Teaching arts, crafts and designers in class!

Jane Wood-Chambers

Monday, 15 October 2018

When teaching art, design and craft it is important to teach the pupils about real artists and their work.

In KS1 the National Curriculum states that the pupils should know about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making links to their own work and in KS2 the pupils develop this further by knowing about the great artists, architects and designers in history.

The decision about which ones to focus upon is therefore up to you and/or the art curriculum frame that has been developed in your school.

The choice of craft makers and designers can open creative world and give the pupils the opportunity to think about craft and design around them in their everyday lives and will also be a good starting point for new skills that they can learn and develop.

Who then will be your focus?

Craft Makers: Crafts that you can introduce the pupils to are numerous and varied from knitting, crocheting, appliqué, embroidery, sewing to papermaking, weaving, basket making, bookbinding, calligraphy, felting, tile making and toy making!

Decide on the focus dependent on the other subjects and projects being undertaken that term or half term and of course considering your classes interest.

  • Knitting – Missoni – the pupils can learn to knit, learn about colour mixing and textures and shapes.

  • Papermaking – Papermaking of India; introduced by the Mughals – the pupils can all make their own paper and then use it to write on the instructions they followed for making it!

  • Calligraphy – Nicolas Ouchenir – Parisian Calligrapher – the pupils can learn to develop their own calligraphy style, practising their grip, flow, fluidity and design.

  • Tile Making – William Morris and Art Nouveau – using the influences of the art nouveau movement the pupils can observe nature, flora and fauna and interpret their own designs to transfer onto the tiles, thinking about the form and the colours used.

kids doing art


Designers:
D
esigners are people that plan the look or workings of something prior to it being made; they do this by preparing drawings or plans.

There is a whole world of designers who plan and make a range of things; from graphic, interactive/web designers, motion designers and animators to industrial and product designs, instructional designers, interior designers and architects!

  • Graphic designers – Milton Glaser – the pupils can look at his work, specifically The pupils could then design their own image for slogans that could be used by the class/school.

  • Animators – show the film Ponyo by the director Hayao Miyazaki the pupils can then begin to look at how drawings are animated, and they can develop their own flipbook animation.

  • Industrial designers – Alessi – specifically looking at the household and kitchen objects and utensils, kettles, knives and forks and butter dishes. The pupils could design their own cutlery set and even invent new items in their own style. I am certain they would be inventive enough to develop a new product for eating spaghetti without it falling back onto the plate before it has reached the mouth!

  • Product design, specifically fashion designers – present the pupils with a range of designers from a list that the pupils generate themselves. Choose one and then look closely at their designs. Have the pupils design a piece in that designers’ style.

  • Architect – the class could go on a walk around the area local to the school and look at the different styles of architecture, take photographs and start to place them on a historical timeline. The pupils could also pick their favourite structure and explain their preference.


The teaching of art, craft and design are one of the most interesting subjects within the curriculum as it touches every area of the pupil’s lives and allows everyone to have access to it as we all have views and opinions as to what we like, prefer, detest and love!

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About our Community Expert

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Jane Wood-Chambers
Editorial Advisory Board Lead

Over 27 years of educational experiences in a number of settings. Developed a clear vision and ethos for inclusion which puts the child at the centre and a clear understanding of how to support, engage and nurture the individual.

Ability to train all staff through effective and reflective continual professional development in behavioural management techniques that begin, establish and maintain change in all.

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