CRAFTed projects take Laois’ young artists ‘to another level’

Six local schools took part in unique craft projects this year, each working with professional artists, resulting in an impressive exhibition last May in Kolbe Special School.

Six local schools took part in unique craft projects this year, each working with professional artists, resulting in an impressive exhibition last May in Kolbe Special School.

Over 145 children learned skills from weaving to printmaking, in the CRAFTed ‘Learning Skills for Life’ programme, held by Laois Education Centre and The Crafts Council of Ireland.

Jim Enright is chairman of Laois Education Centre.

‘This project has moved art in schools to a different level, where primary school children and teachers have been afforded an exciting opportunity to explore their creativity and learn new skills by working collaboratively with professional craftspeople,” he said.

The Swan NS explored the theme of weather, with the whole school learning print making techniques, and how to record temperature and rainfall.

Clonenagh NS pupils of 1st to 6th class based their project on native willow and its uses. They sourced local willow to make dreamcatchers, sciatogs and garden trellises.

Pupils from 1st and 2nd class of Coleman’s NS expanded their current ‘green schools’ project into biodiversity, birds and butterflies. They learned to hand-stitch using wool and darning needles to create birds and butterflies, using recycled milk cartons and sharpie markers, each child created their own species which were mounted on to large boards.

Pupils of 6th class Gaelscoil Portlaoise explored Irish folklore, linking with the school ethos. They were introduced to process and skills of contemporary Silk Fiber Papermaking and created beautiful pieces to hang in their schools on legends such as the Salmon of Knowledge.

Kolbe Special School also took a ‘whole-school’ approach, experimenting with clay in different forms. Pupils made a colourful series of ceramic tiles with individual mark, now in their garden.

Scoil Naisiunta Naomh Eoin, Rath, Birr pupils also explored willow, learning weaving to make Sciatog baskets and dream catchers, learning ‘Down by the Sally Gardens’ on tin whistle and composing acrostic willow poems.