7th March 18
On Tuesday 30 January, all of Year 8 bravely ventured to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. They were on an expedition deep into this unique ethnographical collection to find research materials and inspiration for their Art unit on totems.
The day began with an object handling session. Students analysed a musical instrument crafted from a deer antler and sea shells. They quickly identified it as being made by First Nations People from the West Coast of Canada. The YR8s then learned why paddles share a similar shape around the world. Finally, they investigated the iconography and mythology behind the Pitt Rivers’ towering 11.5 metre tall Haida totem pole. A scavenger hunt to find and identify objects in the collection was the next challenge.
Armed with a newfound understanding of material culture, students spent the remainder of the day sketching from the collection. Their brief was to identify masks, faces and symbolism to use in the totems project. The sketches made at the Pitt Rivers Museum will be developed further in class and sculpted in clay.
The final product will be totem pots with four faces, one on each side. Once complete, the pots will be planted with herbs, vegetables, and flowers for use in The Village Project.
Thanks to Will and Alan from the Art Department for organising the trip, Sheila and Stephen from The Village Project for helping on the day and the YR8s for an excellent outing to The Pitt Rivers Museum.
We’re looking forward to seeing the final totem pots in May!