Phorms Campus Hamburg – Art in action

Children in year 7 at the Phorms Campus Hamburg are transforming the entrance to their school into a fantastic world of monsters
Author: Julia Wandel | Photo: Phorms Campus Hamburg | 2019/2

Mosaics shimmer and glitter and invite you to touch them. Your hands glide over them as they would over fine porcelain. They remind us of Middle Eastern lands, churches, and museum artefacts, where hundreds of tiny tiles come together to form a picture.

The idea of creating a mosaic in the school was inspired by my love of this art form. An unused, cavernous room at the school entrance was the perfect place to create a home for shimmering monsters between fields of flowers and outer space. Thanks to the generous sponsorship from the Hamburg shops Mortensen and Mosaic Outlet, the project suddenly went from an idea to a reality. So that’s how I and the students, then in year 6, spent part of last summer – opening boxes full of tiles, carefully removing them from their mesh and sorting them by colour. It soon became clear that we had to abandon the fine details and complicated shapes that we had originally planned to create. With mosaic work, you’re limited by the colour palette available – it’s different from painting in that sense. The quality of the tiles determines how expressive the picture can be.

It’s winter now, and I’m not teaching the students anymore, now they’re in year 7. So we decided to use our weekends to finish the artwork. We were rewarded with waffles and pizza for giving up our spare time.

We’ve almost finished now. When we lay the final tile, I’m sure we’ll feel a mixture of joy and sadness.

Participating student Sarita Harings (age 13) said the following about the project: ‘It was really great that the whole class got to do something together and that we had the freedom to create what we wanted. For example, we could choose the colours we wanted to use, and how to create our monster. It was also nice to meet up outside of school time. While we worked on the monsters, girls and boys helped each other and gave each other tips. Even if the project lasted for weeks, I would gladly do it again.’

Julia Wandel teaches art to years 5 to 12 at the Phorms Campus Hamburg

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