The highly anticipated ceramics units!

clay-5Art teacher Kerry Lomas shares the excitement of working with clay –

The success of SPLASH in 2014 has resulted in much excitement, anticipation and messy hands in the Art room this year thanks to the purchase of a new kiln. The countless hours volunteers spent organizing the SPLASH event has clearly paid off as the students are enjoying using clay for the first time in many years. For some students, it has been their first experience molding and constructing out of clay. It has been such a valuable learning experience and they eagerly await their next clay unit! Continue reading

Raise the flag!


The last two assemblies have been a case of ‘reveal all’. Mr Penson started with telling us that when he was a boy, he loved nothing better* than identifying flags. It’s not hard to see the appeal of flags – crisp design, symbolic and instantly recognisable.

With this in mind, students began the school year with the ‘Kick Start Kew’ program and were given the task of creating a flag that represented what was important to their class. Both the Kick Start Kew program and the flag project were a positive and creative means of making sure that everyone was beginning 2015 with a consistent approach to expectations and values.

The class flags were unveiled at assembly, with representatives from each class sharing the meaning behind their design. Some classes went for the minimalist look – our wonderful old Peppercorn tree, linked hands and open books. Continue reading

Pushing the boundaries

sara-catena-workshop-1We’re just days away from Splash and the excitement is mounting. Aside from the three-day art show, Splash has driven other artistic activities within the school. This week, Claire Bowers from the Splash organising committee tells us about artist Sara Catena’s second visit with grade fives. Continue reading

It’s the Kewriosity Show!

There’s been one particular school activity this year that my kids have been busting to tell me about (all four of them, every week) – Kewriosity.

Kewriosity gave kids in each year level an opportunity to learn about all sorts of new things from how to knit and build a robot to busting myths and making animated films. Weeks of Kewriosity activity culminated in the Kewriosity Showcase and Alex St. Claire was there to see all the wonderful projects that have been keeping our kids so busy.

While an event ending in tears doesn’t usually tell a joyful tale, the story of the Kewriosity Showcase does indeed have a happy ending.

It was the ill-fated French Queen Marie Antoinette who prompted tears when Isabelle (Prep) discovered her tiny doll frame ensconced on a guillotine to represent her demise during the French Revolution. Why anyone would kill a beautiful golden-haired queen whose only crime was marrying whom she was told and possibly possessing a penchant for cake?

Kewriosity 1

But this depth of feeling has led to lots of heartfelt discussion and that is what makes great learning experiences.

In fact, we had lots of at-home discussions around the Kewriosity showcase. Continue reading

Artist Sara Catena makes a Splash with Grade Fives

L to R: Rafaella, Xavier, Chelsea, Sara Catena, Taylor, Brandon, Johbert Image by Bethanie Clarke, Pink Images

L to R: Rafaella, Xavier, Chelsea, Sara Catena, Taylor, Brandon, Johbert
Image by Bethanie Clarke, Pink Images

We’ve always been a creative bunch at Kew Primary but things are about to ramp up! KPS’s first annual art show, Splash, is fast-approaching and over the next few months expect art, art, art to be the topic of conversation and activity. This week, Claire Bowers from the Splash organising committee tells us about artist Sara Catena’s visit with grade fives.
Continue reading

…it makes life more pleasurable

Every child is an artist; the problem is staying an artist when you grow up. Pablo Picasso

I love looking at the self-portraits in the junior school hall and seeing how the kids see themselves, and the painting of Julia Gillard by the older kids in the admin area – all so different, but somehow capturing something of her. And then there are the fabulous starry night paintings after Vincent Gogh and now the Monets!022

At the Trivia Night last term I was struck by the lovely pieces of our kids’ art work that had been put together by Bit McLean and Madame Temple. I would have been very happy to have hung any one of them on my wall at home, but was outbid at every turn; everybody loved them and it was not difficult to see why. So for this week’s blog, I thought I would find out a little more about art, and our art teacher, Bit McLean.P1060584

Jacqui: Where are you from originally and where did you study art?

Bit: I was born a Melbournian, but began primary school at Burbank Elementary in Boston, Massachusetts, and finished it at Deepdene Primary. At 16 I was whisked down to Hobart by my mum and dad. I completed my Bachelor of Arts (Visual Art Teaching) Degree from the University of Tasmania at their campus on top of beautiful Mount Nelson.

I then moved back to Melbourne and taught art in secondary schools until I left to raise my four kids. After having children of my own, I decided to give primary art education a try and eventually I was lucky enough to find myself as a part of our wonderful Kew Primary community.

Jacqui: Did you have a teacher who was particularly influential?

Bit: I loved school. My two favourite teachers at Deepdene were both men, Mr Gosling in Grade 3 and Mr Harding in Grade 4. I loved doing projects in Mr Gosling’s class. Maths tables competitions were fun in Mr Harding’s class and he had a great sense of humour.

My art teacher at Fintona, Kate Bêchet, encouraged my love of art history. She was a very dedicated, inspiring teacher and I really enjoyed her art classes.020

Jacqui: Why is art important, and why is it important for kids?

Bit: Art is important as a means of communication, as an aesthetic tool and as a therapeutic aid. It was the first form of communication and, just like the cavemen, kids can use art to tell their stories. Learning about the power of design and ways of manipulating media improves their abilities to get their messages across to an audience.

Art often helps us to clarify our personal and emotional ideas and thoughts as well. Arts learning helps students to become motivated and confident and to work well in teams. I love watching Kew kids producing artworks. When they create something that they’re really proud of, or when they master a tricky skill or technique, I can tell that they get a real kick out of it …and so do I! Art generally makes you feel good; it makes life more pleasurable.


Jacqui: Can you tell us about the type of art – and artists – you like?

Bit: I love modern art. Bright, glossy, popular imagery seen in the work of successful artists such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst makes me feel good. The comical irony of their work appeals to me as well.

A more local artist who I think is brilliant is Kerry Lomas. I can’t wait to see her achieve success in the art field. She illustrated a wooden stool with gorgeous characters for me and I will always treasure it.

Claude Monet is another favourite of mine. I loved seeing his works on the NGVI excursion with the Year 3s and 4s.

I also love the ‘art’ you find in nature, such as beautiful butterfly wings, shells or reflections.023

Jacqui: Do you still enjoy doing you own art?

Bit: I try to write a lot during the holidays; that’s my main creative outlet. Just for fun I’ll doodle, take photographs, sketch or paint but I haven’t attempted something ’serious’ for a very long

Jacqui: Who are the ‘Smarty Arties’ and what do they do?

The Smarty Arties are a fabulous bunch of Year 6 students with a love for the Arts. Last term they visited the Art Room to help all the junior classes produce scarecrows for the Kew garden. The Preps made Scarecrow Jack, the Kew Primary school boy, and the Year 1s made Rose, the Kew Primary school girl. Coral is the Year 2s mermaid scarecrow and Sir Crow Fighter is the brave knight guarding the Year 3 garden plot. They also taught a class on collage to the junior classes. Recycled materials were used to create ‘recycled robots’.

I am very lucky to share the art programme with Madame T. She is such a positive, happy, creative person. The main reason I love teaching art at Kew is that Kew kids are always eager to experiment with materials, media and techniques. They are thirsty for learning and, therefore, a pleasure to teach. I love their visual stories, their intriguing ways of seeing, their wild ideas, their logical explanations and their colourful imaginations!

Jacqui: Thanks Bit. Love ya work!

Jacqui Tomlins and Bit McLean

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. Pablo Picasso