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Children’s Mabinogi sculptures come to life at Coleg Menai

Lecturer Jane Parry has been working with Ysgol y Talwrn learners, who saw their work fired in the kiln at the art department

Children visited Coleg Menai to see their Mabinogi sculptures come to life.

Pupils at Ysgol Gynradd y Talwrn on Anglesey used clay to create ceramic pieces based on characters from the Welsh mythological tales.

The pieces were fired in the kiln at Coleg Menai’s art department with help from ceramics technician Gwyn Williams, before being integrated into a large woven willow sculpture of the giant Bendigeidfran.

The visit was part of Arts Council Wales’ Lead Creative Schools initiative, which puts creativity at the heart of the new Curriculum for Wales.

As part of the project, Ysgol y Talwrn are investigating whether working with 3D materials and processes helps to develop reasoning, problem-solving and writing skills.

Jane Parry, Art & Design lecturer at Coleg Menai, is working with the school as part of the project in her role as creative agent for Arts Council Wales.

She said: “The Lead Creative Schools project is about bringing creativity into mainstream education. We’re well placed here at the college to show people creativity in action, because it’s what we do all day, every day.”

Alis Branwen Joscelyne, a former student of the Art Foundation course at Coleg Menai, worked with Ysgol y Talwrn as creative practitioner.

She said: “Bendigeidfran and his army have really captured the children's imaginations! They have so enjoyed creating the soldiers (and their horses) in clay and learning about the ceramic process.

“The giant himself is a leafy creature made entirely of foraged materials - willow, ivy, dogwood, hazel... we've had great fun collecting and watching him take shape.”

Beca Jones, headteacher of Ysgol Gynradd y Talwrn, said: “It was great being able to work with Alis as her creativity and talent meant bringing the children's ideas for the project to life.

“This project has helped the children learn and remember the story of Branwen in a fun and unique way, and has been an inspiration for their creative writing!

“We are very grateful to Coleg Menai for allowing us to visit and use their facilities.”

While at Parc Menai, pupils also enjoyed a tour of the art department, meeting students and learning more about creative working processes.

Paul Edwards, Creative Arts manager, said: "It was a pleasure to welcome Ysgol Gynradd y Talwrn to the Art department at Coleg Menai recently. All the learners made excellent ceramic pieces using the kiln, and there are many talented artists among them!"

The Lead Creative Schools spans more than 10 weeks, enabling the pupils to conceive, create and realise their visual ideas.

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