Melbourne June 2013 – Upper Ferntree Gully PS

A whirlwind visit to Upper Ferntree Gully Primary School in the morning, two x 1 hr sessions with Grades 5/6, thanks to their awesome art teacher Nikki Ashman!  We focused on facial expressions, the kids were wonderful, really engaged with the process and articulated some great ideas about emotions.


Whenever I commence a workshop, there’s inevitably an atmosphere of either a) nervous anticipation b) unbridled enthusiasm c) apathy – and I personally love observing how the dynamics of the group shift as the kids and I begin our little foray……and in this session, the ice was resolutely broken by the girl who (once I had begun drawing) pronounced – “You are LEGIT!!” (abbr. – “legitimate”) – an apparently new terminology to indicate that something is not only Awesome but the Real Deal!   I love those moments……(and I wonder if “legit” is a response to the current age of digital manipulations, media hoaxes, photoshopped everything and other hi-tech conjuring tricks…)

Some other great feedback from Nikki and her students:


“Thank you for the workshops. The kids have been raving about it for the last few days. They came away feeling very confident with the outcomes of their drawings to the point were they are now drawing their own styles and showing me every chance they get!”  Nikki Ashman, art teacher

“I felt very confident with my drawings, I feel I can come up with my own cartoons now” – Tyson, Grade 5/6

“I loved the different face designs and creating new expressions” – Olivia, Grade 5/6

“Students developed a new found confidence. The tasks enabled each child to achieve a successful drawing by the end of the workshop and the skills to carry on and create their own cartoons. Bradfield is funny and engaging, students really enjoyed working with him.”
Nikki Ashman, art teacher


I first visited this school in February 2013 – Knox Council (who I have worked with for nearly a decade – see Gallery) commissioned me to run a series of design-based workshops in primary schools in the Knox Shire, as a lead-up to the Schools Banner Competition, a component of the annual Knox Community Arts Festival.  All schools in the Knox area are invited to design and paint a large banner reflecting the festival theme each year.  My job this year was to talk about & demonstrate a few basic ideas about effective design, meeting a brief etc, to encourage students to think a bit more laterally about the creative process.  Nikki has always encouraged her students to enter the Banner Competition with a lateral approach, and this year the school won the People’s Choice Award – a well-earned result!