Keith Tyson: Turn Back Now


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Great Pottery Throw Down

Exciting times for us throwers and bake off fans alike. The week was beginning to look very empty  without a weekly dose of the wholesome Mary Berry and the steely eyed Paul Hollywood testing for the ‘perfect rise’. I personally love the competition and the inherent joy there is in watching people make things. Ok maybe they are just picking the contestants because they make ‘good’ television, but regardless of that, these people have a real love and a passion for what they do. Putting yourself out there and being prepared for the rest of the world to watch you fail is not to be taken lightly. The Great British Throw Down’ has finally returned to fill the void of the bake off. This year a fresh faced group of potters will bring  the joy of centering back into our lives. Ryan, a model from Ipswich is already making ‘waves’ by winning pot of the week, and the technical challenge by throwing the tallest cone. Impressive. Check out the next episode Thursday BBC 2 at 8.00 pm. The program also has a great soundtrack. Whats not to love?

Gorgeous Ryan had the BBC viewers going potty

Ryan’s blue and white dinner service came tops

Winning dinner service thrown by Ryan, inspired by his grandmother

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The pleasures of the Flesh

I recently paid a visit to the lovely medieval walled city of York. Part of the reason for my visit was to see the newly refurbished  Art gallery. York now hosts the Center for the Ceramic Arts, and I wanted to see how they had transformed the gallery space and what was in the collection itself. I was not disappointed. Having a real passion for ceramics I was deeply impressed by the outstanding collection they have on display. The ceramic center itself is situated on the upper floor of the building, as soon as you enter the second floor you are met with an instillation piece. A structure covered in Bowls . Communities of helpers within York and beyond have assisted the artist Claire Twomey in the production of the bowls. Each bowl takes an hour to make and represents one of the 10,000 hours it is said to take to become a master craftsman.Its pretty impressive and awe inspiring when you think about it that way. There are also cases all around this room, displaying ceramics by some of the worlds best know potters, my particular favorites being those by Lucie Rie, James Tower and Hans Coper. These cabinets are full of pots with personality. Quiet pots, loud pots, huge and tiny pots weird and wonderful pots, reflecting the makers own individual quirkiness and skill in working with his wonderfully versatile material we call clay.  The back gallery features a rainbow wall of pots categorizing  by colour. Touch screens enable you to locate and find information about each individual piece on display.





Pottery is at once the simplest and the most difficult of all arts’
Herbert Read, 1931

The adjoining gallery had work curated and made by the artist Mark Herald . Vibrant sketchbooks collage work and cobalt horses fill this space. This is a temporary exhibition.

Downstairs on the ground floor is another new gallery space, its very smart, currently exhibiting a show called ‘Flesh’. This show had on display some terrific paintings from Peter Paul Rubens to more ‘shocking’ modern works by Jenny Saville. There was also sculpture by artists inducing Barry Flanagan. The works were both amusing, shocking and beautiful in equal measure. The only downside is that this Gallery used to be free to the public now, due to cuts in funding: you have to pay to see any of the work exhibited here you can however buy an annual ticket.  I think it’s worth it. Flesh continues at the York Center for Ceramic Arts until the 19th of March.


Sculpture by Barry Flanagan                 Sand and Muslin



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A chip off the old block with Artist Simon kent

Last week all Year 9 Artists were involved in the breeze block carving workshop. Simon has visited us a few times before and the student have always really  enjoyed this workshop. Our theme this year was organic forms so students have designed and carved abstract pieces based on shells plant and animal forms. Many thanks again to Simon Kent for coming in and running this very popular workshop.


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If you missed this incredibly powerful piece of public art which took place all over the country to commemorate those who died during the  battle of the Somme 100 years ago in France on the 1st Of July, then you can check it out through this link. I found it very powerful and one of the most moving pieces of performance art I have seen in a very long time.

Perhaps it is poignant time to remember that we are here because they are not.

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Last Friday all Year 10 artists took part in an artists workshop led by William Ashley-Norton. Joe Loughran had the opportunity to do a quick  interview with the visiting artist. Check out his interview below. Visit for more information about CHICKEN wired workshops and sculpture kits. Many thanks to William for a terrific workshop!

wire workshop 002

Artist William Norton and Joe

Artist William and Joe talking about his work

Why did you start making Art?

“I started making Art because one day my dad asked me to do the fencing and I ended up making a dragon out of the wire. From this day on, I have always been making art using wire.”

Why did you choose to make animals?

“I chose to make animals because I wanted to see how far I could test myself, animals come in all shapes and sizes so they are a good challenge and each and every one of them is unique.”

Why did you choose to work with Chicken wire?

“I chose chicken wire because there is nothing you can’t do with it, they can be made into any shape and size. You can also add a lot of detail to it as well as being able to make 3D art.”

What is the biggest thing you’ve ever made?

“In 2006, I made a 12ft man called Colossus; it took me 3 weeks to make him. I spent 4-5 hours a day working on him.”

What artists inspire you?

“David Begbie inspired me to make wire art, I love the way he uses different details in wire to make different shades in the wire.”

When did you first realize you could do Art workshops professionally?

“I had an exhibition in 2006 where different art teachers approached me asking whether I could do this as a workshop for kids, so during that summer I did a few workshops and since then I’ve increased how many workshops I’ve done and continued to this day.”

Interview By Joe Loughran

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Thank you

We the Art Department would like to thank all the boys, parents and guests who came to see the Art Show this year. We appreciate it is a busy time of year for all and it was great to see those who attended. This is a real opportunity for the whole school community  to celebrate the hard work achieved by students. If you were unable to make the show work will still be up until September so do pop in and take a look. One of the Art staff will be more than happy to show you around.

 Naim Rahman in front of his coursework

Naim Rahman in front of his coursework


art show 005

By Nathaniel Davidson

By Nathaniel Davidson

By Emma Corden

By Emma Corden

art picks for planner 004

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Welcome to Chris Geeson Potter in residence

We would like to officially welcome our artist in residence Chris Geeson. Chris will be here working in the department for the duration of this year producing his own work and helping out with students work. Chris studied at De Montford University in Lincoln. We asked him a few questions about his experience with clay.

You work and teach at the Place in Sherwood, how did you get involved in that? My mother has run the pottery business for the last 25 years so it’s a family business. I’ve been working there for 14 years. How do you find the people that you teach respond to clay? Most people respond to it really well, it’s  a very intuitive medium to work with because its natural. What’s your first memory of clay? Making a pinch pot when I was about 11. What kind of clay do you like to work with? I prefer coiling or sculpting using highly grogged clay. What inspires your work? Natural forms anything which has texture. My forms can be quite plant like. Who is your favourite potter? I find work by the sculptor Barbara Hepworth inspiring and the pots of Peter Haynes.  Haynes often abandons his pots in rivers and the sea and leaves them to be worked on by the elements. Do you like to use colour? I like to use coloured clay bodies instead of lots of glaze on my pots. What do you love most about clay? That you can make it into just about any form that you want. What’s the most frustrating thing about clay? The chance that work might split or not survive the firing process, this can be very disappointing. What do you hope to gain from this residency? It will be good to get experience working with other people and of course to have the time and space to make my own work! There is not much opportunity to do that when you teach! Coffee or tea? Coffee, Black.

Chris burnishing his pot with a spoon.

Chris burnishing his pot with a spoon.

Interested in pottery? then why not contact ‘The Place’ in Sherwood Nottingham, for course dates and  information.

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Feeling negative

Well at long last and after several technical hitches the darkroom is (nearly) up and running! With the unfaltering aid and enthusiasm of sixth form photographer Raffie Charles , we have converted the old unused physics dark room already helpfully fitted with a safe light and extractor fan, (currently serving  as a book store) into a working darkroom. After finding and borrowed varying levels of kit, most importantly our enlarger, (without which we couldn’t develop our negatives into prints) we were on our way. Its been a bit of a steep learning curve, after years of not having the facility of a darkroom or a film loading camera (mine was unfortunately stolen some years ago) I’ve had to re-learn from scratch most of the basics, as it has been about ten years since I did this type of ‘old school’ film photography. Nothing can quite beat the magic of watching a picture develop onto light sensitive paper. After experimental dabbling with contact prints it was time to get serious, load up the SLR camera and get out there to shoot some film.


Durst enlarger in parts as we try to work out how to put a new bulb in…




















Literally seconds after plugging in our fab enlarger, the bulb goes pop.


2 pin point plug from Maplin, only £4.99. Love Maplin!










Time to get that film developed. Have you ever tried opening a film canister in total darkness using a tin opener? (not the correct tool use a bottle opener as this works much better). Open the film canister at the bottom, the flat bottom, not at the top! My first mistake… Luckily for me I have practiced winding film onto a reel in complete darkness with practice film. Unfortunately this utterly failed to help me as I wrestled with getting this particular film wound onto the reel in a complete panic in total darkness. Half an hour later, and bingo!

Remember you need total darkness when handling film, no safe light is safe!

Remember you need total darkness when handling film, no safe light is safe!

All thanks to the physics technician for helping me do some maths and get the chemicals mixed correctly and at the correct temperature 20C to be exact for our 400 speed film. We developed for 7 and a half minutes stop one minute and fix 3 minutes. After all the chemicals had been worked through in the correct order: DEVELOPER, STOP and finally FIX. The film was washed for 5 minutes in running cold water, and  hey presto…

Ta da!

Ta da!

Hey presto one 36 shot film developed and ready to print exciting stuff!
in the frame

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Goodbye Starman


Too much make up? I think not…











Like so many this week I was both shocked and greatly saddened to hear of the death of David Bowie. Cancer it seems is indiscriminate in its choice of  victims taking our friends and our hero’s away, in equal measure. Bowie was not just a musician he was a walking work of art. A human chameleon who changed his appearance as frequently as his musical style, and what style he had. There are few in this world who could make a jump suit look cool, but David was definitely one of them.


David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Kansai Yamamoto in 1973

























The music was nothing short of genius. The hair and make up was interesting, to say the least!

Labyrinth 2

You remind me of the babe











I could ramble on endlessly about all my favorite songs albums and films but it would be far better to just sit down and chill out to some serious Bowie,  that’s the best way to remember him or get to know him, if your an absolute beginner.

Bowie the man may no longer be with us but the music will always be here and what a great legacy to leave behind.


David Bowie the Thin White Duke











But  can we learn anything from the life of David Bowie? I think so. We can learn that its ok to be different. That you don’t have to fit into a box, that you can make your own rules and break them. That to be brave sometimes you have to be different, and that change can be exiting and positive.

So goodbye starman  we will miss you.




He told me

Let the children lose it

let the children use it

Let all the children boogie


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