In this project I wanted the children to experience the satisfaction of making something that they could identify with while at the same time experience the freedom of creativity and the thrill of the surprise that printmaking and film making brings.
I love printmaking and film for the same reasons, the process detaches you from the work just enough to lose that fear of failure. Is this good enough? Am I doing it right? I think the reason for this is that in the making process the work takes on its own life.
I was nervous when I went into Icknield to start this project, despite having a son at the school and being quite familiar with some pupils and staff, it was still a little worrying. I had no idea of the kid’s reaction to my plans, my only comparison being my own son, Felix, who I knew would be disinterested, and he was!
I needn’t have worried. From the moment I walked into the first class, class 6, I was immediately made to feel at ease. I was bombarded with questions. Who are you? Why are you here? Are you Felix’s mum? In every class and with all the pupils, I was bowled over by their enthusiasm, vitality and thirst for new experiences.
Not only was it so much fun at Icknield it was also inspiring. Inspiring because of the positivity and
total honesty. I was touched by the pupils understanding and tolerance for each others differences
and needs. I was also touched by how many pupils, without prompting and despite problems with speech and language, came up to me after and clearly and beautifully thanked me.
I think the finished work absolutely mirrors this happy, positive and colourful environment at Icknield School. Printmaking is a great process. It is sensory, textural, colourful and the results are immediate and always effective and unpredictable.
The students, as I had hoped, engaged with the materials and responded to the rolling of the inks, mixing colours and the anticipation of the printed image. I took a couple of Flip cameras in with me and handed them to any pupils interested in videoing the project. This was a great success. They loved doing this and I was bowled over with the footage! It was so fast and abstract. Amazing!
My aim was to show the viewer life through the eyes of some very special children.
It was a privilege to edit and a privilege to work alongside them.
‘Your film is like your children. You might want a child with certain qualities, but you are never going to get the exact specification right. The film has a privilege to live its own life and develop its own character. To suppress this is dangerous. It is an approach that works the other way too: sometimes the footage has amazing qualities that you did not expect.’ - Herzog
Some of the work created by Deb and the students are on display at Chapel Arts Open Studios for a limited time: 15 - 25 August 2014.