Journeys/Land, Sea and Sky Triptych – winner 1st prize

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Journeys/Land, Sea and Sky Triptych – winner 1st prize

Filed under: 2010 entries
School: Garden Suburb Infant School
Location: Barnet, London
Artist: Maureen O'Kane
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This mosaic was a inspired by the painting ‘Tobias and the Angel’ from the workshop of Verrocchio which was the focus of the ‘Take One Picture’ scheme run by the National Gallery and enthusiastically taken up by the school under the direction of the infant school art co-ordinator Sarah Jowsey.

There are 270 children in the school – 3 classes in each year group – so 9 classes in total. The children in Reception, Years 1 and 2 were working on a variety of cross curricular activities based on the painting and through discussion with them and their teachers it was decided to create a whole school mosaic piece on the theme of journeys – Tobias was making a long journey with the Archangel Raphael to collect a potion for his blind father.

All the design work came from the children and each year group focused on either Land, (year 1) Sea (reception) or Sky (Year 2) and every child made a design collage or painting of one element of theme. From these I drew up the final design then, after approval worked again with each class for one lesson each, where every child made the piece they had designed for the mosaic – either a small ceramic piece or mosaic section. These were all laid out to form the design onto 3 x 1m square boards and over 6 days the children, teachers, assistant teachers, lunch time supervisers and parent helpers came to the temporary artists studio at the back of the hall to contribute to the mosaic. It was finished, grouted and installed in the newly decorated, colour co-ordinated foyer.

The piece was constructed using porcelain and vitreous glass tiles of colours in keeping with Italian renaissance– with small mirror tiles that glint under the spotlights, combined with small relief ceramic pieces of fish, coins, potion bottles and wave foam made by the children.

No sponsorship was received and the piece took at least 12 days school contact then incalculable hours for finishing and grouting.

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