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Hen Parties: Pottery Throwdown

By | Adult Classes, Blog, Hen Do, Hen Party | No Comments


Organising a Hen Do? Want to do something unusual and quirky rather than the stereotypical night out on the town which you’re more than likely forget the next day? We have the perfect idea for you.

A hidden creative oasis in Shepherds Bush gives you the opportunity to create something beautiful which you can keep to make it a memorable party, the choice is yours.

Pottery Parties for adults

 Pottery throw down Clay party 1 :  This is a great fun clay party; wheel throwing and bisque painting all completed in one session. Once you have created your pot on the wheel you can glitter glaze it in order to take it away the very same day!

  • Fun and messy activity
  •  7 wheels available to use at one time
  • Explore your inner creativity
  • Take your pieces home on the day
  • Bring your own refreshments & nibbles

Price: £40pp (minimum 10 hens)  This includes glazes, paints materials, staff assistance and kiln firing costs.


Pottery throw down Clay party 2: This is a wheel throwing and hand building party. You will spend your time on the wheels throwing as many items as you like within your 2 hour slot. You will hand build  a small peice such as a pendant or pot that can be painted whilst wet ‘raw glazed’, all with the help of our experienced potters. At the end of the 2 hours you can choose your best pot to slip decorate which we will then fire and glaze for you ready to be collected after 2 weeks (or arrange for your pieces to be delivered at an addition cost.)

  • Create a hand made pot
  • Experience using the wheel
  • Bring your own refreshments & nibbles
  • Create a professional finished piece of pottery
  • Have fun whist creating a souvenir of your Hen party

Price: £50pp covering all costs (minimum 10 hens) : includes throwing on the wheels, painting, glazing, assistance from our potters and firing.

We offer a picnic menu for an additional cost of just £5pp which includes sandwiches, fruit and snacks.

You are more than welcome to bring your own refreshments.

Book with us for other occasions & activities

  • Birthday Parties
  • Adult painting parties
  • Clay Parties
  • Christmas Parties
  • Valentines Day
  • For a special Gift

Art Beats for Hearts in Harmony Old Spitalfields Market

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Our pottery teachers will be supporting the fundraising efforts for Hearts in Harmony on Friday 12 May 2017.

art-beats-2017-booking-potteryHearts in Harmony, the charity raising money to help fight heart disease through art and music, will donate all money raised on the day towards the treatment of heart disease.

There will be up to 50 talented artists at Old Spitalfields market showing their work. Hosted by Old Spitalfields Market’s official charity, Hearts in Harmony, ‘Art Beats’ is a chance to experience live art on a grand scale.

Highlights of the day are:

  • Get messy and creative at the pottery sessions hosted by Kite Studios
  • Watch artists create award winning work depicting ‘The Heart of the East End’
  • Live music and entertainment

At the end of the day-long event, which runs from 11am-9pm, a panel of five expert judges will select one entered piece of art, from a final shortlist of eight, to win the Art Beats Award, plus a cash prize of £1,000.

Clover Lee, from the Great Pottery Throwdown will be joining the sessions, she recently joined Kite Studios, as a pottery teacher.

Book your slot online. All proceeds go to Hearts in Harmony.



Clover Lee at Kite Studios Pottery

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Have you heard of Clover Lee?

She was on the BBC Great Pottery Throw Down TV show and made it to the final round. We are excited to announce that Clover will be joining the teaching team at Kite Studios.

Clover will be teaching every Tuesday, starting on the 25 April 2017. On those Tuesday’s she will teach the pottery term time classes and also be available for bespoke 1-to-1 bookings. You can book a Tuesday session with Clover online.

Learn and ask questions as Clover takes you through the steps for creating ceramic pieces on the wheel. A bit more about Clover:

She was born in a small town in southern China – and moved to Wales in 2003, to study accountancy.

The 33-year-old moved to London after graduating, and her interest was pricked when Clover attended an evening class at Clapham Pottery in 2011. Clover is proud of her Asian heritage and creates a mixture of functional and stunning items – such as bonsai planters, decorative vases, sake sets, mugs and tableware.

She says she is “inspired by the traditional art and culture of China and Japan”. As well as pottery, Clover is a self-taught illustrator.



Hey Clay! at Kite Studios

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This year kite studios are very excited to be participating in the Crafts Council’s Hey Clay! event.

Hey Clay! gives people the opportunity to get creative with clay at free pottery workshops in over 50 venues, including K ite Studios, Shepherds Bush, around the UK across one weekend. Hey Clay! is part of the Get Creative campaign with the BBC which runs from Friday 7 – Sunday 9 April  2017.


Thanks to TV shows such as The Great Pottery Throw Down and The Great British Sewing Bee, We have seen a huge surge in arts, crafts and getting creative all over the UK and we at Kite Studios couldn’t be happier about it!

However, although the interest in craft is on the rise there is worrying concern for craft education. The Craft Council’s Studying Craft report shows that students studying craft related GCSEs has fallen by 25 per cent since 2007/8. This concern is shared across the board by the arts. The Creative Industries Federation recently published a paper illustrating how the current focus on the EBacc – which includes no creative subjects – is limiting the options of the next generation. At Kite Studios we are working hard to bring art back to education, to educate in art and to educate with art.


That’s why we are delighted to be working in association with the Crafts Council  as they work to offer opportunities for the nation to get creative.

img_1917And it’s not just for young people – Hey Clay!  gives everyone the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and unleash their inner potter. So far they have 50 events confirmed workshops in museums, galleries, colleges and potteries across the UK including here at Kite Studios Pottery. – with more being added every day.

Hey Clay! visitors have a go at press moulding, throwing on a wheel, pinching, slab building, coiling, decorating with found objects and much more!



For more information about pottery at Kite Studios West London click here

and to book a place in our Hey Clay event click here.

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Valentine’s Day Pottery Gift Voucher

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Can you and your partner help each other get messy with clay and make a memorable pot?

Get a 20% discount by booking online for a bespoke 1-to-1 pottery class with our ceramics experts. Use code KSLOVE17 on checkout.

This special offer is valid for all 1-to-1 bespoke pottery bookings made between 6 and 17 February for dates until May.

A 1 hour booking costs £52 per couple (usual price is £65 for 2 people).

Your piece will be fired and ready for collection in 3-4 weeks. The clay needs time to dry properly!


What’s Covered in the Session?


You’ll be shown how to throw a pot on the wheel. After a few throws, we’ll help you create a single pot on the wheel. You’ll then spend time afterwards decorating it using decorative slips and sponges. We’ll fire and glaze it for a permanent ceramic finish and it will be ready to collect from the studio 3-4 weeks later.

A full demonstration is given at the start of the workshop and so is ideal for the complete beginner.

In order for you to have the piece ready in one session, we accelerate the drying with heaters so that you can decorate your piece with slips.

We then bisque fire and glaze fire the work with a transparent glaze, so that it’s ready for you to pick up in 3-4 weeks.


A Peek Inside a Holiday Workshop

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By Jessica Mason (Art Teacher)

On the 24th of October 2016, we held a holiday workshop, titled creating Clay heads, inspired by Anthony Gormley and Macbeth.

clay-head-gormleyThe concept of drawing a face might seem very simple to us. After years of drawing dots for eyes like the work of Gormley, the transition into looking closely at a face and creating a portrait that is recognisable is quite the challenge.

The task of an accurate portrait of someone is one that a lot of seasoned artists still shy away from.

Here at Kite we aim to stomp out artists fears early on and teach every child that there are no mistakes in art.

Jumping in

We asked the children to take a piece of card and draw the person in front of them.  The children are faced with two fears here, the first, creating an accurate drawing of a face.  The second,  interacting with another child they don’t know.

With some words of encouragement they all got stuck in! card-face-3

Next we asked them to cut out the face and hold it over the face of  the person they were trying to draw, to see if it looks like them. This was something that Liz (my fellow teacher) and I did not think about.

The children all put the piece of card up close to the other child’s face.

The concept of perspective is an obvious one to us, if we want to view something covering something else we hold it closer to us. The further away it is the smaller it will be. This isn’t instinctive to an eight year old.

Then the fun started.  How to teach perspective to under tens?

Cardboard Faces

card-face-2With our thinking hats on,  we grab a camera and a card face, hold the card close to the camera and get our subject to stand further back, snap, photo is taken.  The children are shown and everyone gets it.

Now they all want there photos taken too!

The camera gets passed round and soon we have a whole art class of children with cardboard faces, printed out and stuck in their sketch books. That was only the first activity!

It’s not just the children that are always learning at Kite, we as teachers are constantly adapting to the class and evolving ourselves.

Gormley’s Clay Faces

The next activity everyone loves i.e. squishing clay. We show them Anthony Gormley’s clay faces as well as some images of the witches from Macbeth.

A quick chat about the story of the witches and everyone is desperate to start making. We show them how to pinch out a nose and poke in eyes, pull out a hat and push down the rim.

Even with the same instructions, each witch is different some are pointy, some friendly, some funny, some scary each one fantastic. The children paint them all, then do a drawing of the final project. 



We all reflect on the day by taking imaginary photos of the challenging activities we did, the activity we did we’ve never done before and the activity that was most fun.  For some children the toughest activity is also the most fun, some like drawing more and some like clay.


They all had their hands in the air when we asked who wanted to say what their most fun photo was,  

Then home time comes. Liz and I hear our favourite sentence “Mummy, Daddy come see what I did!”

Slaying the Monster

We see one thing over and over again in our holiday workshops, the under sevens love everything they make, but the moment we teach the eights and up class, the self doubt monster begins to show up.

At Kite the self doubt monster is left at the door and the children in our classes learn to be proud of every art piece, mistakes and all.


Clay and Pottery Themed Birthday Parties

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A Birthday Party to Remember

For many years we’ve been running birthday parties for children with an art theme. They are popular with children and parents alike.



Creative with Clay

Over the past year, as our pottery studio has grown, we’ve been offering birthday parties with a clay or pottery theme. The pottery party has now become the most popular theme chosen by children and parents.


The children make a mixed media piece bringing their ideas to life in a 3D form to take home as the last activity of the party.

Learning about the Pottery Wheel

Learning about the Pottery Wheel

Working with clay develops the sense of touch and improves creative confidence. During the birthday party art class, the children learn about the nature of clay in a fun and engaging way.

Age Groups

We accommodate all age groups and provide a fully equipped studio for the art session.  Most families bring their own drinks and cake, which they can serve in a separate reception room. We can also arrange catering if you’d rather just turn up.


During term time parties take place either on Saturday or Sunday afternoons for 2 hours usually from 1-3pm.

We keep them engaged from beginning to end, with a 15 minute break.


£20 per head Minimum: 10 children

Duration: 2 hours


Kids Kitchen: Art & Cooking

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Why should grown-ups have all the fun!? If your kids love to cook, this unique class combines cooking and art activities to keep the most energetic of children busy during the summer holidays.

We ran the first classes last year and they were a big hit with the children and parents.

Kids Kitchen: Art Morning, Cooking Afternoon – £80.00
• Tue 2 Aug 2016 10.00-16.00
• Wed 3 Aug 2016 10.00-16.00
• Thu 4 Aug 2016 10.00-16.00
• Fri 5 Aug 2016 10.00-16.00

Leiths and Kite Studios have come together to create an exciting, creative and educational programme of activities for 7 – 11 year olds.
Youngsters will spend the morning at Kite Studios creating their own work of art, using techniques such as sculpture, print making, etching and painting. Then in the afternoon they have fun cooking at Leiths!

Book on the Leiths website.


A Letter from a Mother: The Power of Art

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The Power of Art at Kite Studios

By Lucy Richardson, Mother of Orlando

My son Orlando is now 17 and has autism and haemophilia. At his diagnosis aged 3 they said he may never speak

.Orlando TintinAs soon as he could hold a pencil he started drawing. He didn’t speak he drew – piles and piles of drawings.  He would find a character or a symbol – Biff, Chip, Mr Men, Tintin, Captain Haddock, Wally, maps, football shirts – and draw them over and over again until he had learnt them by heart.   He could create them with a few deft strokes in a matter of seconds.


Visual representations were important to him.   He preferred pictures of things to real things.   They made sense to him: solid and unmoving, bright colours encased in black lines just for him.   Nature: plants, trees, flowers were too vague and ill-defined.

Orlando Alien age 12 drawingAnimals (particularly small unpredictable ones like hamsters) alarmed him. He did not want them intruding into his world. Something about this world of cartoon style drawing he created was deeply satisfying and soothing to his autistic soul.

So in 2007 when Orlando was 8 I started looked for a holiday art class for him to try and develop his art skills. This was easier said than done. After initial chat about their wonderful workshops I told them about his autistic spectrum. “How disabled is he?” they said. “But he’s in a main stream school he fits in.” I said   “He has a helper who can come with him.” I cried out feebly.  No -one called me back. I was about to to give up. Then at a supper for mums of disabled children in West London I met Auriol Herford of Kite Studios. “Send him to me,” she said, and so I did.

He went regularly to a selection of holiday workshops every holiday along with his helper. This then extended to Saturday morning classes as well.

He expanded his repertoire of media: from strictly pencil or felt tip to painting with acrylic, oil, water colour.   He made paper- mache models, rolled inky geometric etchings. He built ships, modelled strange birds, monsters, puppets and designed himself colourful t-shirts which he wore with pride.Orlando Art 1

He painted an enormous canvas of a poem in a picture with a combination of colourful rhyming characters – a man in a cat suit, superhero – all smiling and reaching for the stars. He held his birthday parties there: creating t-shirts, building alien creatures from junk covered in mud rock.

The children from his state school wouldn’t leave they were having such a good time. “It’s time to go,” called Auriol melodically from the stairs. Then more firmly “This party is now over,” but still they lingered, not wanting to leave this magical experience of creative anarchy.

In his early teenage years despite the spirals of adolescent rages and inertia, he still carried on attending the holiday workshops. He would come back with a variety of creations: etchings of imagined cities, long oil paintings of the last supper, tiny fruit in a tiny room he had made. The sketch books full of his planning and ideas to show how he got to his own unique vision were a miracle to me. I marvelled at how Auriol managed to engage him for so long and get such rich detail and variety from him.

At home he would still only draw what was in his head, on his terms. If I tried to set up an art activity he would invariably say that he had finished after 10 minutes and nothing I could say could induce him to go back and add detail. How did Auriol do it?

Through a combination of patience, tenacity and belief, she takes all young people and their artistic aspirations seriously. She does all this with an autistic child who goes through the education system with people continually not wanting to upset him and letting him settle for half of his potential because it gives them an easy life.

Orlando was always challenged but also supported when leaving his comfort zone and doing something new. Sensitive to his moods the Kite Staff were always able to see the signs when he was getting agitated. The teaching team help structure the work so he could carry on achieving. In the studio he was taking part in art workshops that were between 2-4 hours long with ease.

When Orlando started college at 16 we were dismayed when he came back with a timetable of only two full days, a morning and an afternoon – apparently this constitutes full time education. Whilst he is accessing full-time education he is not eligible for any apprenticeships or work experience schemes.

At 16 he is too young for any of the exciting looking adult education courses.   He began to spend large swathes of time on the computer downloading viruses, booking car test drives and running up debts with Ancestry.com. He emerged from his room only to demand £10 for trips with his local Mencap group to Nandos.   Was this his future? “It’s so unfair” I wailed to Auriol. “Send him to me,” she said, and so I did.

He started going to Kite Studios on Fridays to do guided work experience and an hour of art during December 2015. At first he was reluctant to break his Nandos habit. “Why do I have to?”, he kept saying. This soon changed.   During the 6 months he has been spending his Fridays at Kite Studios, the benefits have been enormous. He has learnt about being flexible in the workplace, to share space with others and behave appropriately towards colleagues.

Orlando has undertaken a diverse range of tasks from helping with children, to art preparation, assisting in workshops and delivering marketing flyers. Most importantly he takes great joy in setting off to Kite Studios every Friday morning, bounding in to greet everyone. He knows that he will be accepted, listened to and respected.   He has formed good relationships with all of the Kite Studios team and gained a real sense of being involved in a community.

His confidence in himself has grown as he has taken on the project of studying for the Silver Arts Award. This is a unique award given by Trinity College where students are encouraged to take the lead and realise their creative dreams. Orlando has been highly motivated in organising his own exhibition of portraits of the Kite Studios staff and friends as part of the Kite Studios 1st Summer Show on June 18th at 4-7 pm. His drawing is developing as he is learning to stop and look at the shape of people’s faces.Orlando Self Portraits at Kite Studios

Auriol has helped him to develop a good practice of stopping to look again at the spaces and shapes of the subject he is drawing. He has also started to visit exhibitions as part of learning and understanding more about the art world. It is a pleasure to see him take ownership of his creative talents and start to use them to bring pleasure to others.

All young people with disabilities should be welcomed into the community and encouraged to fulfil their potential rather than be stuck at home. Orlando’s sense of belonging and ownership of Kite Studios is a testament to Auriol’s belief in a community that should be open to all and value everyone for their differences. Allowing space of the individual to flourish.

Orlando KindinskyAs a family it gives us hope that he may one day be accepted into the world of work.   It also means that when we are gone he will have the means to support himself, rather than being reliant on the grudging crumbs of state provision.


Clay Lessons Influence Learning for Wendell Park Primary Pupils

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Focused Community Activity

In the past our Kite CIC Sponsorship Fund was used to pay for specific children to attend art classes free of charge. We’ve been following this model for a number of years through fund raising events like our Winter Fair, Yard Sales, Summer Party, Pop Up Craft Nights and Writers in the Dark evenings.

In addition to the individual places, for 2016 we decided to add a group sponsored model and focus the use of the sponsorship fund at a single school for one term. The thinking was to try this idea out and if successful raise money to keep it going.

More Than Just Clay

Wendell SEN-GT Celia and Pupil on WheelHaving worked with Wendell Park Primary before, Auriol contacted the school to check if they would be interested in exploring the use of clay as a way to improve the learning ability of children.

The pupils would attend 1 class per week for a 6 week period at Kite Studios. This would allow them to leave their classroom setting and experience what working in an art studio would be like.

Chole Harman, the Year 3 teacher at the school, identified 4 SEN and 4 Gifted & Talented children that would form the first class. During the Spring term, the 8 pupils attended a special Create in Clay class, taught by Auriol Herford, founder of Kite Studios.

Clay for Enhancing Learning

Wendell SEN-GT Clay Bowls and MugsThere are few art mediums that stimulate growth and skills in children in the way that clay does. During the classes the children used a pottery wheel, had their work fired, used glazes and learnt basic hand building techniques.  The objective was for them to understand the nature of clay and see the process from beginning to end. The criteria used to select the 2 different groups are described below by Chole Harman:

SEN Children

“These can be children with emotional, behaviour or learning needs. Auriol (from Kite) is going to work with her son’s occupational therapist to come up with some sort of checklist to gauge the impact the sessions are having on each child – so it’s not just about whether or not they enjoy it (which hopefully they will) but also the impact it’s had on their behaviour / learning after the session, the impact this has then had on their class, have they been calmer? More engaged? It may only make a tiny difference but it’s a start…!” – Chloe Harman

 Gifted and Talented

“These won’t necessarily be children who are gifted and talented in art. It would be more beneficial to them if they were G&T in maths (or whatever) but struggled with risk taking / afraid of making mistakes. Or it might be someone who’s G&T in art but has poor communication skills…” – Chloe Harman

Initial Feedback

The early feedback we have received has been very positive. The children, parents and teachers have thoroughly enjoyed the classes. Initial assessments were made of the pupils before the classes started, but it’s too early to tell if their experience with clay has improved their learning and focus. Watch this space!

Below are more photos of what the children created during the 6 week period.

Wendell SEN-GT class glazedWendell SEN-GT Pinch Pots and hands

May Half Term Workshop Details

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Crocodile etching pressMay half term is rapidly approaching! Book your places in advance, our workshop places get snapped up quickly!

Details about the different workshops for our West London studio are below. See May Half Term under Timetables for dates and times.

The Power of Palaces – Ever dreamt of being the architect of your own palace? Help your child’s imagination soar with this exploration of some of the fantastic Palladian Architecture we have in London at Kenwood House Hampstead and more locally at Chiswick House. In the studio we will be designing and building paper 3D structures. This is followed by drawing from observation, simplifying ideas into silk screen prints.

Bug Worlds – Crazy about Hex bugs? Love butterflies? Using Maria Marian’s beautiful butterfly botanical prints at the Queen’s Gallery as inspiration, learn about drawing with scissors. Also learn about collaging techniques used by Matisse, by painting coloured papers and then arranging into insect collages to be used as the basis of their 3D models in clay.

Brothers Grimm – Heroes and Villains. From the big bad wolf to Rumplestiltskin and, of course, wicked witches and wizards. Everyone loves a good villain. Sharing stories about favourite villains . Bringing villains to life by making own puppet on a stick. Make your own villain puppet on a stick to take home and frighten all your friends. Then using observational drawing techniques to make a drawing of your puppet.

Mythical Beasts inspired by Greek Myths – Love the minotaur? This workshop focuses on printmaking. Looking at original beast prman on horse etching pressints by a Chilean artist make your own collage of your very own beast. Use different textures of a coleographed plate to bring your beast to life. Then Roll roll the etching press.

Man on the moon – We use photos from the NASA moon landing mission to explore the textures of the moon. The children make a diorama of a 3D scene to inspire the creation of the clay model, which is followed by a watercolour painting.

Enchanted Forest project at Derwent Water Primary

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Year 6 Students paint their own Enchanted Forest mural

inspired by David Hockney’s Tree Paintings

Derwent Water Mural full view

Ninety Year 6 students at Derwent Water Primary School, Acton took part in a term long project to create a 12 metre long collaborative mural inspired by David Hockney’s Tree paintings.

The project was delivered by Auriol Herford of Kite Studios, Shepherds Bush and commissioned by Laura Partington, Arts coordinator at Derwent Water Primary.

The mural was unveiled at a ceremony in front of Students, parents and teachers in the Junior Playground of the school on 14th April 2016.

View mural unveiling video.

Inspired by Hockney

During the spring term the year 6 students worked on the mural, taking part in 4 school art workshops led by Auriol Hereford of Kite Studios. The workshops encompassed different art techniques and ways of thinking about art, from David Hockney’s paintings and his use of colour horizon line to drawing nature from observation, mixing colour palettes and learning about colour families.

First the workshops looked at trees in detail, selecting foliage to draw from observation. Then the children learnt about the shape of trees kinaesthetically through modelling their own trees out of brown paper and making and sticking on stencils to mark out the space taken up by the tree on the mural canvas.

Using Hockney as a model they learnt about how to put in Horizon lines and used masking tape to mark up the horizon line on the mural .

Looking at Hockney’s use of colour opposites they learnt about colour families – using bright colours to highlight the trees (–group colour wheel). Then by looking at the different colours around the trees.

Evaluating the Work

The pupils carried out team evaluations standing back and looking at the mural as a whole.

Developing their skills of reflection to make changes and improvements in the colour and they used highlighting so the sky would contrast with the rest of the painting.

The children loved the sessions: “fun lessons that we will never forget!”, “Oh boy, was I happy!” Another child commented that they had learnt an “array of brilliant techniques” that helped them create an authentic, colourful piece to bring their playground to life.

The children had felt joy in being allowed the freedom to ‘splosh’ on the paint with no fear of making mistakes. In the workshops they learnt that there is no such thing as a mistake in art as mistakes are part of the artistic conversation and can always be adapted and accommodated into the whole.

Planning and Ownership

The children planned and created the mural all themselves: drawing and painting directly onto the canvas, reflecting, adapting, improving as they went.

This gave them a strong sense of ownership over the project as each part of the canvas reflected their responses to the natural world. In their speeches at the unveiling Year 6 students said they felt proud that they had created a legacy for all the other children to enjoy.

Feedback and Naming

One child said, “I’d like the mural to be put in a respected area as it took a long time to do and it showed what each of us could really do.”

The children chose several names for the mural including “Creative Horizons” and “The Trees of Tomorrow” before deciding on “The Enchanted Forest”. It is designed to last for a year; then, perhaps, another group of children will be able to express their creative spirit and dreams of a better world by making their own painting.