As part of Sheffield’s Year of Making 2016 Yorkshire Artspace has been working with Manor Lodge Primary School on the ‘School of Makers’ project. The generous support of Julie MacDonald, High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, enabled us to commission artist Gillian Brent to work with over 90 children to create a permanent artwork for the school that would celebrate Sheffield’s past and present as a city of makers.
Gillian began the project with class visits to the neighbouring Manor Lodge site where they stood on the site of Sheffield’s earliest pottery, learned about the cluster of silversmiths who repurposed the Manor lodge ruins in the 19th Century and finally met some of the 21st Century makers at Yorkshire Artspace’s Manor Oaks Studios. Through workshop sessions in school the children were exposed to various tools and materials and involved in many different making process such as drawing, weaving, carving, casting and metal forming. The final artwork is made up of multiple panels containing individual elements created by all 90 pupils – installed in the school hall.
We would like to think that this project has inspired a future generation of makers.
Because the children have been involved in making the artwork, they now have a sense of ownership and pride in their work. They can say to everyone who comes into the school ‘we made that’, we are part of Sheffield’s great manufacturing story, a story that began over 700 years ago and that continues today. Julie MacDonald, High Sheriff of South Yorkshire 2016-17