Small Schools Arts Day at Bedales Prep

Bedales Prep, Dunhurst

The Art department at Bedales Prep welcomed local primary school children for a morning of creativity on Wednesday 17 January when it hosted its Small Schools Arts Day.

A group of students from Froxfield, Steep, Sheet, East Meon, West Meon and Buriton primary schools attended the Prep School for an immersive morning of Art. The schools were mixed and split into two groups for the morning, where they each took part in a Ceramics session led by Eva Caiger-Smith, Teacher of Ceramics and an Art session led by Susan McFarlane, Head of Art and Design. 

The main theme of the day was nature; local and afar. In the Art session, the groups discussed Gilbert White and his Natural History of Selbourne, thinking about the local wildlife. To begin, pupils drew from examples and played several drawing games to get their eyes in, before creating relief prints of an animal they had chosen. The children also created their own booklets of 2D artwork, taking inspiration from Gilbert White. 

Susan said: “Although he was a naturalist and not an artist, White looked at and observed the world around him, noticing new species and describing, with detail, all he saw. That’s what artists do too; they notice things.”

In the Ceramics workshops, the groups focussed on David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet, looking at the wildlife that inhabits the Antarctic. Attenborough was inspired by Gilbert White, speaking of him as “a man in total harmony with this world”. With fresh stoneware clay, the students cut out silhouette shapes of their chosen animals before adding surface details with tools and stamping the creations with their initials. The pieces will be left to dry out before being fired in the kiln, when Eva will then glaze the models and add a magnet so that the children can enjoy them at home. 

The Small Schools Arts Day is one of a number of joint initiatives that take place throughout the year, strengthening Bedales’ educational partnerships and sharing its facilities and expertise with the wider community. 

Head of Bedales Prep Colin Baty commented: “It is wonderful to be continuing our partnership with local primary schools and working with children across several schools at the recent Arts Day. We enjoyed having over 20 students join us for the morning, and it was great to see such creativity too!”