CXXV artwork by Nicola Burrell

I chose to construct the sculpture from ash, a timber that holds its form and doesn’t tend to ‘move’ or warp, being a hard wood, it allows one to work in fine detail.  I wanted to use wood as the school has many features and architectural details in this material.  I thought its light colour would be a modern twist.  A bell jar protects the sculpture, as well as, being a nod to Victorian times.  The base was kept simple so as not to distract or detract from the sculpture, but act as a way of lifting the piece of work so it can be moved around from classroom to classroom to be used as a starting point for different topics, perhaps literacy ‘What happens in the imagination of a child?’ or art perhaps looking at surrealism, or metamorphosis.

My sculpture took the form of a human head, constructed as a series of rooms and architectural spaces.  The research by the pupils was gathered by looking at the timeline of the school under each headship.  So the head represents the headteachers, pupils and staff.  The ’school building’ is represented by classrooms, bell tower with bell ( part of the brain), stairs leading up to it (nose), keyhole door in the basement (right eye), library (teeth) water well (neck) slope rather than stairs (the jaw), leading to the Infant hall with doorway (opening created by learning, doorway to new ideas, new starts).  

The classroom features readers, I spoke to a participant who remembers older pupils reading to younger ones during wet lunch breaks.  The figures at the top of the sculpture could be; the school play, swan lake; the pupils also made animals during our cut and slot workshops, the wings were a way of adding animals to the sculpture, but as well, keeping it very person centred.  The idea of flight and aiming high is also represented by the wings.  

In old master paintings a clock, candles and fruit represent time, so the clock (left eye) represents time; in this case the 125 years of the school.  The head and neck sit on a cake shape ( a birthday cake) which represents the shoulders.  

The ears –a violin and a quaver, represent music and the rhythm of the school. The brain is represented by the figures at the top of the sculpture, the bell tower (the top of the school) and scissors and a pencil, the materials used by the pupils when they explored the concepts that make up the history of the school, the ideas that this sculpture contains.