Tuesday, 9 September 2008

School Visit in York

This morning I had to be out of the house at 6.40am (!) to get the train to York, where I have been spending the day with Chapter House School. A teacher gave me a lift from the station. Walking from her car across the playground, I could see fairy lights sunk into the tarmac. 'Looks like a landing strip,' I joked. 'It is,' she said, 'it's the helipad.' A penny dropped - I'd had no idea that Chapter House wasn't a state school.

These kids had the most fabulous resources, and after-school activities included golf, ballet and horse riding. I wondered if they might be a little underwhelmed by Yours Truly. But not a bit of it: absolutely all the kids were really enthusiastic.

It was a day of illustration workshops with Y3 to Y6. For two of the sessions, I did my new 'predator' workshop (see Stockport Art Gallery), adapting it, so the children invented crazy monsters. I took some monster artwork from Rocky and the Lamb and we designed a bizarre monster together on the flip chart, as inspiration. Then they got drawing. It's always fascinating to see the variety of images kids come up with, despite having the same starting point. One lad's monster had a deep trough in his back, for spare spear storage; one girl drew ears with indicator lights; another invented a ghastly creature, like a mutant insect!

To keep myself sane, I did something different for the Y5 class in the middle of the day. I based the session on Giddy the Great and, since in the sequel Giddy is a keen climber, we designed him fantasy towers to balance atop, rather like my Mr Strongmouse workshop in reverse (see A Day in Derby). Some children get the greatest pleasure from racing to see how tall they can make their towers, and we stick paper end to end to accommodate their ideas. Others prefer to sit quietly, carefully creating intricate drawings, packed with detail.
It was a shame not all the class teachers stuck around to watch the sessions, but the organiser, Mrs Metcalfe, was a trooper, rallying round and holding the fort all day. A big thank you to her, as well as all the great kids I met during my visit!


granny grimble said...

Wow! What a school that was. Pity you didn't know about the pad, you could have gone by helicopter instead of train!
It's good to know that the bottom line is children are children, and have the same sort of fun times whatever their background.

Lynne Chapman said...

Yes, that is reassuring, you're right.

Wish I'd have checked in advance though, as I only charged the state school rate!

crystal driedger said...

Great work and blog! I'm adding you to my bookmarks. :)

Lynne Chapman said...

Hi Crystal - great to hear from another illustrator. And one working in Canada too.

So glad you like the blog. I've had a quick peak at yours too, and the website, and they're great. Love the characters in your illustrations. Will be coming back tomorrow when I've got a bit more time, as I'm in trouble with Hubby at the moment for spending too much time on the computer... so what's new!

Emanuele said...

Interesting to know.

VMetcalfe said...

Hi Lynne

I just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. We had such a fantastic day when you came to Chapter House! How are things?

Lynne Chapman said...

Things are great. How lovely to hear from you. I never really know if anyone is reading what I'm writing, especially from the schools I visit, so it's great that you have said hi! Glad you enjoyed the day x