3M braved the blizzards of a February morning to venture out for their visit to the Barber Institute, the small but delightful art gallery just down the road from Blue Coat.

On arrival, and having reluctantly hung up coats, scarves and all other protective layers, we walked through to one of the galleries to look at how symbolism and imagery had been used in paintings. The children were most enthusiastic, and surprisingly knowledgeable, in their responses, before continuing on a ‘spot the angels’ hunt.

This led us to a sculpture cabinet, where little bronze statues of the legendary Hercules were on display. With the help of a few props and willing actors, our guide, Lisa, retold the famous story. Tucked away in the corner of the cabinet was a tiny oil lamp in the form of a hybrid creature. That did set imaginations racing, and soon we were off again, this time with paper and pencils, to sketch our own hybrids based on different animals depicted in the paintings around us.

Then it was down to the print-making room, where the designs were transferred on to polystyrene tiles before being inked and then carefully printed on card. Great was the delight when the colourful results were revealed! These were put out to dry and we all had the chance to admire each other’s hard work, before wrapping up warmly again and returning to school.

Miss Merrill

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