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Make Your Future Blog

Viewpoints on Make Your Future, a hands-on programme connecting traditional craft and digital technologies in schools.

Woodfield School – An Artsmark Journey

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager 25/06/19

We spoke to Deepa Vekaria, Art and Design Technology lead at Woodfield School about their journey to being awarded “Gold” Artsmark status. Deepa worked with us on the first year of Make Your Future back in 2016 and has also worked with Camden Arts Centre and Tate on a number of education projects, offering her pupils a rich and varied creative curriculum.

Woodfield school is also a special school, the first of many to join us on Make Your Future over the last three years. Deepa’s expertise and our experience of working with her pupils helped us further shape the MYF offer, to be able to work with many more schools outside of mainstream education. The staff at Woodfield work with pupils with Autism, Moderate Learning Difficulties and Severe Learning Difficulties.

Maker-educator Joanna Veevers and a pupil at Woodfield school.

From your experience, tell us why craft education is so important in SEN schools? 

Craft is so important for every learner in every setting, having the opportunity to make and work with materials such as clay, play dough, kinetic sand is invaluable. Learners have loved working with clay (sensory) and many pupils naturally explored the material independently. Learning though play is so important as this allows the opportunity for learners to problem solve, they soon realised that by adding too much water, they couldn't create a form, they asked great questions about clay such as where does clay came from? Can they come in different colours? Learners had so much fun as we had a small kiln that we didn’t really use, they were excited about seeing how their work looked after it had been fired. I had basic skills in working with clay and the CPD sessions were tailored in a way that we could be open and free to ask questions, make mistakes and learn new techniques that we had never used before.

How did Make Your Future support your Artsmark journey?

Our partnership with you has been inspirational. Thank you for all of your support as you have invested time and resources, which helped us to start working with clay again after so many years. Your commitment and passion in ensuring that we felt supported at each stage of the process has meant so much. The professional artists that have worked with us have been incredible and we will definitely be working with them again soon. Our pupils still talk about the artists when we bring out a bag of clay! Thank you for everything.

Was it a challenge having a small art team at your school?

The partnerships that we have built have been such a huge inspiration, they have provided on going support and I have never felt as though I had a small art team as the Make Your Future Project was delivered in such a great way that I felt I could develop new skills and work at my own pace with the support that you provided and the artists who worked with us in our school. The support from our Head of school and SLT team has been fantastic as I feel as though I can try out new ways of working, take pupils out to see Museums and galleries, attend training events so that I can continue to develop areas within my own teaching practice.

Clay tiles produced by Deepa's pupils with maker-educator Joanna Veevers

Through Artsmark, have you noticed a difference in the learners and any cultural shifts regarding craft and arts education in your school?

We are always striving for excellence and innovation and are always looking to improve. There has been a systematic change, shared leadership, a culture of collaborative working with both staff and pupils and an open approach that allows success to come through. We have developed strong cross-curricular links with other departments and will continue to develop, support and share skills with one another.  
The ongoing support that we have received from establishing new partnerships with CAC, Crafts Council and the SEND network over the two years has been invaluable and they have played a central role to the success of our Artsmark journey. Our school is invested in continuing to establish new partnerships and we value the importance of being part of a growing and very active network. Our pupils have become more confident in being able to express themselves through: attending regular workshops, developing new skills by working with professional artists, developing team building skills, developing their confidence and through exploring and experimenting with a range of different medium and techniques. 

We have enhanced our learning environment through creating meaningful displays which are interactive, working large enables pupils and staff the opportunity to work together. We will develop students as leaders in KS3 by delivering art assemblies where KS4 pupils will mentor younger pupils to support them with developing essential leadership skills. We will continue to seek more opportunities to collaborate with other schools and by being a part of the SEND network, we have already started discussing ideas for a project with three SEN schools as part of the Tate Exchange residency. We will continue to seek opportunities for involving the wider community to work on meaningful projects and submit a proposal for a community art project to the Borough of Culture. 

Children and young people: Pupils have achieved higher GCSE Art and Design results (2 L4's, 1 L3) and higher Entry-levels for WJEC and OCR. The impact of these partnerships and change in specifications has contributed to raising pupil attainment. Feedback from the moderators report shows an improvement, 'materials, tools, techniques were used effectively to develop ideas. The centre has provided an inspiring range of creative experiences for their candidates.'  

The partnerships have provided high quality experiences and memories for our students. This has developed a sense of curiosity and engagement in activities that would not have been possible to recreate in the classroom (budget, time, access to specialists). We noticed pupils were more motivated, passionate, working collaboratively became a natural part of our day. We have an art club, pupils use Golden time to develop coursework.  
The art assemblies provided an opportunity for KS4 students to develop leadership skills and confidence. They transferred and applied the skills they learnt during the CAC workshops (pupils felt at home). Pupils feel they are investing in something new and meaningful (sense of worth, pride). Pupils have quoted, ‘I feel more independent. I enjoyed sharing my skills with others. I felt proud of myself.'
A governor observed a pupil with ASC and complex anxiety participating in the assembly, 'He worked happily and attentively, tuning out background noise that would normally agitate him.' 
Staff have the opportunity to learn, share skills and develop confidence during art assemblies. A tutor said, 'pupils are able to work together cooperatively and see their work displayed around the school.'
A KS3 teacher (semi formal curriculum) attended the CPD sessions (St. Martins) and said, 'I transferred these skills into the classroom and built Diva lamps with my class. This enriched a whole lesson where students were fulfilling their sensory needs as well as being creative and experimental with clay.'  

Parents and wider community: When creating whole school displays we have explored ways of involving parents and the wider community to contribute to their formulation e.g. an interactive art display for our annual International cultural evening, created a positive buzz as students, staff, families, governors and members of the local community attended the event to sharing their culture and nationality. Those who attended were a central part to creating the final ‘community’ art display by signposting on a leaf their cultural background.

Painting clay slips onto plaster at Woodfield school

Tell us a bit more about your journey to reach Gold Artsmark status? Do you think it was more of a challenge being a SEN school?

I feel that each individual setting will have their own challenges especially if this is the first time they have registered for Artsmark. Many teachers that I have met over the last few months have said that it is a lot of work but my view is that, it hasn’t actually added more workload…it works with what you are already doing but gives you more freedom to think out of the box and try something different, enhances your existing skills, develop new skills, work with passionate professionals, build meaningful partnerships and inspire pupils (more confident, engaged, motivated, take risks, not be afraid to make mistakes and express themselves). 

Do you have any advice for other schools thinking about applying for Artsmark?

Please register for Artsmark as you will embark on a journey that is inspirational. Please come and visit our school, we would love to support other schools and collaborate on projects together. You will have support from your Bridge organisations. This is your journey and you can channel it in any direction that works for your setting.


Make Your Future - Clay Selfies

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager 17/06/19

Helen Johannessen is one of our maker-educators, working in two of our West London schools this year. Helen’s projects have helped many young people gain confidence in working with clay and have introduced them to different elements of the design cycle as well as becoming more comfortable with experimenting and feeling okay with unexpected outcomes both successful and unsuccessful, a key part of learning to be a maker!

Helen working with pupils and teachers at Phoenix Academy

We spoke with Richard Mullany, Head of Art at Phoenix Academy, about his experience of working with Helen this year…

“This project was about connecting our young people to the wider world, in this instance with the wonderful Helen Johannessen, our ceramic specialist. It was about opening up their creative experiences and allowing them the opportunity to work with a material that they have rarely if ever encountered before.

The Year 9 students selected, lucky as they may have been, were a little wary at first. They were taught some basic techniques when working with clay by Helen, such as thumb pot, coil pot and slab building. With a little encouragement and dedication, the students began to warm to the stranger amidst them and their self-awareness as well as their peer performances slowly slipped away, well, mostly.

Once the students had constructed their own vessels using the techniques they had acquired, they experimented with the decoration and glazing of their pieces.
Now, we are all too aware that no-one loves a selfie more than our young students do, so it was decided what better way to finish the project off than to make a self-portrait for their final pieces. Armed with a mirror, a ball of clay and some expert tutorials from Helen the students got to work producing some incredibly meticulous, personal responses.”  

Clay selfies being constructed

We also love to hear what the pupils have thought about their workshops and these quotes really capture the magic of working with clay and experiencing it’s transformation through firing…

“That plate is made out of clay? I don’t believe you. You mean my pots going to turn hard like that that?!”

“Errr this feels weird but I kinda love it!”

“You mean I’m actually going to be able to drink out of this once it’s put in the oven?”

Clay hand

Heart vessel form

A clay selfie before firing

Come and see the clay selfies for yourself at the London "Make Your Future" exhibition, hosted by Central Saint Martins from 3rd July – 28st July. We will be presenting works from our 8 West London Schools at this event.


Make your Future - A sense of place

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager 16/06/19

Gareth Wadkin at Leeds Arts Univerity, is one of our University partners, delivering CPD sessions to our secondary school teachers across the first three years of Make your Future and curating last years student exhibition. Gareth is also one of our maker-educators, working directly in schools to deliver a series of craft workshops. This year he’s been working with teachers and pupils at Cathedral Academy on a textiles art project.

Gareth Wadkin delivers an introductory presentation on Make Your Future

Gareth explains a little more about the ideas behind his workshops…

“Students from Cathedral Academy explored the idea of ‘Place’ and what it means in response to their home, school and Wakefield, West Yorkshire. For the project, students explored local architectural landmarks, objects and narratives from school and/or home. Cathedral Academy student’s gathered visual research from a variety of sources and gained an understanding of the production and application of dye sublimation techniques to explore the theme of ‘Place’. Students worked collaboratively and individually, developing observational drawings and producing a handcrafted wall hanging with a sharp, graphic aesthetic. Students explored the science and technology behind printing and manufacturing textiles using dyeing sublimation along with how to structure composition and surface patterning using mathematics, shape, space and measures, including transformations and symmetry. Through mind mapping, research tasks, group tutorials and presentations students will be introduced to new vocabulary to support English Language.”

Drawing development session at Cathedral Academy

Chris Dyer our craft champion teacher at Cathedral Academy told us about the benefits of the project so far…

“The opportunities afforded to the students and staff working on our collaborative projects has been a unique experience for all concerned.

Our pupils, from all sections of the academy, have benefited from the new skill sets taught to the staff in CPD & our bespoke workshops, delivered by exceptional tutor from our local post 16 providers. It has opened the doors to  new formats of creativity within the department and stimulated keen interest in the opportunities beyond our classrooms, for all those involve.”.

And three Pupils at Cathedral Academy told us what they are enjoying about the workshops…

“It’s been really fun learning about textiles and the history of textile in West Yorkshire.”

“I didn’t realise how much science and maths was involved in creating printed textiles.”

“I’ve enjoyed timed and continuous line drawing to make work for this project. It helped me work quickly to a strict deadline and not to be so precious about my artwork.”

You'll be able to see the final outcomes for this project at our co-lead University, University of Leeds this summer from - 10th  -12th July and 15th - 18th  July 10-4pm.


Make Your Future - Kinetic Craft Project

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager 16/06/19

One of our Midlands schools is currently working with maker Melanie Tomlinson on a praxinoscope project, which explores kinetic art and engineering alongside traditional craft skills.

Melanie explains what the school have been working on during her visits...

“Pupils created an illustrated and raspberry pi driven Praxinoscope. The praxinoscope was made from tin, copper and aluminium using simple metalwork techniques with illustrations created by pupils printed onto its surface. Themes explored included the local environment which is both urban and rural. Pupils also made wire sculptures that were incorporated into the piece. Techniques included riveting, embossing, hammering, heating and sewing metal to create narrative components. As part of the project students explored sequential image making through making paper zoetrope’s which were tested by spinning them on old record players to experiment with speed versus legibility of image.”

The praxinoscope being created at Birchensale School

We also spoke to Shirley Roberts our craft champion teacher at Birchensale School about how the sessions were developing...

“The children are being challenged in an area not discovered before. Mel has had them looking at the local area for inspirations for art their work. They have loved learning new metal work skills in forming, shaping and texturing with tools they have not used. They are excited about moving forwards and seeing the fruits of their labour come to Life!”

Design work for the praxinoscope being discussed

And we heard from some of the students working on the project about their experiences so far…


“I have enjoyed doing wire work and making the prototypes of the Praxinoscope and testing them out on a record player first.  I enjoyed texturing the metal and I have learned how to rivet metal and use metal tools.  Some of the meta work was challenging as it was quite fiddly, but this was a great opportunity and I enjoyed making stuff”.


“I have enjoyed every moment of this project.  I like the challenge of hard tasks and I have enjoyed making all the different things and the Praxinoscope. It has been fun learning new techniques. I have learned lots of new skills like heating the metal, texturing, riveting and making marks with letter stamps into copper. It might help me in my future life. Overall, I have really enjoyed the experience and hope to carry on in later life.”


“I’ve enjoyed everything that we have done but if I had to choose one thing it would be heating up the metal which makes lots of colours and printing patterns onto the metal. During this time, I have learned lots of new skills. Some of these include heating, texturing, embossing, letter stamping and more. This was a very fun learning experience and I really enjoyed it”.


“I’ve enjoyed drawing pictures and placing them on the paper to transform them onto metal and then onto the Praxinoscope. It was difficult to cut metal accurately, but I enjoyed working with metal and heating it up then texturing it.”


“I’ve learned new techniques on how to work with metal sheets and also, I have learned how to print onto metal.  I’ve really enjoyed designing the praxinoscope and the sequential images that go inside and move when turned”.

You will be able to see the finished praxinoscope next month at our Make Your Future Birmingham exhibition, along with works created by our 7 other Midlands schools. The exhibition is hosted by Birmingham City University’s world-class School of Jewellery and runs between 8th -19th July 2019.


Make Your Future – Workshops in Schools

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager 10/05/19

Our third year of Make Your Future workshops are now underway. Each school is teamed with a professional maker who spends between four and eight days delivering craft workshops for up to 70 pupils at key stage 3. Here’s a taster of what our 24 schools in Leeds, London and Birmingham have been working on…

Caroline Pratt - Mount St Mary's Catholic High School - Leeds

Working collaboratively, Yr7 and Yr8 students explored a collective sense of place through discussing the intersections within their community of culture, environment and identity. Introduced to stencil based screen-print; pupils developed a series of textile banners that aimed to both echo the ecclesiastical heritage of their school alongside celebrating the format as a vehicle for pride and communication within a community. Following a series of experimental drawing tasks, students produced stylised paper-cut motifs which were arranged utilising mathematical transformations and textile design thinking to develop fabric based printed outcomes. These were then stitched into tessellating geometric compositions to form large scale textile pieces.

Print portrait - by pupils at Mount St Mary's Catholic High School

Joley Clinkard - The Village School - London

Taking influence from the sights, sounds and textures around them, students will explore mark making and surface design through a series of ceramic workshops. They will have the opportunity to explore the feel and materiality of clay, create surface designs using coloured slips as well as learning hand-building techniques to design and create their own 3D objects. The project will be collaborative in nature, with students of different abilities coming together to create communal work, which represents all of their talents. 

Sophie Huckfield – North Birmingham Academy & Mosely School - Birmingham

Working with a wide range of materials and processes. Sophie Huckfield’s Make Your Future Workshop will explore the role of body in relation the tools and technologies we interact with daily. We will explore moulding and casting processes using a range of materials from pewter to clay. We will explore how these processes are used in industry, looking at how the body is intrinsic to the design of objects (ergonomics) and how our action and movement powers the creation and use of these objects.

Elisabeth Gaston and Jane Scott - Allerton Grange - Leeds

Students will use free hand loop construction processes to explore the effect of material properties on knitted outcomes. They will investigate the production of integrally knitted three-dimensional forms using simple algorithms. Outcomes will include rigid self-supporting structure which utilise small loop length and a draped, tensioned structure which utilise large loop lengths. Using work produced by small groups, the students will collaborate to then produce one large textile installation. They will need good communication skills to convey their design intentions and be willing to listen to the ideas of others. The project will also allow students to experience risk in their work through the production of work with no prescribed outcome.


Wire Workshop with Helaina Sharpley - CPD for Make Your Future teachers

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager 28/03/19

We invited the teachers who had participated in year one and two of Make Your Future to take part in a follow on CPD session at Leeds Arts University, led by maker-educator Helaina Sharpley. Working from hand drawn templates, Helaina demonstrated how to work with wire to shape, bend and connect different elements. These processes were then used to create a final wire artwork. Teachers were invited to bring in their own photographs and line drawing to work from, so that it could be particular to their individual interests and the topics being covered in their classroom. Both two and three dimensional artworks were created in this three hour taster session.

Wire Bee, by Chris Dyer

Helaina said about the session…

“I had a great group of enthused and interested secondary school teachers from a range of schools.  After looking at examples of my work and ideas made in other workshops, the teachers spent some time drawing their ideas - these drawings were then the templates for the wire work.  I demonstrated how to manipulate the wire using hand tools and formas and then the teachers had free reign to play and experiment!  Some created direct representations of their drawings - faces, roses and birds.  Whilst others made 3-D wire drawings - Chris made an amazing bee! 

Lots of discussion happened throughout the session about how they have used wire in the past and how they may take this forward, perhaps linking it with experimental drawing  or using it in a portraiture project.  

It was an enjoyable and relaxed session with some inspirational results.”

Helaina Sharpley demonstrating wire work techniques at Leeds Arts University


Craft in film

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager

We talked to Helen Johannessen, one of our Make Your Future maker/educators about her work in the film Industry. Helen studied on the Ceramics and Jewellery BA at Middlesex and recently returned to study an MA in ceramics and glass at the RCA. Helen’s career has spanned setting up her own ceramics company, working as a professional model and mould maker, consultancy work, mentoring and a fine art ceramics practise.

Many artists and designers who have trained in *Craft* subjects, see their careers branch out into diverse areas of the creative industries. We might not necessarily associate working in film with our traditional notions craft careers, but there are so many paths to choose from. Speaking with Helen highlights just one…

Tell us about the film projects you worked on. What did you make and what films were they used in?

I worked at Shepperton Film Studios, South West London, as a model maker and contributed to three movies over two years. The first was a re-make of Lost in Space, I sculpted huge amounts of scenery with a team of people, we made four different sizes of the same set for different camera and cast shots - lots of rocks and landscape backdrops. The most impressive set I was involved with was 12th scale model of Trafalgar Square. All the buildings, sculptural detail, roads, rooftops were made, even down to tiny taxis and traffic lights. It took around six months and 60-70 model maker to complete it, along with specialist painters who made the materials (wood and plastic mainly) come alive with techniques to mimic brickwork, wear and tear etc.

Finally, I worked on a Petronas Tower model, still 10 metres high despite being scaled down to 20th scale. It was the tallest building in the world at the time and the model itself nearly broke the record of being the highest in the film industry.

The Petronas Towers model on stage (Movie: Entrapment). Cherry picker and people show the scale.

How did you make the move from working in your ceramics studio to your freelance work in film?

I started as a visiting lecturer at Buckinghamshire University. I’d built up diverse making skills and understood a lot about materials and ways to form them so I could share this with other students, as well as having a creative and problem solving approach. Straight after graduating I trained as a mould maker for the ceramic industry, so I believe the accumulation of experience, as well as being a good networker gained, me jobs so that I could do all sorts of exciting things and get paid for it too!

What did you enjoy about working on films and how did it differ from working on your own collections/projects?

It’s incredible to be surrounded by so many talented people with years of experience, you can gain from this and learn quickly, build on your skillset which will always be with you. I enjoyed the huge community spirit that differs when working in a studio by yourself and it’s a great way to meet people with varied interests and backgrounds. It was brilliant to be able to use so many materials and tools, quite abundant if employed by a large company of this type.

Architectural detail for Trafalger Square Admiralty Arch. Model Size – 30cm high. Real life x 20 = 6 metres

What were the challenges of working in film?

Long hours as the job needs to get done, usually in a short space of time, but it’s a good discipline; to reach deadlines. The bonus is that most things seem easy after the final weeks of completing a movie set!

Were you working with a team of makers on the projects or were you responsible for making everything yourself?

 It was very much team work as the projects were so big, but usually you’d be assigned a part of a job so had individual responsibility and sometimes guiding a smaller team.

What advantage did your years of study and experience in ceramics bring to your work in film?

I had confidence in learning new things quickly and applying the skills that I was already developing and a good disciplined attitude.  The love of making with my hands and using it in the real world on real projects feels amazing.

The Admiralty Arch model shell prior to painting. Scale 1:20

What would you say to young people thinking about working in art jobs for film?

Try and gain as much experience wherever you can, there are a lot of transferable skills in most jobs so don’t narrow your ideas or options initially. You may learn something you never even thought about if you keep open minded about the arts. Be keen, listen well - a hardworking attitude gets you noticed. Work your way up and maintain a successful working creative life, I can thoroughly recommend it!


Peruvian-inspired weaving at Dixons Academy

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager 01/10/2018

One of our Make Your Future schools, Dixons City Academy in Yorkshire, has been working on a new project called ‘Wonder and Dread’,inspired by Alke Schmidt’s exhibition at the Bradford Industrial Museum. Students have been learning traditional hand weaving techniques, which incorporate mathematics and creative problem solving skills.

Pupils at Dixons Academy weaving with paper

We like to keep in touch with schools after their first intensive year on the Make Your Future programme and continue to offer support through learning resources, opportunities and 1:1 advice to support their individual interests. Dixons Academy got in touch to tell us about their current project…

“Bright Peruvian textiles have formed the starting point for prints, paper plans, research sheets, and woven textile pieces on cardboard hand looms.  Students have responded with some well-thought out research, investigating the aesthetics and history of Peruvian Textiles. Their initial works reflect the bright colours and ancient imagery often associated with the rich heritage of textiles from Peru.”


Student Exhibitions in Birmingham and Leeds

As we come to the end of Make Your Future's second year, we wanted to share some images from the student exhibitions at Birmingham School of Jewellery and Leeds Arts University, held in July and August. We were thrilled to see Make Your Future work filling the gallery space in both venues— staff had done a brilliant job of installing the work, showcasing the breadth and quality of what students had produced.

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager 01.07.18

At Leeds Arts University, the exhibition showcased a wide range of textile techniques and processes including screen printing, heat transfer printing, stencil making, design for sportswear, weaving machine and hand knit, felt making and millinery. At Birmingham School of Jewellery, projects ranged from electro etching and coloured aluminium jewellery to collaborative sculpture using a broad range of metalsmithing techniques. An innovative STEM project devised by make Sophie Huckfield included multiple materials being used for castings and moulds, which could be developed into a number of craft disciplines outside of jewellery

Maker Theresa Nguyen with a teacher at Birmingham School of Jewellery

Gareth Wadkin with a student at Leeds Arts University

We were really keen for as many students as possible to see their work on display in a university setting, and gain an insight into what it would be like to study at both organisations. To launch the exhibition, we invited students from all of the participating schools to attend an afternoon or talks, tours, and workshops to celebrate their achievements.

At Leeds Arts Univerity, students took part in creative workshops facilitated by University Alumni. Mike Ford, Product Manager at Nike, also gave careers talks for students, highlighting his unconventional route into working in the creative industries. The talk was interactive and encouraged learners to respond to a series of questions with personal responses. A tour of the University was organised for pupils, with student ambassadors introducing pupils to the textile studios as well as the photography studios, print rooms, the library and the computer suite, giving students a wider view of courses available at the University and what studying in Higher education might be like. Craft careers in film were highlighted by showing students examples of latex models and 3d works in a range of materials, in reference to models and prop making.

At Birmingham School of Jewellery, pupils were  given a tour of the University including the jewellery studios, both housing traditional hand tools and benches as well as the digital and high tech laboratories. Learners were shown objects that had been created with digital technology, including creature s for the Harry Potter films. Jennifer Collier, a local paper artist, delivered a demonstration showing pupils how she creates three dimensional forms using paper and traditional embroidery techniques. Dauvit Alexander delivered a pewter casting demonstration in the school of jewellery workshops. 

Student with 3D printed model
Pewter casting demonstration
Afternoon workshops were followed by evening Private View events, where parents were invited along to see the work their children had produced. Many parents had not visited the Universities before. In Birmingham, one pupil was in attendance with her step-father who explained he had not attended University but was keen for his daughter to have the opportunity to do so. The daughter was interested in training as a social worker, but had enjoyed working on the project. Another father visiting the private view with his daughter was a consultant for the NHS and spoke to us with his daughter about different career routes they had been considering. The daughter was interested in both working in medicine and the arts and the father was supportive of her exploring both, and also talked about the possibilities of pursuing each area as a portfolio career.
Private View at Birmingham School of Jewellery

Make Your Future Workshops for your School

Joanne Haywood, Make Your Future Project Manager

One of the new craft education resources we have been developing recently are a series of workshop offers, to be able to offer a taste of Make Your Future to schools across the country not directly involved in the project. This offer is presented as a portfolio of craft projects from professional makers who worked with us on the first year of Make Your Future, delivering craft workshops in schools. Each offer is complete with an outline of the workshop, essential equipment you will need and a maker biography. You can download it here.

Schools will need to self-fund their own workshop and work directly with the maker to plan a one day workshop, series of workshops, artist in residence or CPD for teachers. Many of these can be tailor made to meet your needs and curriculum. They are aimed at key stage 3 – but they are adaptable to different year groups too.

We understand that teachers are extremely busy and finding the time to organise projects with visiting artist can be a challenge. This offer presents workshops that are tried and tested with maker educators who have experience of delivering workshops in schools on our flagship education project.


The Value of Reflective Practice

Tamar MacLellan (MA FSET) is Head of Creative Arts at Oxford Tutorial College. An experienced artist teacher, she has a track record co-constructing curricula with learners and academic peers in order to facilitate the production of high level and individual arts practice. Here she shares some of the insight she’s gained into the value of reflective practice for both teachers and students. You can download our our Reflective Diary for Educators here

'In 2014, I began to investigate the blurring of teacher-student identities in the classroom through the establishment of communities of practice. The catalyst for this was a return to my own craft making practices, alongside an interest in raising levels of engagement and autonomy within post-16 art, design and craft curricula. As I re-engaged with making, I increasingly delivered assignments which embedded opportunities to learn from and with students. Purposeful practice began to evolve, evidenced through the sharing and exchange of ideas connected to materials and techniques rather than awarding body specifications and assessment criteria. Whilst documenting my own ideas developed within this shared learning, I became aware of multiple interplays between working as an artist and working as a teacher; in particular, the value of reflective practice within both roles.

Initial ideas and sampling with materials within my own sketchbooks, began to be extended by written notes documenting thinking around how I might introduce these techniques to students, and the potential for students to extend these within their individual craft making practices. I began to include opportunities for classes to be co-constructed with students, which enabled the subject matter and styles of working to be finalised collectively at the start of lessons and reflected upon at the end. Reflective practice became a process to extend my understanding of the theory and practice within both teaching and making. At this time, I had a SMART Interactive Whiteboard within my classroom which my students and I used interchangeably to alter original lesson plans, extend research and document new ideas. Pages produced in class were saved, re-read and reflected upon to inform subsequent sessions. In this way, my teaching became responsive to both planned and emerging ideas, and learning and teaching began to inform each other.  I made use of a framework for reflective practice which enabled consideration of the content of each class, examination of learning and identification of next steps through responding to three questions: ‘what?’, ‘so what?’ and ‘now what?’

Making sense of my own developing ideas - What? So What ? Now What?

I encouraged students to make use of the same reflective practice framework, firstly within their sketchbooks, and then within specific reflective practice journals.  These were varied in format, with some students (and myself) preferring hand-written daily entries, whilst others preferred to document their thoughts digitally, embedding documentary-style photographs alongside text.

Documenting New Ideas - Level 2 Art & Design students making use of the SMART Interactive Whiteboard and a traditional whiteboard, Bournville College, 2015

I read about how crafts practitioners share and develop individual practice online and noted that this approach to learning outside of the classroom can increase creativity, motivation and self-confidence. Authors stated that individuals engaged in these online communities of practice typically want each other to flourish and succeed. This encouraged the development of online reflective practice opportunities and I began to make use of course Moodle sites, closed Facebook groups and both private and public WordPress blogs. Students enjoyed the opportunity to both reflect on their own work outside of the classroom and give and receive feedback to their peers.

Over the last four years I have continued to make use of both private and public Blogs to document my own practice within teaching and making and to enable new groups of students to undertake reflective practice. I continue to find them to be particularly successful in capturing reflections before, during and after classes have taken place, in addition to documenting the process of experiential learning as projects are developed, refined and resolved.'

Links to online blogs:

Meeting in the Middle:  https://meetinginthemiddleblog.wordpress.com

This blog evidences the collaborative practice between Philippa Wood and myself, and includes posts which document the process of research, peer influence, risk taking and change to known working practices alongside reflective practice as projects are started, developed and concluded.

Collaborative Pairing:   https://collaborativepairing.wordpress.com

This blog evidences the research I began in 2014, and documents something of the journey I underwent whilst re-engaging with my own craft making practices and learning from and with students.

Further reading suggestions:

Budge, K (2012) Art and Design Blogs: A Socially-Wise Approach to Creativity, International Journal of Art and Design Education, 31.1, 44 – 53

Budge, K, Beale, C and Lynas, E (2013) ‘A Chaotic Intervention: Creativity and Peer Learning in Design Education’, International Journal of Art and Design Education, 32(2), pp.146-156.

Hall, J (2010) Making Art, Teaching Art, Learning Art: Exploring the Concept of the Artist Teacher, International Journal of Art and Design Education, 29.2, 103 – 110

Holmes, C and Kelly, A (2013) Connected Cloth:  Creating Collaborative Textile Projects. London: Batsford

Illeris, K (2009) Contemporary Theories of Learning. Abingdon: Routledge

Korn, P (2013) Why We Make Things & Why it Matters, Penguin Random House UK

Page, T (2012) A Shared Place of Discovery and Creativity: Practices of Contemporary Art and Design Pedagogy, International Journal of Art and Design Education, 31.1, 67-71

Ravetz, A, Kettle, A and Felcey, H (2013) Collaboration Through Craft. London: Bloomsbury

Watkins, C (2001) ‘Learning about Learning enhances performance’, The National School Improvement Research Matters Institute of Education, 13, pp.1-8

Wenger, E (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity, Cambridge University Press, 263-277

Williams, K; Woolliams, M; Spiro, J (2012) Reflective Writing: Pocket Study Skills, Palgrave MacMillan


Paper-weaving-print: Yorkshire's textile heritage reimagined through printed textile design

Gareth Wadkin, Printmaker, Textile Designer and Lecturer in BA (Hons) Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design at Leeds Arts University, 5/4/18

Make Your Future workshops at Horsforth School were a design reinvention of weave through heat transfer printing. Weave and print were explored through both hand and digital print techniques, bringing together both traditional crafts and contemporary technologies.

At Horsforth School pupils were introduced to different manufacturing processes in textile design and how art and design is fundamental to creative careers in the UK textile industry. Students produced repeating paper weaves and design sequences, which they then transferred to polyester cloth using a sublimation, heat transfer method. Mathematical sequences and geometry were both examined in the construction process and Chemistry was also explored through the sublimation printing process.

West Yorkshire was once home to some of the largest textile mills in the world, where weavers turned cotton, flax and wool into colourful cloth. Weaving and printed textiles, the process of applying colour and pattern to fabric, share a long history around the world. The weaving of paper surfaces and heat transfer/dye sublimation printing fit perfectly into this tradition and Year 8 pupils from Horsforth approached this technique with enthusiasm and ambition, producing a series of superb prints for the exhibition in June.

Make Your Future: Looking Back at the Pilot Year, 5/4/18

Bridget McKenzie, Evaluator, Flow Associates

My role in Make Your Future, along with my co-director Susanne Buck, is to evaluate the programme. This means helping the Crafts Council think about how the programme can keep improving to make a real difference for young people, their teachers and schools, and the wider crafts and education sectors.

A first task was to do some background research to understand how Make Your Future fits in the national picture of making and creative education.

Some vital reading was the Crafts Council’s 2014 manifesto ‘Our Future is in the Making’, that sets out the case for every child having the chance to develop craft skills and achieve their full potential. Many schools are cutting GCSE, BTEC and A level options in Art, Textiles and Design & Technology and compared to 20 years ago craft is less acknowledged as central in creative learning, either for early child development or for future work skills.

The UK economy has shifted from one based on ‘making things’ to the financial and service industries. Despite this, the creative industries generate £92 billion p.a. for the UK’s economy and is growing at more than twice the rate of the economy as a whole. Within this, arts and culture contributes £8.5bn p.a. to the UK economy, of which craft generates a significant £3.4bn. 150,000 people are employed in businesses driven by craft skills. However, there has been a decline in investment in craft skills and infrastructure for making in towns and cities at a time when it would serve their communities both to keep traditional skills alive and to invest in new technologies.

In this context, Make Your Future aims to help deliver on this manifesto: to generate networks of schools, Higher Education Institutes, and makers in London, the Midlands and Yorkshire, who will work to create sustainable working models for bringing making skills back into secondary schools nationwide. Another aim is to increase diversity in the craft sector by giving diverse young people opportunities to learn about craft careers.

We set up an evaluation approach for the pilot year, so that over the 3 years of the programme we can track change in each school involved, and in the networks the projects create in each regional cluster.

Year 1 activity has engaged:

Total of 915 pupils (including 182 in ‘pop-up’ activities)
326 pupils in Birmingham, 350 in Yorkshire, 239 in London
15% were boys, 23% from BAME backgrounds, 11% with additional needs
16 schools (6 in Birmingham, 5 each in Yorkshire and London)
4 Higher Education Institutes
23 teachers benefitting from up to 21 CPD evening sessions at HEIs
16 makers (7 of whom delivered sessions in two schools).
78 half-day sessions, and 103 hours contact time for pupils with makers
An average of 47.5% pupils in receipt of Pupil Premium across the 16 schools.

Numbers are important, of course, but in the first year we wanted to focus on the qualities of practice that help boost confidence and inspiration in teachers, makers and students. We wanted to capture their feelings, thoughts and actions throughout the activities they were experiencing. We were looking for ways the project delivered on ACE’s Quality Principles and how the activities were developing the 21st Century skills of creativity, critical thinking, flexibility, and initiative-taking, that are integral to business and enterprise. How would these activities help create the conditions in schools, and partnerships with HEIs, to form a strong approach to positively affect the changing landscape of craft and cultural education?

In Autumn 2017, we produced a report outlining the positive outcomes for participating pupils, including enjoyment and pride in trying new making activities, and that the sessions were relevant and inspiring for pupils from a diverse range of backgrounds. Students were free to create designs that resonated with their own identities. Many of the students talked about their visiting maker as someone that had inspired them, both through their own work and by sharing examples of other artists that had influenced them. Their encounters with professional makers will widen their horizons to possible careers and further study in areas that involve making, whether in arts or sciences. Our report also shines a light on craft as a cross-curricular bridge which draws together science, technology, and creative subjects.

The project was designed to introduce a mix of traditional processes that teachers may not have taught in school for lack of facilities or confidence, and newer or digitally-enabled processes that teachers may not have encountered in their own training.

There was plenty of evidence that the teachers had gained professional skills and confidence. Attending up to six CPD sessions gave teachers time to explore new techniques and be playful, but most effective was co-teaching alongside makers so that they could put their CPD training into action.

“The sky inspired me, I planned by thinking about the sky. I chose a rainbow, I needed to be creative and think outside the box. I didn’t want to make what everyone else was making so I experimented with my ideas and came to a conclusion.” Pupil, Queens Park school

One challenge was about the extent to which a short project could overcome the effects of an erosion of time and support for open-ended imaginative activity. Both teachers and students could be tentative about generating their own imagery or adaptations of technique. HEI partners reflected on how they observed students coming to them from schools, increasingly anxious about ‘getting things right’. The hope is that Make Your Future will open up time and promote the benefits of making practice – getting things a little bit wrong, again and again, in interesting ways, in order to master traditional techniques and to develop new ways of making.

We’re looking forward to seeing what emerges with the new cohort of schools and some new makers in 2018, and thinking more about how the Make Your Future models can have impact across a wider network.

Print and Pattern: Teacher CPD at Leeds Arts University

Gareth Wadkin, Printmaker, Textile Designer and Lecturer in BA (Hons) Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design at Leeds Arts University, 29/318

During February, Leeds Arts University provided a series of three printed textiles workshops for Art teachers, including a variety of techniques such as hand dyeing, screen and digital printing on textiles. Each session provided teachers with a wealth of information on the processes, equipment and materials used as well as ways to easily reproduce the activities back in a school classroom setting.

The first workshop, Innovative Print, introduced teachers to ways of translating hand-drawn designs and photographs into multi-coloured screen prints on textiles. This workshop covered a broad range of content to get teachers started with screen printing, including basic printing with paper stencils, preparing artwork for print, coating, exposing and developing screens, printing using water-based inks, layering colours, and registration techniques.

The second workshop, Digital Textiles, explored the creative process and ways to design printed textiles and surface patterns using Photoshop and contemporary digital printing technology. Teachers learnt how to create textile motifs from scanned images or photography.

The final session, Surface Innovation & Material Concepts, introduced teachers to a conceptual and versatile approach to surface pattern design, which combines a rediscovery of traditional processes and materials with unconventional production methods which look towards emerging contemporary markets.

By the end of the three workshops teachers had a thorough understanding of the various screen and digital printing process, they had gained confidence with using our specialist equipment to create their own multi-coloured screen prints.

STEAM Learning: Ceramics and Architecture

Joley Clinkard, Ceramicist and Make Your Future Maker Educator, 22/318

One of the key intentions for the Make Your Future programme last year was to look at craft as a cross-curricular bridge between creative subjects and disciplines within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM.)

I saw these workshops as a real opportunity to demonstrate this connection and generate conversations around the subject. It was important that the workshops were not only about skills acquisition but formed an open and creative space for students to question their world, ask me about my experiences and to come up with new ideas without inhibition. From a personal viewpoint, I believe that my craft education and creative practice has enabled me to look at urban, political and social environments in a new way by understanding how things are made and why.

During these workshops, we looked into architecture and buildings and begun to understand how an architect or engineer may create sketch models to explore ideas and possibilities before embarking on a larger scale construction project.

These architectural models and drawings may look abstract and impossible but they serve as an exploratory exercise for new innovations in engineering and construction— perhaps a good historic example of this would be the rise of Brutalism in the 1950s, which challenged everything that existed about aesthetics at that time.

With this research in mind, the students learnt ceramic skills in slab building, mixed media and surface design. They each then went on to develop and build their own abstract sculptures, which at the end of the workshops added to a group ‘landscape’ of pieces which can be imagined as their own communal future landscape. Each piece varied greatly, encompassing the students’ own styles and ideas.

I hope that through recognising how different professions would use craft and 3D design to explore ideas and knowing how to do that themselves, the students can now understand more how they might be able to influence their own world through a craft education. Often craft and making can be viewed as a ‘hobby’ or something one does in one's spare time but everything we use in everyday life is thought up by someone, designed by someone and constructed by someone. Knowing how to be a part of that is a hugely valuable and empowering skill to have.


What is Knitting? Teacher CPD at University of Leeds School of Design

Jane Scott, Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Leeds, 26/7/18

Knitting is so often introduced in the same old way; two needles and a ball of wool. So when Elizabeth Gaston and I were invited to participate in Make Your Future we were excited to challenge some of the preconceived ideas and stereotypes regularly associated with our practice. Elizabeth and I make knitting on a large scale. Our recent installation Inflection (2017) was produced at an architectural scale, suspended in The Hall of Steel in The Royal Armouries, and before that The Knitting Machine (2015) descended 10 metres from the iconic balcony of The Parkinson Building in Leeds.   


The Knitting Machine (image c. Jane Scott, 2015)     


Inflection (image c. Jane Scott and Elizabeth Gaston, 2017)

Knitting is thinking

I really believe that knitting is a way of thinking. Whilst our installation work might be different in scale and materials from the knitwear and sportswear we wear every day, the underlying processes are the same. So the teacher CPD at The University of Leeds was organised around the fundamental aspects of knitting; materials, structure, colour and form. We wanted the teachers to reconsider how they might approach knitting as a subject area and so over the three sessions we played with notions of process and scale, programming and technology. The outcome has been ideas, plenty of them. Lots of new ways for knit to be a highly relevant process ready to take on the classroom and spark the imagination.

Exploring colour and texture using finger knitting techniques (images c. Jane Scott 2018)

In the final CPD session we began with an introduction to finger knitting, a simple technique which we used to produce an eclectic range of unique yarns.  Through experimenting with a range of fibres we began to think about how decisions about texture and materials can change the look and feel of the fabric outcome. The fantastic thing about a simple process is that it provides endless opportunities for experimentation.

Knitting is making

What have we been making? Well, over the three sessions we have made a tiny 3D seamless garment using our computerised CNC knitting machines, we made fabrics on hand-operated equipment that combine different structures and materials, we designed our own jacquard patterns and programmed machines to produce unique coloured knitting. And finally we knitted a canopy using yarn we made ourselves. The canopy was composed of individual fabrics linked together into a communal knitted space large enough to lie underneath.

Knit is participation

The social aspect of these workshop sessions has been fantastic. What I have noticed throughout the sessions is the bonds that are created through learning and doing together. In each session there have been activities where the group has had to work together, either sharing equipment, or sharing advice and ideas. However there have also been key moments when the group has come together spontaneously, whilst knitting, to discuss a shared love of craft, textiles and making.

I addition I am delighted that the techniques we have introduced during the se