With a month away from teaching classes I’m going to be busy working on a fabulous commission for the Vine Inter-church Primary School, Cambourne. Born from the vision of their head teacher, Debbie Higham, as a way to celebrate the school’s 10th birthday, it’s a great project that brings together all the ways I love to work.
While I will have some serious time in the studio on my own with my head down creating in both ceramic and textile the bulk of this project has been about collaboration with the students, governors and teachers. It’s a small piece of public art that will be permanently sited in the main entrance of the school building. I put together a simple proposal with a drawing of my design which went to a panel of children who then shortlisted two proposals they wanted to hear more about. I was then invited to meet with some of the children along with a couple of governors and the head teacher for an interview that took my initial design to a new level by incorporating same great suggestions from the panel. This, I have been told, was why I was the successful artist for the project, I was happy and enthusiastic about their suggestions and included in the proposal more time for workshops to allow for more opportunities to contribute and influence the finished piece.
I love the idea of collaborative creativity and the fact that the finished piece will feel so much more special because of all the input from so many of the people and the community it’s celebrating. I still have the role of artist and have to keep the vision cohesive and the finished piece of a high quality but this is a challenge I love. So far, all the suggestions have added and built upon my original design so I look forward to seeing the finished piece!