I have been using the various plates I have made and the learning journals as demonstration examples with the year eights over the past three weeks. They have been tasked to make a small plate with the circular tile cutter that we have. The pupils have picked up on the Grayson Perry vase of his childhood heroes which I have used for a ‘Heroes of Anstey Library’ design. They have done a lot of footballers.

What is quite interesting is the way that tracing has become a big part of the project. One of the pupils mistook some Pennsylvanian pin decorated ware of a horseman riding by for Thomas Toft’s work. I pursued the links further and found out more about the images. I have based two plates on the horseman who was apparently a stock figure in Pennsylvanian ceramics in the late eighteenth century. The second one I used a pin decorated method which gave the lines a certain quality but did enable a pretty accurate transposition of the photocopied drawing I used. The pupils have really gone for this and some of the results have been very fine. A girl this afternoon rendered an old fashioned car using this method which worked very well.

If I hadn’t got so involved in making plates myself then I wouldn’t have pursued these lovely Pennsylvanian plates because the link was because of my drawing of a hussar on a plate. It was because I was interested in making plates of a horseman riding by that I picked up on the serendipitous research image and following it through into something that has been so useful for the pupils.