get creative.
|Not as easy as it looks – I also had a go at this (parent interactive too) and found that one needs quite a bit of skill to knit with metal.|
As a parent, I was so impressed with the calm, easy manner in which the children were allowed to explore and use the different materials. Armed with safety goggles and encouragement they set about nurturing their creativity by knitting with metal thread, marking and clipping glass, selecting colours and designing glass tiles. A portable kiln had been brought in so that the children could witness the entire procedure from start to finished product.
Fun with Glass is a primary level Arts in Education project in partnership with West Cork Education Centre, Cork County Council Library & Arts Service, artist Marie Brett and craftsperson, Gana Roberts.
For more information and inspriation please visit Marie’s website at http://www.mariebrett.ie/