As part of the Deep Time Project at Spensley Street Primary School, Year 5 and 6 students learned about the pre industrial materials and techniques of fresco painting and sgraffito, creating two walls and 140 sgraffito bricks.
For the tiles they mixed up pigmented layers of sand and lime putty, layering one colour over another and embedding botanical specimens collected from the Creek, etching designs based on their response to the Deep Time Project, and coming up with ideas we were pretty sure hadn't been tried using these materials before. The bricks will be built into a wall embedding the students work into the architecture of the school, a collective work about their place.
The fresco walls evolved from the mapping project, looking at ways one could map a memory or narrative or experience, as well as the path of the river or location of the school. As a sgraffito must be etched into wet plaster, sections had to be cut out of the wall for each design, requiring the development of considerable skill and patience on the part of the students. Designs had to be worked out on paper and tested on bricks before they could go up on the wall. Many dedicated themselves over several days or weeks to creating the walls and linking the contributions together.
For the final exhibition the bricks were arranged into a circular pattern by Year 6 student Lucia Greenhatch, and the younger children occuppied the space of the mandala for the evening.