Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Arts society unveils decorative banner depicting river scene that pupils helped create

Arts society unveils decorative banner depicting river scene that pupils helped create

PUPILS at Nettlebed Community School were shown the finished version of a banner they helped create.

Artist Emily Cooling worked with 70 children to create a banner to mark 40 years since the founding of the Henley Decorative and Fine Arts Society.

Members of the society helped with the project, which was done in March as part of the Henley Youth Festival. The 4m-long banner was created using batik, where selected areas of the silk cloth were blocked out by drawing hot wax over the cloth before dying it.

It depicts a Henley river scene and includes flowers, butterflies, a swan and Mole and Rat, from classic children’s tale Wind in the Willows. Miss Cooling, from Shirburn, said: “The children did a bit of the design work, they helped wax out all of the white of the design.

“We had a rotation of children helping us, about 10 at a time, and we would change every 40 minutes. 

“I had drawn on some of the designs and the children put on some of the butterflies and other insects as well as the flowers round the edge.” The banner was first displayed at the group’s annual general meeting in April at Phyllis Court Club. It was unveiled to the children at an assembly at the school, off High Street, on Monday.

Headteacher Stella Cranston spoke with the children about their involvement with the project and asked them which parts they were involved in painting.

She said: “It may seem like a long time ago, way back during the Henley Youth Festival, by children in Discovery, Investigator and Endeavour classes but today you see the product of your hard work.”

Ms Cooling was joined at the school by Kate Swinburne-Johnson, co-chairwoman of the youth festival as well as society committee members Patricia Josebury, Liz Jarvis, Anne Balgarnie and Diana Hadaway. Mrs Swinburne-Johnson said: “We wanted to give the children a chance to see the finished product. Some had only seen it half finished as they did the workshop in the morning.”

This year the society celebrated its 40th anniversary. It has almost 700 members, making it the second largest in the national association.

It organises lectures, study days and trips as well as supporting youth art projects. This year it donated almost £3,000 to the youth festival.

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