L4 Art and Design pupils at Norwich School are thrilled to have won Leach Pottery’s Schools Design Challenge with their unique bubble-inspired pottery plates.
The project was a response to Leach Pottery’s Schools Challenge, which invited pupils to submit designs for a new ceramic piece, responding to the theme ‘a pot for sharing’.
Norwich School pupils began work on this project back in September 2020 and were inspired by the way they were separated into year group ‘bubbles’ due to Covid-19 regulations. Leach Pottery’s St Ives location also led pupils to the concept of a school of fish.
A discussion on the competition theme, ‘a pot for sharing’, brought about ideas such as stacking bowls, fish dishes with dividing walls, large pouring vessels and many others. However, it was felt that the pandemic had changed the way people could share, so it was decided that individual vessels would be most appropriate, with the surface designs bringing the work together as a group.
To create the imaginative designs, pupils drew a random selection of overlapping circles. They then looked for sea creature shapes in the overlaps of the circles, creating a host of underwater designs, including fish, crabs and octopi.
Pupils made their plates out of clay and were shown a bubble technique for applying underglaze colour using liquid soap. Pupils blew bubbles into the soap until they overflowed onto their vessels and popped to create a surface pattern. The vessels were then glazed. Finally, the pupils’ sea creature designs were made into ceramic decals to add to the glazed vessels.
The creative designs caught the eye of the judges at Leach Pottery, who praised the “high quality of detail and consideration” in the pupils’ entry.
Both staff and pupils were overjoyed to have won the competition. Their teacher, Coordinator of KS3 Art & Design, Lindsay Slade, said, “pupils enjoyed seeing the whole process through, particularly enjoying the clay work and bubble making. We were so excited to receive the news of winning first prize. Pupils ran around the playground in a pool of excitement shouting ‘we've won!’ and I danced around the department!”.
Almost 50 pupils were involved in the bubble plates project and their work will now go on display in the Carter Centre, Norwich School’s Art and Design block.