Art & Design at Valley Gardens Middle School
Art, design and making embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. Creativity is an increasing prerequisite to success in all industries. Flexibility, confidence, hard work and innovation in tackling the challenges of the modern, fluctuating world are all character traits we actively nurture and develop in the Art & Design Department at Valley Gardens. The high-quality program we offer engages, inspires and challenges all pupils. Our Art & Design curriculum encompasses a broad range of projects and all are underpinned with an ethos that endeavours to equip students with an open mind and the confidence to tackle life’s challenges and to find innovative solutions to succeed.
At Valley Gardens students work with a range of fantastic teachers including a practising, specialist Art & Design teacher with a background in Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography. We are dedicated to ensuring students develop a strong foundation of hand eye coordination and fine motor skills; controlling tools and applying a range of media with thought, care and dexterity. This in turn gives confidence to tackle increasingly challenging projects as they move through our school.
Drawing, painting, art history, ceramics, print and graphic design all formulate a broad but in depth project-based curriculum. Research, developing ideas, experimentation and analysis of process with a final piece prepares students for GCSE and A Level equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, analyse, develop and create their own works of art, craft and design.
As pupils progress, they are encouraged to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. We also aim for students to know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, contribute to global culture and support the creative development across all global industries.
Students enjoy Art & Design, they are happy when they are liberated to be creative. They are encouraged to try new techniques and embrace the mistakes that help them to develop their own, creative solutions. At Valley Gardens we are passionate students should be allowed to learn and develop in a carefully planned, creative and enjoyable learning environment.
Please have a look through our curriculum and homework maps and if you have any questions please contact the department.
Mr Grundy (Head of Art & Design)
How do you create beautiful, illuminated letters? What makes the Art of Lindisfarne and the Northern saints special?
‘The Landscape of Northumberland’
Can you describe the scenery of Northumberland? How can you interpret what you see?
Who was she? What was her inspiration?
‘Grimm’s Fairy tales’
What does the fairy tale tell us? How do you illustrate it?
‘Environment, text and image’
What could you express about your environment?
‘Design from Nature’
What tools are the best for nature study?
What are Pop artists trying to tell us? Is it Art?
Can you create a collection of autumnal reflections?
‘The Time Machine’
Which time would you travel to? Why?
How would your time machine look?
What is form and what is function?
Which is more important?
What does change look and feel like?
What does it take to be heroic?
How should a heroic figure look?
How do you recreate a fossil sculpture?
When did humans start making Art? Why?
‘Coastal Plants and Animals’
What’s the best medium to collect a range of studies?
Can you develop an abstract design from your observational studies?
‘Manga vs Marvel’
What’s the difference?
What does an authentic African wall mask look like?
How do you make one?
What relationship does an artist have with the sitter?
What relationship do you have with the world? How can you express this?
‘The Art of War’
Who was Paul Nash?
Can images of war be considered art?
‘Fight for Rights’
What is worth fighting for? How do artists express their feelings visually?
Why do we need creativity in industry?
What is industrial design?
What’s more important Form or Function?
Home study opportunities in Art & Design are strategically planned to support project work in the curriculum. Students are expected to complete one home study each half term (Year 6 Spring Term Art home study is optional). This regular opportunity will develop key skills and support progress through the various projects we cover. Research and development may also be given to support their classroom work.
As we know many children love to create at home and any special, extra work produced can be brought in and added to the student sketchbooks at any point. At the end of Year 8 students bring their sketchbooks home; their books are four years of gathering and collating Art & Design and is something I hope students and their families will treasure.
I would like to encourage parents and carers to get actively involved in supporting home study in Art. Please help your children when they need it, you are very welcome to do your own interpretation of the home study brief and send it in along with the student’s work. I believe working together with a trusted adult supports their confidence; to enjoy making mistakes and also understanding the learning process that takes place at this developmental phase, it’s also good fun! Enjoying the ‘journey’ of trial and error with someone trusted while developing an understanding of ‘process’ will reap rewards for the students through all aspects of school and beyond.
Thank you in anticipation for your support and I look forward to seeing your fantastic work.
Based on your classroom research to date; design an illuminated letter with a modern twist. This could be a graffiti-inspired letter rendered in bright colours and contemporary designs!
The Landscape of Northumberland
Produce a local landscape picture on A4 paper or smaller which includes a famous landmark using mixed media
Draw a detailed observational study of an organic object (e.g. a seed pod or close up of part of a plant) and add careful colour or pencil tones/ marks to create a 3D effect.
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Read a range of fairy tales, short stories and poems which have interesting characters in. Visualise one of the characters and be creative with their form. Next to the character drawing carefully write out the piece of text that helped you visualise the character.
Environment, text and image
Research one or a range of images where text and image have been used together successfully. You may want to extend your research by writing down why you feel it is successful.
Design from Nature
Go out and take rubbings of a range of organic textures onto paper with the edge of a pencil alternatively use a wax candle to take rubbings and then wash watercolour or ink over the image. Experiment with a range of techniques and bring your best results to Art ready to stick in your book.
Draw an observational study of an iconic product and include the brand. It could be a famous food item from the cupboard or a globally used product. Sketch lightly and accurately and then apply colour render to complete your beautiful pop art study.
Spend some time outdoors looking at the colour and forms of leaves and plants. Autumn is a time of great natural change and your intricate studies of plants and their colours should reflect the changes that take place at this time of year.
The Time Machine
Using a range of sources such as magazines, newspapers and the internet; create an A5 collage of products which have an interface (buttons, switches, levers etc.) this collection will be used in class to help you formulate ideas for your time machine's appearance.
Take a walk! When you see a building that catches your interest in some way, try and make an accurate study of the forms, shapes, shadows/tones and details that formulate the building. It should take at least 30 minutes to study a building properly...even longer if you add light washes of watercolour!
Change is happening all around us all of the time...tick tock tick tock...can you represent the idea of metamorphosis and change in a carefully constructed work of art? Use any media at your disposal...you could use multimedia if you want to really experiment.
Draw a classic! Find an image that personifies the ultimate heroic character from a comic book. Copy as accurately as you can, add colour if you wish and make your drawing look glorious!
Draw an animal skull from life or from a found image. Use a biro pen, sketch out your study applying details, textures and tones.
Research prehistoric art and cave paintings; create a single page summarising your research and include drawn or found images.
Coastal Plants & Animals
Try and visit a beach or coastal area, produce a serious of studies of plants and animals using pencil, pen and watercolour paint if possible.
Research the work of Andy Goldsworthy; produce an A4 research sheet and include a description of how he uses the landscape to inspire his work and find images of his landscape art. Extend your home study if you wish by creating your own Goldsworthy-inspired sculpture and take a photograph of your work.
Manga vs Marvel
Copy and render your favourite Manga or Marvel character...or why not draw both!? Be accurate in your copy and use bright vibrant colours to render.
Find an example of African Art or Design and create a copy. You should try to focus on patterns and the textures of the materials used.
Research the work of Pablo Picasso. Create an A4 page which includes a brief history of the artist, pictures and descriptions of his work and write your feelings about his work trying to explain why your feel the way you do.
Carefully sketch a head portrait of someone at home, try to spend at least a couple of hours over the course of the week. Your first phase is a light, pencil sketch working out head shape and where the features are placed. Next you should apply layers of mid and dark tones where appropriate. Finally add careful details and highlights with a rubber.
Art of War
Research the life and work of renowned landscape and war artist Paul Nash. Include a biography, drawn/ found images with descriptions and your opinions about his work. Try and keep your research to one side of A4.
Fight for Rights
Create an A4 poster about a topic you are passionate about. The poster should use an image and powerful text to clearly illustrate your feelings!
Find and carefully draw an item in your home (big or small) that has been beautifully designed to complete a function. Think about what it does and why it looks the way it does? Does the design simply support it's function? Or is the design an aesthetic choice to make it more commercial? Write down your opinion.
Find a building with an industrial function present or past. Take a photograph or range of photographs with 'mood' or produce a 'moody' drawing which illustrates the industrial details of the building.