Hugh Myddleton Primary School, Islington, London
The brief for Hugh Myddleton’s school-wide art project was to reflect the school’s ethnic mix through imagery as well as including the area’s link to Sir Hugh Myddleton and his role with water.
Hugh Myddelton (1560-10 Dec 1631) was a Welsh clothmaker, entrepreneur, mine-owner, goldsmith, banker and self-taught engineer. He was the driving force behind the construction of the New River, an ambitious engineering project to bring clean water from the River Lea, near Ware, in Hertfordshire to New River Head, London. The New River was constructed between 1608 and 1613 and was around 38 miles (60 km) long. Fresh clean water was much needed in the growing city.
The pupils from Year 3 upwards went out on trips to draw with their teachers and Artyface tutors: some went to Leighton House, drawing the amazing Arabic tiles and artifacts, others went to local wildlife gardens. More drawing was done in class too, drawing from good source materials.
The younger pupils in Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 2 made clay tiles and leaves and fish, pressing lots of different things into the wet clay to get textures and make patterns. These were glazed in different colours and fired to stoneware temperature.
The mosaic workshops began with an afternoon of the teachers taking part on an INSET day. Pupils and teaching assisitants then came in a steady stream in small groups over three weeks to create their marvellous masterpiece. The Artyface team constructed a temporary platform over the pond and erected the mosaic during the summer holidays. A previously dark and dingy courtyard now sparkles and reflects colour and light from the pond and the sky, with mirrored tiles bouncing reflections onto the courtyard walls.