Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A Flag Day At Hillcross (Flying the Flag for Haydon 2011)

Thursday morning and I'm stuck in some bizarre traffic jam just outside Morden in what seems to have been caused by a blend of malfunctioning traffic lights and gas main repairs. Usually I wouldn't really mind too much but I'm supposed to be at Hillcross School at 9am to help out with a flag-painting workshop and as I can see the left turn only about 20 yards away - but have no chance of taking it - it's all getting a little frustrating...

So I'm about 25 minutes later than planned when I finally arrive in one of the classrooms at Hillcross and I can see that all the tables are covered in newspaper and that there's no one there - it's like the Marie Celeste!  However, I'm soon joined by Miss Lowe the class teacher who not only lets me off being late but who is eager to show me the hard work that the two Year 3 classes have been putting in over the last few days. With her own experiences and stories as a Plough Lane steward to help stir their imaginations the children have each been  designing their own idea of what the flag might look like. As you can see in the slide-show below their ideas ranged over a large number of possible ideas and images

Miss Lowe and I went through them all and tried to pull together elements from a couple of flags into one that would represent the school. In the end we used ideas from three different flags even though many of them would make great flags just on their own!

The basic layout folded to make some rough guidelines
By now the children were coming in for a story so we had to creep out to our new art studio in the Science Lab and decide on the format for the day. We eventually decided that I and a classroom assistant would work with one group of seven or eight children at a time for about 45 minutes or so. These would then be replaced by another group who would take up the brushes and carry on. Of course this meant that the first group had all the problems of sketching out the outlines, working on scaling things up and only getting to paint the most basic of background information (and  - by popular demand - an orange aircraft!) but they set to work with a great deal of excitement and soon had a good flag outline in place. We liked the flying banner from one flag, the characters from a second and the the recycling message and imagery from a third, which everyone seemed pretty happy with
You can see the banner and the orange jet pulling it now....
As the day went by more and more groups came in and the hair-dryer was kept very busy indeed trying to finish off some pretty soggy surfaces. It was quite hectic at times, trying to keep seven children all busy at dealing with different areas of the flag and while I was very keen to tell them not to worry too much if they went over the line, that didn't mean that they should ignore it completely....!!!

We only had the one mishap during the day - a pot of brown paint ended up on the flag, amongst other places - but I doubt anyone will notice now it's been painted over it with white (fingers crossed!)

By the end of the day the children had completed about two thirds of their flag. They have some details to sort out and a large area of grass to fill in so I'll be back next week to finish it off but it's all looking very promising and has been a real achievement for such a young group of artists.

No comments: