Farringtons is the one of only a handful of school in the country with a dedicated Ceramics studio. The superb Ceramics Studio in the Stratford House building is very well equipped and resourced, with two Roderveld electric wheels, a large electric kiln and facilities to undertake smoke firing. The studio provides an opportunity to work with a completely different skill set to both their academic studies and the other subjects within the Creative Arts department.
Pupils have the opportunity to explore the unique qualities of clay and are taught the traditional skills of the craft of pottery. They develop a working knowledge of tools and materials, an understanding of ceramics’ place in society and its importance in a historical and cultural context. Ideas are formulated, explored and refined through design-based projects. The aim is for pupils to enjoy the creative process and be rewarded by the satisfaction they gain through their individual efforts to design and make visually pleasing, functional and decorative forms.
At key stage two pupils are introduced to the ceramics studio and focus on learning the fundamentals. They work through the golden rules and explore various making and glazing techniques producing several fully resolved outcomes. In year 5 they work on generating ideas, hand modelling, joining parts and decorating with velvet and glimmer glazes. They are encouraged to reflect on their work and the lesson ends with a group discussion where everyone has the opportunity to speak freely about their experiences of the days task. In year 6 they build on their existing skills by exploring more complex methods of modelling and glazing and begin to learn to throw on the potters wheel.
They are expected to work collaboratively and also on more pupil led projects encouraging them to generate their own ideas based on a theme. Each week a pupil from each year group is awarded potter of the week - an award that is awarded not only for attainment but also for effort or improvement. Year 5 and 6 get to respond to externally set competitions and briefs, for example the Chislehurst Society awards and the National Gallery’s project ‘ Take one picture’. Ceramics encourages improvement in dexterity and problem solving, year 5 and 6 also learn the importance of patience as ceramics can be a slow but ultimately rewarding process.
Pupils already taking Art or Design GCSE and A levels can choose to incorporate ceramics into their studies. Where appropriate they can work closely with staff to experiment and realise fully functional or decorative outcomes. These should support their work in other mediums and be relevant to their topics of investigation. Those not taking Art & Design A levels are also welcome to make use of the facilities should their schedule allow, they can do this by attending drop in sessions or during free periods.