Bringing colour to the classroom

A fascinating aspect of working with colleagues from other countries is the opportunity we have not only to learn about their ideas and working practices, but also to observe subtle differences in relation to aspects of their everyday lives. Our appreciation of this is greatly enhanced when amongst the observers is a friend who has the trained eye of an artist and who notices variations in pattern and, texture and shape that many of us may overlook.

Indian pattern 2

So it has been that this week with the visit of students to Northampton from our MA programme in Bangalore. Jean Edwards, the artist whose work and blog I have mentioned on previous occasions ( has kindly joined us during some of the week’s activities and has been interested in the beautiful patterns to be seen in some of the fabrics worn by our visitors.

Indian pattern 1

Such features are difficult to capture with words, and even challenge the photographer’s lens, but can be clearly depicted through the skilled use of pencils and colours when in the hands of an artist such as Jean. The patterns presented here were gathered quickly and unobtrusively as our students engaged in a range of activities and represent a brief moment of time captured to remind us of the occasion. Seeing these pictures I am reminded of the intense light and vibrant colours of the Bangalore markets which can overwhelm the senses of the visitor from outside of India. Anyone from my own country who has visited India will, I feel sure recall the shock of colour, smell and noise that appears to dominate the first few days in an Indian city.

Indian pattern 3

I am grateful to Jean who has given up some of her time this week to join us, and recognising that my words are inadequate to convey the fascination of the patterns that she has captured, I will write no more, but leave you to enjoy her contribution to this page. So thank you to all of our students for bringing colour into our classrooms, and to Jean for providing us with a permanent reminder of the occasion.


6 thoughts on “Bringing colour to the classroom

  1. Jean, I must compliment the wonderful artistry of your drawings. The interpretation of fabric onto paper that you have depicted makes me realise how much I myself, take shapes and patterns around me for granted. Indeed, there is so much to unpick within the finer details of textures, colours and forms all around us on a daily basis and your daily blog updates certainly reflect this. I am certain that practitioners of mindfulness would doubtless have more to say on the topic. Thank you for sharing your memories of this week.

  2. The detail in the patterns is truly amazing. The drawings make me aware of how much we overlook the detail in the patterns surrounding us. In the daily rush of our life we could benefit from taking time each day to reflect on the intricacies of one pattern a day in the way that Jean took her focus away from the whole scene around her to focus on the patterns in fabric. I plan to take her lead and find a small detailed pattern to reflect on. I lack the talent and skill to match her outputs.

  3. Hi Carmel,
    Perhaps we could ask Jean to give us all a lesson in observation. It is a skill that we all need to hone as teachers.

  4. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Carmel, Saneeya and Richard – much appreciated. You’re right about having some time each day to lose myself in looking or imagining: it took a while but it is a daily habit now, a welcome part of the day. Starting with one detail and moving outwards is a good idea. As a teacher I often used a viewfinder (piece of card with a hole cut in it) to focus and an artist teacher I’m working with recently shared a great idea with me – use an opened envelope (the sort with a window in it).

  5. Thank you Jean. Your contribution both through your drawings and in sharing ideas is much appreciated. You have certainly given a new impetus to the blog, which benefits greatly from your ideas

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