School workshops started today with a visit to Lady Hawkins School in Kington. Hay History Group have strong links with the school as Mari Fforde worked with the History teacher there - The inspirational Mr Nic Dinsdale - on the Kington Camp Project. So this year we approached the school to ask if they would like to be involved with a History/Art project involving Agincourt and a Sea of Arrows.
The idea was dreamt up by Ingrid Bain - creative consultant for the History Group on many of our art based activities. Ingrid had been thinking about how to visualise the drama of the Battle of Agincourt and also to commemorate the role that the Welsh archers played. We wanted to create something that would be easy to make, weather proof, transportable and visually dramatic. The idea was that it would it some way be hung from the walls of Hay Castle - similar to the field of poppies that we created last year with Fairfield school:
Fairfield was great fun last year but we decided that maybe this year we would avoid trying to organise 150 teenagers threading needles and sewing. We needed something a little simpler.
So Ingrid raided the local craft shops and armed with a plan, several hundred sheets of multicoloured foam and a bulk buy of mini staplers we headed off for Kington.
We started the session with an introduction to the background of Agincourt and Mr Dinsdale decided to pluck a volunteer from the eager new year 7s and dress him up as a knight. Our volunteer soon realised quite what a job being a knight was. When asked how it felt the general reply tended to be:
We learnt the names of the kit that was worn, why knight's armour developed as it did and what the advantages and disadvantages were when compared to the english and Welsh archers.
Then was the turn for our second volunteer - a Welsh archer from Brecon. We were very lucky to borrow some amazing kit from Lesley Arrowsmith in Hay including a longbow, arrows, a quiver and some linen garments. Did you know that the feathers on the arrow always have to be made from a left or right wing and never both? If you mix the two the arrow will never fly straight.
Once we had pitted the heavy, armour clad, gauntleted knight against the swift archer we de-robed and set to work on creating our vision of a sea of arrows with the pupils.
Each group was armed with templates (kindly provided by Ian Berril) fun foam, pens and staplers and they immediately set to work on building their arrows.
One snack break and a lot of cutting and stapling later and we had our sea of arrows ready to arrange together. Ingrid chose some willing, staple happy pupils to help her in the construction of the 7 foot high pennant style banners and we soon had two pretty impressive artworks to hang at Hay Castle for the weekend.
Huge thanks to year 7 History and Geography for joining in and a big cheer to Mr Dinsdale for letting us come in and have fun at Lady Hawkins and also for keeping history alive and vibrant!
Also thanks to Agincourt600 for funding this workshop
Tomorrow we head off to Fairfield School with Super Emma Beynon to write some Agincourt poetry. The plan is to then display some of these poems in Hay Castle over the weekend.