Todmorden’s Paper People

For the last 15 years we’ve enjoyed providing the Todmorden Treat, a project to give each primary school in Todmorden an experience of working with the same artist or performer during the spring term, supported by Todmorden Town Council.  We were grateful for their support again this year for Paper People – Creating a Wallpaper Portrait Gallery.

Pupils worked with artist Cath Ford, assisted by Leeds University art student Faye Wetherall, to create large, mixed media portraits, using simple basic materials. The pupils worked in groups to create portraits pertinent to books or topics they are currently studying.

Among others we had characters from The Secret Garden; Around the World in 80 Days; Rose Blanche; Viking Boy, and some very glamorous Greek gods and goddesses for an Ancient Greece topic.

Working with Cath and Faye the children used collage, paint and their imagination to bring the characters to life!

The workshops allowed the children to explore historic and contemporary portraiture, by looking at how artists provide visual clues to depict the lives, achievements and stories of subjects in portraits. They then used this learning to devise portraits of their chosen subjects (chosen in advance in collaboration with the class teacher). This helped the pupils to explore the subjects in more depth and consider how to communicate their characteristics in an art work. Finally they had a lot of fun experimenting with different painting, collage and mark-making techniques as they worked collaboratively on these large scale pieces.

The children may not have realised it as they enjoyed the opportunity for self-expression and creativity, but they were engaged in visual thinking, practice of observational skills, analysis and problem solving, along with team working and practicing their communication skills.

We’ve had lots of great feedback from the teachers and the pupils, this one from a student is our favourite.

“I have learnt about being inspired.”

Thank you to the schools and the 200 pupils and staff that took part, and a huge thank you to Todmorden Town Council for supporting the workshops once again this year.

  • Todmorden C Of E Junior, Infant & Nursery School
  • Walsden St. Peter’s CE (VC) Primary School
  • Ferney Lee Primary School
  • St Joseph’s RC Primary School
  • Cornholme Junior, Infant And Nursery School
  • Shade Primary School
  • Castle Hill Primary School

There are lots more photographs featuring the work from all the above schools in our Flickr album.

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