Laois Schools get CRAFTed

Laois Schools get CRAFTed

Laois Education Centre in partnership with The Crafts Council of Ireland, brought to a conclusion a very successful CRAFTed ‘Learning Skills for Life’ programme for primary schools when they hosted a CRAFTed Exhibition in the Education Centre on Monday 29th May for the four schools that were successful in their applications to become involved in this very exciting CRAFTed Schools Project.


This project which is based on developing good collaborative practice between craftspeople and teachers, focuses on supporting teachers and pupils in the delivery of the different strands of the Visual Arts (VA) Curriculum and highlights how craft processes can contribute to learning in other subject areas such as the Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE) curriculum.

Teacher Aisling Fitzpatrick and pupils from Portlaoise Educate Together National School at the CRAFTed exhibition of projects in Laois Education Centre


In November 2016 Laois Education Centre invited all schools in their catchment area to apply for this project and four schools were successful.  This was an opportunity for the schools to apply for funding targeted at placing a craftsperson to work directly in their school, with one class group, on a dedicated craft project.


The exhibition of the finished projects which took place in Laois Education Centre witnessed at first hand the successful interaction of pupils and teachers with their dedicated craftsperson as they co-presented their project and spoke of the importance of the process as well as the finished product.

Pupils from Maryborough NS with artist Maeve Sookram and teacher Siobhan Dunphy exhibiting their project at CRAFTed exhibition in Laois Education Centre.



Scoil Mhuire Fatima, Timahoe explored themes of locality, heritage, a sense of place, local built and natural environment – through processes of observations, discussion, walks/site visits, creative mapping, drawing, silk fibre paper making and print making (mono – prints).

The starting point/idea came naturally as an inspiration: The school with a view – Timahoe NS is beautifully located in the picturesque village, with striking views in all directions.


The children used an `art diary` throughout the project – a great opportunity for recording, documenting and reflecting on works and processes. Project diaries also support the development of relevant vocabulary and regular looking and responding sessions in the class room.

Group of pupils, teachers and artists who participated in the CRAFTed project 2017



Maryborough NS based their project around ancient Egypt and archaeology.  They looked at objects found, pharaohs, headpieces and jewellery.  They used plaster, clay paint and pastels to produce a flavor of Egypt.  The project linked all subjects across the curriculum.


Portlaoise Educate Together NS planted a living willow dome with an archway entrance.  Willow was used to make wrapped wreaths decorated with wool to be attached to the diamond spaces in the lattice of the living willow rods of the dome.  History, geography, science maths and art were some of the curricular areas covered.

Principal Niamh Campion, artist Annabel Konig and pupils from Newtown NS presenting their project at the CRAFTed exhibition of projects in Laois Education Centre



Newtown NS, Crettyard. Pupils from 4th – 6th class used clay to make flat representations about the environment in which there schools is.  They explored mark making, manipulating clay and then cast this into plaster.  The work was then painted, adding an additional element of exploration as we gathered flora from the school grounds to help the students realise the colours that are in the gardens.  They also made a mosaic with ready-made 1cm tiles.  This work also commented and reflected on the school’s environment and the fauna that might live there.



Over 75 pupils and 8 teachers and SNAs took part in this very creative and exciting project.

Teachers Anne Matthews, Martina Mulhall & Anne bergin with Artist Tunde Toth and pupils from Scoil Mhuire Fatima Timahoe at the CRAFTed exhibition of projects in Laois Education Centre


Niamh Campion, on behalf of Laois Education Centre and a participating school principal  thanked all involved and went on to say ‘this project has moved Art in Schools to a different level, where primary school children and teachers have been afforded  an exciting opportunity to explore their creativity and learn new skills by working collaboratively with professional craftspeople’.



Carrie Lynam, National Coordinator CRAFTed 2017 spoke of the importance of working in partnership with Laois Education Centre and the participating schools.  It was a great insight for the craftspersons into the VA Curriculum in Schools.  Carrie thanked Laois Education Centre for having the vision and belief in getting involved and giving schools the opportunity to work first hand with such talented artists in their locality.