On Tuesday 2 July, pupils from St Margaret’s at Troy Town Church of England Primary School participated in an exciting and ambitious creative workshop with artist Katayoun Dowlatshahi as part of the public art strategy produced by award-winning public art consultancy FrancisKnight for the Rochester Riverside Development with Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd and The Hyde Group.
The workshop’s ethos was to raise awareness of the natural environment which is particular and special to Medway, linking the natural and urban. Katayoun, who has been commissioned by FrancisKnight to produce a bespoke artwork for the Rochester Riverside development, worked with groups of pupils from Class 5, who enjoyed building a large, triangular bug house using a range of natural materials including willow. The children also decorated the bughouse using Cyanotype ‘sun printing’, a photographic printing process that uses light to create a silhouette effect and produces a cyan-blue print. They used their design skills to apply designs to the surface of the Ash wood with natural materials to print in the sun. Each pupil was also given a small circle of wood to apply their own design to keep and take home.
Katayoun reflected on the workshop saying, “They were a delightful group of Year 5 pupils who were enthusiastic about the project, making my job as an artist facilitator so much easier. I loved the fact that some pupils developed their ideas on a micro level, creating bug scale windows, ladders, entrances and even a curved stair case going into the main bug hotel. They were brimming with imagination.”
The triangular bug house will be housed permanently at the school.
Ms Jobling, St Margaret’s at Troy Town Headteacher commented: “The Year 5 pupils are particularly creative and they thoroughly enjoyed working with Katayoun handling different materials and tools to create our magnificent bug house. It will be located in the garden at the entrance of our school to be enjoyed by children and parents. The bug house encourages our biodiversity and contributes to our whole school eco efforts.”
Katayoun’s artwork, inspired by the salt marsh plants found at Rochester Riverside will be located in bespoke seating and wall features located in Station Square and along the River Walk in Phase 1 and 2 of the development.