Tag Archives: Every Child Is An Artist

Virtual Futures

Hello! Ben Neal here, I’m a Creative Coder and Gadgeteer who’s been working with years 5 and 6 to create futuristic computer controllers to navigate around virtual worlds filled with our artwork.

During last term we used the LittleBits kits and MakeyMakeys to create our own Human Interface Devices made from recycled cardboard boxes and padded envelopes to replace the mouse and keyboard.

We made drawings of what we think we’ll look like in the year 2097 and added these to an interactive 3D world around which we can navigate and explore.

Below you can see some screenshots of what we’ve been up to and an animation of a virtual wall full of students work.

Click play to watch the video above

LittleBits kit
LittleBits kit
3D World
Inventor’s Schematic
Interactive vitual boxes


Every Child Is An Artist – Music Production

HI its Ashley here – A Digital Artist who has previously worked with the pupils in Year 5 and Year 6 to create amazing works using digital technology, electronics and code.

Well I’m back in school under my other guise – an electronic musician and producer who performs and dj’s in various spots worldwide.  I’m in school this Summer term working with Year 5 and Year 6 to show them a different approach to creating and performing electronic music using a series of Apps on the iPads and beyond.


Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 13.53.54


Grid control:

Breaking down tracks into segments (clips/loops) is like deconstructing a building into various blocks. By taking each sonic element of a track – the beats, the bass, the melody, the vocals and the effects and then further refining down into the various different sections – full drum loop, percussion only, just a kick drum we can mix and match each of these loops with others to create and build entire tracks that change and flow differently each time.


Using a grid controller gives you access to multiple clips of audio loops that at a touch of a finger can be played or stopped all in sync with the other playing loops or clips. Using multiple fingers gives you the ability to play multiple loops and clips and switch instantly between them. This creative flexible approach allows anyone to perform and play without needed to read a large manual beforehand. Very fun, intuative, expressive and hands on. The sounds all work together in sync and at the tempo you have chosen – the only thing to do is use your ears and find out what sounds great !!!

Using a grid controller or software laid out this way gives us a much clearer visual understanding of these blocks of our song. We can actually begin to think of intro, verse, chorus, verse, outro as a way of combining our sounds, removing some, adding in extras to create an overall track.


Launchpad Intro:


If you don’t have a physical Launchpad Device or access to an iOS device you can still jam with the grid based concept of Launchpad using a html5 version online. This works in any modern web browser but runs very well in Chrome on most mobile devices as well as desktop / netbook / chrome-book. This has a small selection of sounds and gives a real immediate playability of them within the browser. Great fun and a good ‘intro’ indeed.




Launchpad for iOS:


If you really want to get creative with loops then the best way to start on an iPad is to use the Novation Launchpad App. This gives you the ability to have 32 pads with sounds and the ability to have 8 playing looped clips at once alongside some seriously fun FX to twist and shape the performance.

The Launchpad for iOS App is FREE to download with a bunch of optional purchases for sound packs and extra effects. We can get funky right away jamming out with the included sounds with no need to spend any cash upfront at all.

As with our grid control method we can play only 1 loop per column but up to all 8 per row. We have access to a series of effects that totally change the sound output and gives us creative flexibility to chop and change our sounds to keep it all interesting.

Every loop is already set to be the same bar length as the others to ensure that they are in sync with each other. The App automatically begins playing any sound you choose to drop in in sync and at the right time to ensure it fits with the timing. Learning beat counting and bar lengths is something comes with practice however the App conveniently gives a countdown in the middle of each pad so that you can visually see where you are in the loop and help you learn when to drop in and out the loops. As the project goes in we will concentrate more on this structuring to enable us to elevate our performance and music into something much more than just a series of loops.


IMG_20160427_102319IMG_20160420_114627IMG_20160427_102409 IMG_20160420_114635


Once we have played with the scenes already in the App its time to build our own selection of sounds to play with. Start a new blank project and this will open up with completely empty pads. We can now click on ‘edit pads’ and begin to chose exactly what sound goes into each of the pads.

A tutorial from Novation gives an overview of how to edit the loops in each pad to give you full control of which sounds you mix and match together. http://launchpadforios.com/blog?id=12



Coordinates, Electronics and Treasure – Aspire Day

My name is Ashley and Im a Digital Artist who has worked in Hobmoor as part of the Every Child Is An Artist project.

Today for Aspire Day I worked with pupils and we used a combination of Maths skills, alongside engineering and electronics to be pirates out to discover and retrieve treasure.

Problem Solving

Most of the Maths we used today involved problem solving. One of the most used skills across the curriculum from subjects such as science to sports and all areas of development.

Logical Thinking

Working iteratively and making decisions based on estimates and coming to conclusions based on a process of thinking and elimination.

Coordinates and Maps

Using columns and rows to describe a position on a map and to use terminology to pinpoint a place.

Directions / Instructions

Using instructions to create a series of coordinates so that a route could be followed across the map to avoid the obstacles.

Electronics and Engineering

Using Little Bits to create a pirate winch to haul up the treasure chest. We worked iteratively to improve our design to build a strong enough winch to lift the weight of the treasure box.


What did we make ?

The pupils created instructions from the Maps to find routes across the seas to reach the Treasure and then constructed a working crane winch to lift up the treasure box containing a stash of chocolate bunnies !




Every Child Is An Artist sculptures with Claire

The first half term of 2016, Years 1 and 6 spent time exploring sculpture, our community and surrounding environment. Each week we looked at different artists that have created sculptures in many different ways from the very old to the very new. We have also been using lots of different materials just like those artists and have learnt how sculpture can be almost anything and can be made from almost anything!

We started by making quick mini sculptures from a small selection of everyday materials. The children created some brilliant patterns and colourful structures and changed their works by swapping or sharing another person’s materials. We developed these works the next week and started working much bigger and joining materials together and thinking about the spaces these works could be made and shown.

A key theme for this project has been how our bodies can also become sculpture either through hands-on making or by becoming a sculptural material itself! By putting our bodies in different poses and using found objects as props, the children acted out their own sculptural performances that were captured through photography and film. They also used their bodies to make their mark on squishy materials such as plasticine, foil, paper and wire.

Later in the project, the children worked on large scale drawings to tell stories of their lives and how these were linked with the wider community of the school and Yardley. Each class also went on a Learning Walk in the school grounds to discover how materials, objects, textures and sounds could be found in their everyday surroundings and used to make art.

At the end of half term, the Year 6 classes thought more in-depth about the power of art to comment on important issues. We looked at protest artists and the children devised their own private messages for a secret ballot and public signs that were held up and photographed and explored deconstruction and risk by making and breaking clay pieces.

Learning to glaze our clay sculptures With Elaine Lim-Newton

This week we will begin to colour our clay sculptures with coloured slips and under glazes. Coloured slips  are made up of various ingredients including clay with strong colour stains added, they usly come in various light shades or colours where as under glazes can be very bright.

Here’s a tutorial on how to decorate a piece that I will be showing the children…



Every Child is an Artist: Inspiration for our clay sculptures with Elaine lim-Newton

Inspiration for our clay totem sculptures that we are creating have come from a whole variety of sources:

We have explored  a wide range of wonderful sealife creatures as seen in coral reef communities….

A bright and interesting coral reef.
A bright and interesting coral reef.
Here are some pieces inspired by coral reefs and sea life creatures...
Here are some pieces inspired by coral reefs and sea life creatures…

We looked at my own ceramic sculptures that are inspired by natural forms such as flowers and cacti…

A sculpture called 'Biome'
A sculpture called ‘Biome’

And other artists that liked natural forms…

Alexis Rago sculpture in clay
Alexis Rago sculpture in clay

Also various artists from around the world that create totem sculptures.


We were also inspired by the Artist Anthony Gormley and his artwork ‘The Field’. With our  mini me sculptures we will create our very own community  which will be displayed around the school in unexpected places…

Our growing community of mini me's
Our growing community of mini me’s currently drying in my studio…
Anthony Gormley's the 'Field'
Anthony Gormley’s the ‘Field’


We explored textures and patterns through drawings and then learnt how to translate these onto our own clay sculptures…

Researching and drawing patterns and textures...
Researching and drawing patterns and textures…
Textures and pattern makers
We used professional ceramic tools and lots of interesting found objects to create the different textures and patterns in our sculptures.
A close up of our work...
A close up of our work…

We have also began to explore how our finished totem sculptures may look through detailed design drawings…

Learning to design the totem poles
Learning to design the totem poles


Every Child is an Artist creating clay sculptures with Elaine Lim-Newton

Over the last few weeks we have explored a wide range of making techniques in clay….these include: Slab

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building where we have been making fabulous cylinders in clay with lots of lovely interesting textures, we used cardboard cylinders to help us form these shapes. Press moulding: where we have been pressing various coil shapes into big plaster bowls to make textured dome, sphere and flattened spheroid shapes ( think of a ufo type of shape ). And finally coiling and pinching to make a large community of fun mini me sculptures with lots of personality… We have learned to work in teams and individually to create all of our clay artwork.

We have also learnt about where clay comes from, and how it is dried and then fired in kilns…
My kiln at my studio in derby
My kiln at my studio in derby
inside the kiln
inside the kiln
lots and lots of cyclinder sculptures drying at my studio...
lots and lots of cylinder sculptures drying at my studio…

Hobmoor TV needs YOU!

This week the team put together this short video to tell you all about Hobmoor TV, including how to access our blog posts and how to get involved. We would love for you to share our posts and comment on our videos – let us know if you have a story for us!

Hobmoor TV – we’re back!

Happy new year everybody! We hope everybody enjoyed themselves over the winter break. Just before the holidays, the Hobmoor news team managed to get this exclusive video message from a very special visitor to the school…


So, have you all been good for Santa? If not don’t worry – it’s a new year and a new start for everyone, and the news team have some tips on how to make the most of 2016. We also have some exciting news about a new project by some of the year 3 and 4 students:

Creating with clay!

Hello! i am Elaine Lim-Newton, i am a sculpture artist who mainly works with clay. As part of the Every Child is an Artist Project i will be working with years 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to experience and make our own fantastic sculptures in clay using lots of different techniques.

We will be making sculptures in a variety of clays, sizes and shapes and colour them with bright clay slips ( runny coloured clay) and shiny glazes. The finished sculptures will be exhibited in a fantastic final event and hopefully be enjoyed by everyone for years to come.

The theme for this term is community so over the last two weeks we have been exploring this theme through drawings and designs. and creating our own 2d totems from the drawings.

We have also been introduced to clay, and have learnt how to prepare it and experiment with textures and mark making with lots of different tools and collected items.


Film and animation club – adventures in Imovie

After a few weeks of honing their animation skills in I Can Animate, the film and animation club have been trying their hand at Imovie, a great editing app that is either free or low-priced depending on your operating system (Apple only) and very simple to use.

Imovie contains built-in templates in a number of genres for making your own movie trailer – it is really simple to use as it provides the music and captions (which are editable) and provides the user with a storyboard to follow, telling them what kind of shots to get e.g. close-up. Simply record the shots, adjust the text as you wish, and Imovie does the rest!


The group then came up with some of their own movie ideas – here we have the team battling a zombie breakout, and then taking on criminal masterminds in an action film called ‘Agents of Hobmoor’ – enjoy!