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On the 13th and 14th of June, we welcomed our 2024 Artist in Residence, Will Sexton (HWD 2015). The Artist in Residence program this year, allowed the Year 6 boys to experience the unique opportunity to work with the Blacksmith and Metal artist. Will, an old scholar of St Peter’s College, demonstrated the tools, skills and techniques required in working with different metals over his 10 years of professional practice. Using specific hammers, copper was hit with precision to create textured effects on the anvil. The Year 6 boys were in awe and mesmerised by the effects of copper, its manipulative qualities and the strength required to form the material.

The Year 6 boys worked at their own stations, hitting their copper to form textured petals, applying the skills and techniques taught by Will, to form each shape. With earplugs in and fingers out of the way, each piece reflected the uniqueness of each boy’s creative flair. The second stage of the sculptural process involved Will demonstrating the assembly of their sculptural artwork in the vice. Copper was beaten and split as each petal was attached to its stem. A vast amount of force was required to manipulate the metal, as Will demonstrated the strength required to curl the copper and form each petal.

Each boy manipulated their petals with pliers, experimenting with curling effects, realistic features and life like movement, as the copper was manipulated. The boys were in awe of the strength, patience, and time required to form their rose sculpture, and the beauty of their finished sculptural artworks. Buds were closed, others open in full bloom, yet each rose sculpture became unique and individual, and above all, reflected each boy’s skill and individuality.

Will’s teaching of this unique craft to the boys was caring, kind and gentle, as his instructions were precise, the boys listened intently, seeking out as much information in this unique and historical art form, and the new material they had discovered. The boys were immersed in this Artist in Residence program, and we are grateful to have Will’s talent in this unique art practice, open our student’s world to industrial art forms. On behalf of the Junior School, I would like to thank Will for his time, preparation and planning in introducing metal work to the Junior School, and for teaching and sharing his knowledge and skills to the Year 6 boys.

We look forward to sharing the sculptural works that our Year 6 boys have created with Will, at the 2024 Junior School Art Exhibition to be held on Monday 2 September. With metal as the exhibitions theme, we welcome everyone in the school community to join us for this occasion.

Sally Houston
Visual Art Teacher