This Twickenham catholic school for girls was celebrating its centenary year in 2014 and commissioned me to make a special artwork which would represent everybody at the school. 'The Centenary Vine' I designed consists of 380 glazed ceramic 'pupils' leaves, 65 ceramic 'staff' fruit and a large number of textured pieces which make up the vine trunk and branches. I love to work with clay and it's a great medium for projects which involve a large number of people - it gives everyone the opportunity to express themselves in a creative and personal way.
Hard work painting around all around those leaves though!
This was my fourth project as ‘Artist-in-Residence’ for this very creative new primary school in Middlesex. I was commissioned to make four large wall hangings for the school’s meeting room.
The theme we decided on was the four elements. The first stage involved getting lots of ideas and drawings from groups of children.
I wanted a creative and fun hands-on experience for the children. They were able to choose from all the different fabrics, threads, braids, buttons & beads etc. and to learn how to sew what they had drawn & cut out.
This 2 sq. metre mosaic panel is situated by the Nursery school entrance. Strand on the Green is renowned for its beautiful footpath which runs along the bank of the Thames and is lined with imposing 18th century houses and pubs. All the children from Nursery to Year 2 took part in the project.
The children were initially asked to think about the local environment and to draw relevant pictures. They learned how their pictures were used to form the whole design and how it was made into a mosaic using hundreds of pieces of glass or ceramic tiles.
The mosaic workshops were specially adapted to suit this young age group to ensure maximum learning and a safe working environment.
The mosaic was unveiled by the world famous artist Sir Peter Blake.
I was commissioned to work with a group of children to create a special mosaic to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the school.
The design was inspired by Northolt's local heritage, depicting sites of historic interest such as the old Village Clock, St Mary’s Church and Northolt Park Racecourse (which closed at the end of the 2nd World War and is now a large housing estate and school). The old manor of Northall (Northolt) was recorded in the Doomsday book in 1086.
It also includes more modern landmarks - the The Leisure Centre, the A40 & Target Roundabout and the Northala Fields.
Northala fields are four artificial hills next to the A40, as well as several fishing lakes. The hills were constructed using rubble from the demolition of the original Wembley Stadium.
I was asked to devise a special mosaic project to create an artwork in memory of a little girl called Caitlyn who went to the school that had sadly died. The family and staff wanted it to reflect the child’s happy demeanour and artistic flair (as she used to love making colourful pictures) and to create a peaceful and uplifting art installation for all to enjoy for years to come. The mosaic artworks are installed in a quiet internal courtyard at the school and has been named 'Caitlyn's Courtyard'.
The many flowers included in the form of a large hot air balloon were made by her sister Megan’s Year 2 class and also by Caitlyn’s close friends in Yr 4. Her mother and grandmother worked closely with me and fellow artist Susie John throughout the project (& also her father for one day) and they created the beautiful large flowers on stalks, two of which include their special words.
In 2008 Bishop Gilpin Church of England Primary School celebrated 250 years of educating children, formerly as National School and then as Old Central School.
To celebrate this I was commissioned to work with the children to make three separate mosaic pieces for the entrance hall ‘welcome area’ of the school.
One being the central decorative cross, which was unveiled and blessed by The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on 17th July 2009 after a celebration service at the local church followed by a special tour of the school.
The mosaics were designed and made by a group of ten children from each of the two Year 6 classes who were leaving their work as a lasting legacy to the school
This was an 'Art Week' project to make a large permanent mosaic for the new school hall extension.
The tree is over four metres tall. It was made in sections on fibreglass mesh using an interesting collection of mosaic pieces including pebbles & buttons.
Part of the project was to make special clay leaves on which the children inscribed the school’s values.
Children designed and made birds in the colours of the classroom names, for example the Reception classes are called Orange and Red.
A lovely small project working with a group of talented and enthusiastic children from Years 4 - 6.
The mosaic is situated by the school entrance to welcome visitors. The design came from children’s drawings, who were asked to think about the school values and what it is like to be part of their school and to include the school’s bell logo and motto ‘Proud to belong’.
Here’s what the school said afterwards - “We all enjoyed working with you so much and it was so exciting to try something new! We are so happy with the final result!”
Decorative mosaic frames (borders) installed around the six mirrors in the garden adjacent to the River Thames at this lovely Arts Centre in Walton.
I worked with children from Ashley Primary, Manby Lodge Infants and Bell Farm Junior - 3 of the 9 'Values' schools in the Walton/Weybridge area who devised this 'pupils led' collaborative project.
Each mosaic mirror border is a different rainbow colour, with the name of the value at the base and a fitting symbol at the top.
My mosaic work, together with another mosaic installation by Kim Porrelli (who worked with 3 other schools), formed 'The Values Garden'.
This was a large scale project to create seven 2 metre high mosaic panels for this new school’s large entrance area (atrium).
This project was devised by myself and fellow community artist Susie John. We ran mosaic workshops at the school for children and staff to learn mosaic and contribute individual pieces to go into the panels. Over several months, we made 7 panels which represent the Seven Days of Creation, including many Jewish symbols and Hebrew script. The handmade ceramic Hebrew lettering at the bottom of the middle panels forms the sentence which translates to ‘These and These are the words of the Living God’ - the school’s motto.
I worked with children during their summer art week, creating colourful paper mosaics to decorate the pillars in the main school corridor. Older children were invited to make ceramic tile mosaic leaves and cherries, which were to form the basis of my mosaic border for a wooden plinth in the corridor.
I was also commissioned to make decorative mosaics for one of the pillars as a permanent installation. These depicted cherry trees in Spring, Summer and Autumn and incorporated the words Inspire, Nurture and Challenge, the schools key values. Cherries are the school logo as the school site was formerly a cherry orchard.
Belmont Primary celebrated its centenary Year 2004 and I was commissioned to create with the children three 2 metre square panels representing the themes of curriculum, leisure and people.
The panels are made of broken tiles & crockery, vitreous mosaic tiles and a variety of found objects & materials. I involved children from years 1 to 3 in the design whilst the mosaic making was done by year 5. The children in year 6 made the clay faces and school objects.
The panels were unveiled by local celebrity Al Murray “The Pub Landlord” who made all the children laugh.
Gardening Club Mosaic - This was a small Lottery funded project to make a colourful mosaic panel to decorate the wall of the school’s nursery building. The intention of the project was to promote community cohesion offering an inclusive, creative activity involving children and their parents and to get more people involved with the Gardening Club at the school.
The successful resulting artwork received these comments: “We cannot thank you enough for the fantastic job you did creating the beautiful mosaic with the children. Not only is it a fabulous work of art, it also helped the Gardening Club to involve more parents and pupils in our activities”.
The school wanted to celebrate 2012 - the year of Queen's Diamond Jubilee and of course the London Olympics. The large mosaic panel (2 x 1 metres) that is located in the school hall shows the river Thames all the way from Kingston down to the Olympic Park in the East End.
The design incorporates both local landmarks such as the sculpture 'Out of Order' by Scottish sculptor David Mach mae of 12 K^ telephone boxes, the first one upright , the rest gradually falling over like dominos, as well as city buildings like the 'Gerkin'.
The whole school was involved in drawings and designs, whilst the mosaic was made by small groups of children from year 4 to 6.
This mosaic was commissioned to celebrate a lovely new building extension, which is a learning centre for the school. The design incorporates the school’s motto ‘Everyone Learning Together’. The school wanted to include its values which are captured in leaves decorated by the children.
The school’s multicultural intake is captured in the clay faces made by the children.
This decorative hot air balloon incorporating the school name is near the entrance to the school. A swan is part of the school badge and whilst different images are used to represent the school's values.
The mosaic was made by year 6 children who as a legacy for the school.It is made from ceramic tiles and glass mosaic tiles and measures 1.5 metres across and approximately 2.30 in height with the basket included.
This large mosaic panel was made for the school foyer. It depicts the local environment with special emphasis on nature and wildlife
I worked with groups of years 2-6 children chosen for their artistic abilities. The children researched and made sketches of the area taking in local landmarks such as the Polish War Memorial & after discussing their ideas and what they wanted to include, I adapted their drawings accordingly to make a large scene or composition
The mosaic making was a very creative process allowing for children to get involved doing something which was appropriate to their talents and abilities using a large choice of mosaic materials.
"After much research I discovered Sue's web-site and was inspired by the quality of her work with Primary school children. The project in Downe Manor was a fantastic experience for pupils and adults alike. We all learned such a lot and what a fabulous outcome - the mosaics are now part of the school's heritage and the children will remember the research, designing and making of this masterpiece for the rest of their lives. Thank you Sue!"
Elizabeth McAllister, Headteacher Downe Manor Primary School
This primary school is near Heathrow. I was asked to lead a creative mentoring project with ten Year 4/5 children to help develop their skills and confidence.
We used clipped vitreous mosaic tiles used to make colourful, ethnic design patterns of an internal pillar which was transformed into ‘totempole’
Hounslow Children’s Fund/C.I.P. scheme funded the work.
"The end result exceeded our expectations and the children who took part gained a great deal of knowledge and skills as well as a tremendous sense of achievement"
A circular mosaic panel (1.5 metre diameter) made for the outside entrance area of the school to welcome children, parents and staff. The theme of colourful hands and happy children’s faces were used to show the multi-cultured nature of the school.
A large blue & green world in the middle of the mosaic (made of bathroom tiles) also illustrates the global values of education.
I ran design workshops with a group of 10 gifted & talented artistic children to establish the artwork for the mosaic, which was then made in workshops with groups of children from Year 4 & 5.
Pelham school wanted me to run a project to make mosaics for two recessed arches on a wall in the playground. The designs are by a Year 2 boy who was the winner of the school's mosaic design competition. They were chosen for the simple but bold imagery and the way they captured children's ideas about 'City' and 'Countryside'. The design translated very well to the medium of mosaic and the looks effective from a distance.
The mosaic was made by Year 5 children, using a variety of household and mosaic tiles as well as some fun bits & pieces like beads and tiny pebbles.
Founded in 1700 the school now occupies a fine Victorian building in Drury Lane in the heart of Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, London.
The mosaic panel (2 x 1m) depicts the Thames, famous London buildings & landmarks, together with St Clement Danes School and its 'anchor' emblem
This was an exciting, hands-on project involving the whole school. The intricate mosaic work was done with my help by year 5 & 6 children.
The mosaic also includes important events at the time of making - The 'Make Poverty History' campaign and the winning of the Olympic Games by London.
The school commissioned me to make a commemorative sundial with inset mosaic panels, to mark the 150 years since the school was founded. I worked with a small group of Year 5 children to make the mosaic panel inserts, which were made in reverse on sticky back plastic.
The panels depict the following:
- St Michael's school badge & the 4 school house symbols.
- The Victorian school building entrance and Church of England Cross.
- The London Olympics
- The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
St Michael's was built in 1862, but when the new term started in September 1863, the log book shows that there were several children missing because they were still at work. The school day was regularly disrupted by absence for reaping and potato picking. A school inspection in 1868 found the writing to be excellent, the reading fair and the discipline perfect.
The William Hogarth School opened in October 2001 and is sited in the building of the old Hogarth Primary School. Eager not to lose any connections with Hogarth, a famous Chiswick resident, artist and philanthropist, the school has reflected the link in their school logo, a paint palette and naming each class after a famous painter. They place special value on artistic and creative activities.
These four mosaic panels are displayed together on a prominent wall on the main staircase in the school.
I worked closely with four groups of year 5/6 children on all stages of the mosaic project, including initial ideas and design workshops.
Younger children also learned about mosaic and contributed to the mosaic panel borders.
Ravenscourt Park Preparatory school is a private school in Chiswick. The mosaic was commissioned to mark the school’s 10th Anniversary as part of an ‘Art & Technology Week’.
The school wanted every pupil to be involved, so the simplest work such as the border was carried out by the youngest children whilst the birds/animals were created by year 6 children.
This was an 'Art Partnership Scheme' involving three local schools. The project explored the theme of 'time' which included the hours on the sundial and seasons on the four panels.
I worked with year 3 children to develop ideas and the design and then they attended mosaic-making workshops.
Sundial designed by Keith Bunting at Merlin Sundials
Just some of the many other projects that I have worked on.
The outside wall of new building accommodating large new hall had a recess for left specially for an artwork. Working closely with the headteacher and the art specialist teacher we developed a bold, contemporary design based on use of colour and the school tree logo . It draws inspiration from David Hockney’s huge tree paintings. Children submitted their designs based on this and together we created a large scale mosaic - 3 x 2 metres (6 square meters) consisting of 25 panels (60 x 40cm). It is a mixed media mosaic which large numbers of children from Years 2 - 6 took part in making . I worked closely with children and had invaluable help from parent volunteers and TAs.
Barnes Primary School has a very high standard of art. I worked closely with a Year 4 teacher who was the project co-ordinator. He involved children and staff in the design process so that everything they wanted would be included - the river, railway cottages, allotments and children walking to school. It was quite challenge getting everything in.
Very creative, hands-on project working with small groups from Years 3 - 6