BLAST 2024 – Our Journey Begins!!

Ms. Brogan’s Rang 3 and Rang 4 in collaboration with artist Jo Lewis

Ms. Brogan’s Class third BLAST journey commenced today, 14 February 2024. Jo Lewis, our assigned artist, visited our classroom this morning to introduce herself and her art practice to us. Jo works in the landscape and uses natural materials in her creations. We were amazed when she showed us pictures of her latest exhibition which used dried roots to create prints among other fabulous artworks. Land Art is a new area of art for us to experience and create. Jo explained what it entails and showed us lots of beautiful photos from artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and Spencer Byles. These beautiful photos of artworks crafted entirely from natural objects generated lots of reaction and discussion in our classroom as well as a whole new lexicon of related vocabulary. Jo’s visit today really whet our collective class appetite for the 2024 BLAST experience. Watch this space for weekly updates!!

An Cúinne Cruthaíochta

Kilglass NS Creativity Corner

Central to our aims of supporting the holistic development of all the children in our care is providing opportunities for their aesthetic development through the Arts-Music, Drama and Visual Arts. In recent years, these subjects areas have been enhanced by our involvement and participation in programmes provided through the Schools Excellence Fund, (administered through Sligo EC) and Creative Ireland.

Our school environment and community has been enriched by our participation in

  • TAP-the Teacher Artist Partnership in 2021
  • BLAST-Bringing Live Arts to Schools and Teachers-in 2022 & 2023
  • West Sligo Creative Cluster 2021-2023.
  • Scary Woods Walk in Kilglass House 2022 and 2023

Developing, enhancing and inspiring creativity plays a central role in ensuring our children’s wellbeing.

By providing our children with a multitude of experiences that allow them space, voice, audience and influence to develop holistically, in all aspects of their personalities, their sense of self, their world view, their personalities are enhanced. These opportunities allow the children to acknowledge and recognise that they are artists, creators, leaders, problem-solvers, musicians, which is inherently beneficial to our school population.

We are delighted to announce that for a third consecutive year our application for BLAST has been successful. Ms. Brogan’s Rang 3 &Rang 4 will be engaging with the artist Jo Lewis in the third term. Watch this space!!

Lóchrainn na Rónta, the event celebrating the legend of the selkies on Enniscrone beach was the culmination of our West Sligo Creative Cluster 2021-2023.

In Kilglass NS We are in the uniquely privileged position of having our application for a second Creative Cluster approved! Kilglass NS will once again be the lead school and Ms. Brogan will continue in her role as the lead teacher, working in conjunction with Killeenduff NS, Rathlee NS and Stokane NS.

An Cúinne Cruthaíochta will document all of our creative endeavours to date and into the future.

Ar aghaidh linn le misneach mór!!

Creative Schools- An Overview

Kilglass NS was part of the West Sligo Creative Cluster 2021-2023, with our partner schools-Killeenduff NS, Leaffoney NS, Rathlee NS and Stokane NS in conjunction with our Cluster Facilitator Leslie Ryan. Ms. Brogan was the Cluster Co-Ordinator in our Creative Cluster and Kilglass NS was the Lead School.

Creative Clusters is an initiative of the Department of Education and Skills, led by and in partnership with the 21 full-time Teacher Education Centres (Education Support Centres Ireland – ESCI) and funded through the Schools Excellence Fund – Creative Clusters Initiative.

Creative Clusters is an important initiative of Creative Youth – A Plan to Enable the Creative Potential of Every Child and Young Person, which was published in December 2017 as part of the Creative Ireland Programme/

The purpose of Creative Clusters is to demonstrate how the creative practices can support clusters of schools to work together to address common learning challenges over a two-year period.

The Creative Clusters scheme provides schools with access to creative people, skills and resources and supports them to draw on their own skills and experiences and those within their wider communities.

Kilglass NS has also successfully applied for and been awarded a second consecutive Creative Cluster which will run from 2023-2025, in conjunction with our partner schools Killeenduff NS, Rathlee NS and Stokane NS. We are fortunate that Leslie Ryan will continue in her role of Cluster Facilitator.

As our Cluster project emerges, it will be detailed and documented on this section of the website.

West Sligo Creative Cluster 2023-2025

We are delighted that our application for a new Creative Cluster has been successful and includes the following partner schools-Killeenduff NS, Rathlee NS and Stokane NS.

Karen Brogan will continue in her role as Cluster Co-ordinator, Kilglass NS will be the Lead School and Leslie Ryan will be our Cluster Facilitator.

As our new Cluster project emerges over the next two years, the events will be documented on this section of our website.

Watch this space!!!

The West Sligo Creative Cluster 2021-2023

Dúlra agus Dúchas- The Ties that Bind Us.

Our Creative Cluster project encompassed local ecology; marine mythology contextualized within a strong sense of place as a coastal community in the West of Ireland.

Year 1

Workshop 1: Foraging for materials on Enniscrone Beach with artist Kari Cahill.

Workshop 2: Making pigments and ink with Kari Cahill

Workshop 3: Cyanotype workshop with staff from all Cluster schools.

Year 2:

Scary Woods Walk, Kilglass House

Model Niland Gallery tour and workshops with Lorna Watkins and Andy Parsons

Vocal workshop with Rossa ó Snodaigh to create a soundscape for Lóchrainn na Rónta

Lóchrainn na Rónta- a celebration of the legend of the Selkie as a light installation creating sculptures in collaboration with Tom Meskall.

We explored these themes through sculpture, a light installation, a soundscape workshop, ink and pigment making using materials foraged on the seashore, visiting the Model Niland Art Gallery and working collaboratively as a group of 5 rural schools with artists including Kari Cahill, Tom Meskell and musician Rossa Ó Snodaigh.

Lóchrainn na Rónta, – a light installation and performance celebrating the legend of the Selkie- took place on Enniscrone beach at sunset on May 14 2023 and was the culmination of our two-year creative cluster, documented through stills photography and drone video footage.

Our successful application afforded us the opportunity  not alone to develop new and innovative ways of working co-operatively, to develop friendships as teachers and pupils, but to forge relationships and new ways of approaching creative projects with the guidance and expertise of artists such as Tom Meskell, Kari Cahill, Andy Parsons, Lorna Watkins, Rossa Ó Snodaigh, while allowing us to initiate the formation of a relationship with the Model Niland Gallery through their Education Officer, Marie Louise Blaney.

We foraged on Enniscrone beach for materials, made pigments and inks, leaned about cyanotypes through a staff CPD event and visited the Model Niland Gallery in Sligo.

The culmination of our cluster was the once in a lifetime opportunity to collaborate with Tom Meskell and produce our Lóchrainn na Rónta event at sunset on Enniscrone beach, which involved every child from Infants to Sixth Class in all 5 schools, parents and families as well school staff. This was a particular highlight for the cluster committee, bringing together sculpture, mythology, performance art under the direction of musician Rossa Ó Snodaigh, encompassing our cluster ideals of ecology, locality, mythology and a sense of place.

It brought the creative, cultural and educational aspects of our project together in a memorable experience for all involved and inspired us to continue our new, innovative ways of collaboration into the future.

The children experienced different workshops/methods of working, using different media and an art gallery visit to the Model Niland Gallery which included an exhibition tour, a portrait workshop and an artist workshop tour. Through all of these activities, while working with Kari Cahill, Tom Meskell, Lorna Watkins, Andy Parsons, Rossa Ó Snodaigh, the children were involved in various creative processes and were afforded the opportunity to discuss/ask/inquire about the tasks at hand with the artists involved. Many interesting observations were made and deep discussions held between the children, the teachers and the artists involved.

Not only did the children forage on the beach for materials, they made their own pigments and ink which were then used for painting, an experience that was completely different to opening a pot of paint for colouring. While working with Lorna Watkins, they imagined and created self-portraits. Working with Tom Meskell they created wire sculpture seals, lanterns, jellyfish, rocks, starfish and a lighthouse. The children imagined, designed and created Halloween -themed artefacts for the community-based artistic event in Kilglass House-The Spooky Scary Woods Walk.

Every child in Kilglass NS created/designed a jam jar lantern that was part of our beach light installation. 16 seal sculptures were made by the pupils in the 5 schools as well as individual creations in each school- pyramid lanterns, jellyfish, rocks, starfish and a lighthouse. All children in Kilglass NS participated in a vocal workshop and performed their sound scape accompaniment to the song which was central to our light sculpture installation on the beach. As a result of participating in the ink and pigment workshops children were inspired to make their own at home.

A reflective booklet was designed and created by Ms. Brogan to allow the children to think, ponder and respond to the Model Niland visit. Based on developing disciplinary literacy through visual arts, it provided various ideas and opportunities for the children to respond to the workshops, visit and galley tour through drawing, answering questions, completing sentence stems, composing a poem amongst others. It provided valuable insight into the children’s reactions to the workshops, exhibitions and visit itself. Through the informal discussions the children had with the various artists that they worked with they expressed their interests, offered opinions, discussed solutions/ideas and thoughts in a creative, safe, respectful environment. This allowed the children to develop their reflective skills, abilities and critical responses to the various endeavours in the context of a creative framework that recognised their space, voice, audience and agency.

Our children see themselves as artists, creative beings, creative thinkers, with voice, space and agency in this area as well as enhanced self-esteem.

We applied twice for the Documentation Award and were shortlisted this year.

Being a Creative Cluster is a source of pride, for us as teachers, for our pupils, our school staffs and has enriched our creative lives

Each of the Cluster events is documented separately on this page.

Spooky Scary Woods, Kilglass House

2022 & 2023

Kilglass NS were active participants in the inaugural Kilglass House Spooky Scary Woods Walk in 2022. We were delighted to be involved with other local schools, including our creative Cluster partners, to provide newly-created designs for this community art celebration.

Magnificent spooky creations were designed to enhance the Halloween atmosphere which was enjoyed by Rang 3,4 & 5 on the day of mid-term break. The teeming rain couldn’t dampen our Halloween spirits and added immensely to the enjoyment of this inaugural event.

Our creations tied in seamlessly with our Green Schools as we needed to use sustainable materials which would withstand the elements, would be re-used in the future and showcase our commitment to upcycling, sustainability and bio-diversity.

In 2023, all Kilglass pupils from Infants to Rang 6 were involved in designing creations to decorate the second Spooky Scary Woods Walk. Wearing Halloween costumes the children walked the Spooky trail and soaked up the fabulous Halloween atmosphere throughout the morning of midterm break.

We had fun spotting the new creations from this year and have many ideas percolating for next year’s event.

Congratulations to all involved in organising this now annual and much anticipated event in Kilglass House which gets bigger and better every year. It truly reflects what can be achieved when like-minded people work together to bring a germ of an idea to fruition for the benefit of all. The spark of creativity is well and truly ignited in Kilglass!!

BLAST Overview

BLAST stands for Bringing Live Arts to Students and Teachers. It is an initiative funded by the Department of Education, through Creative Ireland and organised locally through Sligo Education Centre.400 schools, both primary and post-primary were involved in BLAST in 2022. BLAST provides the opportunity for children and schools to create and complete unique art experiences. The aim of this scheme is to give students in schools all over the country the opportunity to work with a professional artist on unique projects to be planned and developed between the artist, the teacher and the school under the co-ordination of our local education centre in Sligo. This initiative supports children for the future, where skills like the ability to connect and collaborate with others, engage in creative and critical thinking and practice inclusivity at every level will be paramount to peace, stability, sustainable economic growth and equality.

Once an application to participate in BLAST is approved, a professional artist is appointed to work with each successful school. Not all BLAST projects are murals. BLAST projects have been based in various artistic disciplines including visual arts, crafts, music, dance, drama, literature and film. In Kilglass NS, we have completed two murals which now grace our Infant yard.

We have been fortunate enough to participate in two consecutive BLAST projects which are detailed below.

Our third consecutive BLAST residency has been awarded to Ms. Brogan’s Rang 3 and Rang 4 and will commence in early 2024. Follow our progress on this page.

BLAST 2023

Our second BLAST journey began last September. Ms. Brogan and Mr. Brennan both decided that it would be an exciting creative project for us to undertake again this school year. Ms. Brogan filled out the application form which said that we wanted to create a mural that would complement our 2022 mural and hang on the shed wall in the school yard. We wanted to it to reflect our locality, heritage and environment. We waited with bated breath and fingers crossed until the good news arrived that our application had been successful. We were delighted, excited and thrilled that we would be creating another mural with artist Anna Faye.

Nothing happened immediately, as it was November and not suitable weather for painting outdoors. Finally, finally, finally, the first day of our BLAST project arrived. On February12, Ana came to our classroom and spent the day working with us. Ana explained to us that she was a fashion designer and has a business making hand-made leather bags. We began by discussing what our mural design would be like. Instead of painting, this year we would be creating a mosaic, using shells. The Romans paved their streets and roads using mosaics. Instead of paint, the colour in a mosaic is provided by broken tiles, glued to a background. Ana and Ms. Brogan had decided that we would create our mosaic using shells!

Ana showed us various images of Queen Maedhbh and we discussed Knocknarea, the legends associated with Queen Maedhbh and her burial ground.

First, we drew our designs on paper. Ana gave every one of us a piece of wood and using lentils, different coloured beans, sugar, salt and PVA glue we created mini mosaics which were then used by Ana to create the design for our big mural.

We learnt a very important lesson that day. Mosaic pictures and designs need to be very simple as complicated details get lost in a mosaic.

Over the next 3 weeks, we worked with Ana creating, designing and completing our BLAST mosaic. Ms. Brogan had set up a space in our classroom where the mural took shape. The paster board had been delivered and was in place in our room, ready to be transformed into our Queen Maedhbh mural. We worked in groups every day with Ana. While one group was gluing shells to the plasterboard, under Ana’s watchful eye, other groups were creating jewellery and leather mosaics. We had collected shells and pebbles which had to be sorted, washed and prepared for gluing to the mosaic.

Our classroom smelt like the seashore all during the BLAST process but we didn’t mind as we were delighted to see our mosaic taking shape, day by day.

Everyone in Rang 3 and Rang 4 was involved. Eventually, our mural was finished to our delight. Ms. Brogan varnished the mural at night as the smell of varnish was very strong. She painted the shed to match the wall behind last year’s mural.

Our second mural is a collaborative piece and we are very proud of our artwork.

Queen Maedhbh is visible with her long, lustrous locks, flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. In the background Knocknarea and the path to the summit is clearly visible.

Why did we choose Queen Maedhbh? Knocknarea is an important landmark in County Sligo. Legend tells us that Queen Maedhbh is buried, standing up, with her back to Ulster, in the cairn on Knocknarea’s summit.

Who was Queen Maedhbh? She was a warrior queen who reigned over Connacht for 60 years, between 50BC and 50 AD. Her father was the High King of Ireland- that’s why she was a queen. Maedhbh was born in Rathcroghan and was married to Aillil. He became King because she was a Queen- the opposite of King Charles and Queen Camilla.

A brown bull is clearly visible in the foreground of the mural. This is the Brown Bull of Cooley or Donn Cualainge to give him his proper name. He roamed the forest and mountainside in the Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, home of Joe Biden’s relations. He was the largest, fiercest and most valuable bull in Ireland at that time. One night, long ago, when Conor Mac Neasa ruled Ulster, and Maedhbh ruled over the West of Ireland, Maedhbh and Aillil sat boasting of their riches. They compared their clothes, their gold, their horses, everything they had. They both were equal until Aillil boasted he had a great white bull. This white bull of Arilli’s was called Fionnbheannach.

Maedhbh fell silent. She filled with rage and jealousy for she had no bull to compare to Fionnbheannach. The only comparable bull to in the whole of Ireland was Donn Cualainge. Maedhbh decided to take Donn Cualainge from Ulster, to fight against Fionnbheannach. This decision caused one of the most famous battles in Irish Mythology- Táin Bó Cualinge. The men of Connacht marched to fight against the Red Branch Knights of Ulster. Having being placed under a spell, Cú Chulainn was the only Ulster warrior left to single-handedly fight the men of Connacht. Ferdia, Meadhbh’s greatest warrior and Cú Chualinn, had been childhood friends and refused to fight each other. Maedhbh lied to Ferdia and the two champions fought for three days and three nights. Eventually, using the magic spear, the Gae Bolga, Cú Chulainn killed his childhood friend in the place we now call Áth Fherdia, Ardee, Co Louth. It is a tale of sadness and woe, as both bulls die after fighting each other. At the end of an epic battle, one of the most famous battles and one of the greatest legends in Irish mythology. Queen Maedhbh of Connacht and her husband Aillil were none the richer.

Our mural, therefore celebrates the infamous warrior Queen Maedhbh of Connacht and her involvement in the notorious Irish epic saga, Táin Bó Cualainge. It places her firmly atop Knocknarea.

The compass points North, according to her legend, buried with her back to Ulster.

The spear, sword and compass are colourful and beautifully designed by the children.

In the top right-hand corner is a beautiful Celtic, spiral motif, surrounded by three lines of pebbles, as three was a powerful, magical, symbolic number in ancient Ireland.

We are artists and creative collaborators and we hope that our BLAST mural will bring further colour and fun to our school community. We are proud of our beautiful artwork.

We hope it complements last year’s mural and brings our glorious historical past to life in a colourful manner for our whole school community to enjoy.

Queen Maedhbh ensured that Sligo will always be immortalised in story through the Táin. She is still holding court, as a warrior queen, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

It is our wish that she is proud of mural and our effort to keep her warrior spirit alive.

BLAST 2022

Rang 3’s BLAST journey began in September 2021 when Ms. Brogan had a conversation with Mr. Brennan and they decided that it would be an exciting creative project for us to undertake. Ms. Brogan filled out the application form. Our application said that we wanted to paint a mural on two walls in the school yard.

We wanted to it to reflect our locality, heritage and environment. The internationally-acclaimed artist Jack B. Yeats has strong links to Enniscrone, on our doorstep. With such strong local and Sligo connections, we wanted the mural to reflect his style of painting. After a few weeks the good news arrived- our application had been successful. We were delighted, excited and thrilled that we would be creating a mural. More good news followed that Karen Webster would be our BLAST artist.

On April 26, just after the Easter holidays, Karen Webster came to our classroom and spent the day working with us. She showed us her own beautiful artworks and we discussed how they were created. Karen loves nature and paints using natural materials.

Jack B. Yeats artworks were next. He is internationally renowned for his beautiful paintings, which are valued at millions of euros. We first looked at ‘The Liffey Swim’ and discussed the colours and style of the painting. Next, we viewed some of his Sligo-inspired and West of Ireland paintings. The Metal Man of Sligo depicts Rosses Point. Knocknarea is a beautifully evocative watercolour of Queen Maeve’s final resting place. The two men in the painting’ A Western Town, Evening’ generated quite a lot of chat! But, our stand-out favourite was Memory Harbour, inspired by his memories of Sligo harbour. We discussed Jack B. Yeats’ use of colour, the construction of the piece, the manner in which he had laid out and painted the different elements of the picture. Rang 3 really adored this painting. We also learned about the Model Niland Gallery in Sligo and the connection with Jack B. Yeats.

Karen showed us how to do an activity called Blind Drawing which was challenging, but fun.

Our next activity was the real start of the mural design process. What does live in Kilglass mean to me? was what we discussed and brainstormed.

Having each been given a sheet of A3 paper, we folded it into 4 squares. Using special fine-nibbed pens, in each square, we drew a picture of what living in Kilglass meant to each of us. It was fun using the special pens and even more fun drawing our pictures. We drew the school, the church, houses, the shop, the football pitch, the pier, tractors, cows, cars, the Hilltop, Burke’s bridge, flowers, trees and much much more. After lunch, we each chose one of the 4 pictures and drew it in more detail.

Karen explained to us about watercolours and primary colours. After drawing our pictures in greater detail, using the fine-nibbed pens, on special watercolour paper, we then got to paint our drawings using watercolours. Karen then made a plan for our mural with us. We realised that we had forgotten a few things, like the stop sign at Burkes bridge that said ah stop lads, the windmills at Lacken and some other bits and pieces. These missing items were al drawn and Karen departed, laden down with our sketches, drawings and paintings.

It was an agonising wait until her return 2 weeks later with our mural plan, design and paint! Upon her return, Karen explained to us how she had used all of our paintings to plan and make the mural. She photocopied, enlarged and used our drawings to create a small-scale version of the mural on 2 sheets of A3 paper. This was then photocopied onto acetate sheets. With the help of an overhead projector, our drawings were transferred to the two large pieces of marine plyboard that are now proudly hanging in the Infant Yard.

Ms. Brogan had set up a space in the classroom and we worked in small groups. The floor under our mural sections was carefully covered in paper, plastic and large sheets of durable cardboard. Everyone wore old clothes, which were covered by a plastic apron, created by Ms. Brogan using a clear bin bag and scissors!!

 

The Kilglass section of the mural was painted on Tuesday and the Beach section on Wednesday. Once again, we experimented with mixing the primary colours to create all the other beautiful colours that you will see on our mural. The background is always painted first, then the foreground and finally, the finer details are carefully added. As we were painting, we were learning from Karen. We learnt about vanishing points, collaboration and perspective! Eventually, our mural was finished.

We were thrilled with our collaborative piece and we are very proud of our artwork. Facing Mrs. Meenaghan’s room is the Kilglass panel. It starts at the Hilltop and the road continues past the stop sign at Burkes bridge. It passes houses, the school, the church and the shop in Kilglass. The football pitch is there and a cow! The sun is shining in the big blue sky and there is a feeling of happiness, contentment and peace in Kilglass.

The second panel connects with the first and it brings us from Kilglass to the beach. Notice the Rathlee water tower, the Lacken windmills and the airplane glinting in the sunlight.

Children are playing on the beach and don’t forget the Massey Fergusson!! Beware of the octopus and the shark! Surfer dudes are cruising the waves and boats are anchored at the pier. As the glowing sun prepares to travel further afield at the end of another glorious day, the vibrant orange sunset is reflected in the pier.

We hope that our BLAST mural will bring colour and fun to our school community We are proud of our beautiful artwork as  it reflects what our school, community and locality mean to each of us in Rang 3.

Jack B Yeats lived in and loved Sligo. His amazing, colourful artworks displayed that love of Sligo through his use of watercolour. Our mural displays our love of Kilglass and county Sligo.

We hope that our BLAST mural will bring colour and fun to our school community We are proud of our beautiful artwork as  it reflects what our school, community and locality mean to each of us in Rang 3.

TAP 2021

Teacher Artist Partnership (TAP) is an arts-in-education initiative where Artists and Teachers train to work in partnership.

Ms. Brogan participated in the TAP summer course and as a result is now a TAP trained teacher.

During the school year 2020-2021, she hosted a fully funded artist residency with her Rang 4 and Rang 5.

Ciara O’Hara was the artist who collaborated with MS. Brogan and her 27 pupils for our TAP Residency.

All our sessions were conducted via Zoom, as per Public Health Guidelines at that time.

As a result of the discussions between Ciara and the class, the theme of Journeys was decided upon as our focus and we chose to interrogate this theme by creating individual, personal books.

The journeys involved could be personal, auto-biographical, imaginative, based upon a character, or whatever their choice was!

Mediating the sessions through Zoom was quite a challenge, but the children and Ms. Brogan rose to the challenge!

Through the residency, guided by Ciara, we investigated various artists who used books as their medium of expression. Responding to the images of the various book creations generated intensive discussion as the children made decisions around their own personal Journey books.

 

The children learnt about designing covers, endpapers, binding and methods of making books.

The fantastic creations speak for themselves.

To conclude the TAP residency, Ciara facilitated an outdoor Temporary Art workshop with the children. Pictures were created using items from nature that were available in the school yard environs.

It truly was an amazing creative experience.

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