Posts Tagged ‘Buck Wood’

In an earlier post we mentioned that we found a special fragment of pottery on the site of the old Open Air School in Buck Wood, Thackley, Bradford. The piece was from an old blue and white plate with the sign-language (finger spelling) alphabet running around the edge.

The children from class 2 at Idle Primary School learned about the finger spelling alphabet and each child signed a letter. The letters spelled out a message – “Greetings from Buck Wood Children!” Angie photographed each child’s hand sign and put them together to make a special concertina book.

Here’s a close-up view of two pages, showing letters ‘n’ and ‘g’ from the word ‘greetings’.

Finger Spelling
You can see how carefully the year 2 children formed the finger spelling shapes with their hands and how we decided to make the photographs blue and white to match the plate fragment we found.

Book At Impressions Gallery

And here’s a picture of our friend Jill Kelly helping Kellan to work out what the message says.


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During our last morning at Idle Primary School we made some special prints with Class 2. We called them ‘Magic Sunshine Prints’ but their real name is Cyanotypes. Cyan is another name for blue. Cyanotypes are a kind of photography. We placed leaves, grasses and flowers on the special paper outside in the sunshine, with a sheet of plastic over the top to hold things down in the wind which was quite blustery. Here is a picture of Viv and some boys creating their cyanotype.

The sunshine makes the paper go dark blue except where the leaves have been, which stays pale blue or white. Its like capturing the shadow of your object. After a couple of minutes in the sun, you put the paper in a bath of water to fix the image.

The children from class 2 made lots of wonderful patterns with their leaves and petals. Angie and Viv had collected all the green things from Buck Wood in the morning and brought them into school. This was the opposite of last week when all the children were collected at school and brought to Buck Wood!

Here is a picture showing just three of the 14 amazing cyantoypes that the children made.


The ferns and the Wild Rose petals are especially beautiful, but you can spot Holly and Oak leaves too.

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We’d like to show you all 30 of our lovely blue and white plates but there just isn’t enough room. It was so very hard to choose the ones you can see below because we liked them all.

Well done Lucy, Haleemah, Jake, Emma, Cara-Leigh and Joel!
Well done all of Year 2!




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More exciting news – Artists Angie and Viv have started working with children from Idle Primary School on the See You Outside project. Today Angie and Viv helped children from Year 2 to make some wonderful artworks and on Thursday it will be the turn of lucky children from Year 1.
A few months ago we were looking at the site of the old Open Air School in Buck Wood and we found lots of small pieces of broken pottery. We think they are bits of plates used by children from the old school when they were having their lunch. Angie found a very unusual fragment that shows part of a picture of children having a picnic and round the outside is the Alphabet done in ‘finger spelling’ which is a kind of sign language used by deaf people. Here is a photo of the pieces. You can see the sign for A on the right:
tiny hands
We think this is very interesting and we have found out that lots of children used to have a plate with the Alphabet of letters around the outside of the plate and then further in, the finger spelling alphabet and then, in the middle a lovely picture. Here is an example with some cats in the middle, aren’t they great!
cat plate
Today the children from Idle School have created their very own blue and white plate designs on paper plates. They did a wonderful job and everyone’s design is completely different. The patterns and pictures are all about the old school in Buck Wood and the creatures and plants found in the woodland nearby.
Year 2 also learned how to spell out a message using finger spelling. The message said:

“Greetings from Buck Wood Childen”

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We like to be sure our art workshops are providing great opportunities for learning new skills and for enjoying the outdoors. So at the end of every session we ask those taking part to tell us what is good and to say if there are any problems. Here is a sample of the feedback produced by the Salt Grammar group.



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Here are just a few of the fabulous Drypoint Prints made in our Open Air Studio, revealed in all their Viridian glory.

Jodie and Kiara's prints

Jodie has done well to use so many different and expressive marks in her image.  Kiara’s big leaf has a beautiful simplicity of line.

Vanessa and Connor's prints

Vanessa has very carefully observed the bark on this tree, whilst Connor has depicted the ghostly image of the old school beneath the present day vegetation.

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children from the past

Buck Wood has a long and fascinating history. One hundred years ago in 1908, an Open Air School was opened in the woods to provide a healthy environment for children suffering from poverty and illness.

For over 30 years the woods gave health and happiness to thousands of children, with open-fronted classrooms and access to fresh air at all times.

A group of people called The Friends Of Buck Wood have done a great job of clearing away all the undergrowth on the site of the old school and revealing the actual spot where the classrooms used to be.

Our See You Outside project is all about learning to do art outdoors, and so we just had to take the opportunity to bring the Open Air School back to life for a brief moment and to capture the wonderful atmosphere of Buck Wood. Like the ephemeral mayfly that lives for one day only, our outdoor printmaking classroom came into being for just a few hours last Friday. Angie and Viv set up a gazebo on the old school site, followed by our portable etching press, work table and equipment.

Once again we were lucky with the weather and our young people from Salt Grammar School were able to take full advantage of the beautiful woods as inspiration for their Intaglio printmaking. The group worked really hard, rising to the challenge of learning a new and complex skill, and their drypoint prints all turned out to be excellent and surprisingly varied. The open air printmaking was a complete success!

2008 children

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