Author Archives: Jane Porter

Shells, pinecones and a mini-Eiffel Tower


I took my bags of mystery objects over to Bayswater this week, for three days of drawing workshops at Hallfield Primary School – an Arts Council funded project organised by LONSAS (London Schools Arts Service). I was working with Year 2 and Year 4, teaching different drawing techniques. I was there on World Book Day and had a room full of Snow Whites and Spidermen! This also gave me the chance to try out the book I’ve illustrated, Duck Sock Hop by Jane Kohuth (out in May) – and they loved it and laughed on every page…and then asked for my autograph! Great fun.

The objects in bags were popular – it was lovely to see the children listening for the sea with the shells and really looking at the detail. Some of the drawings they produced while looking at the object not the paper were fabulous, and so well observed.

It was a great school to work in and I am hoping to do more with them in the future. It’s also a fabulous listed building by Denys Lasdun – you can find out more about the buildings here – apparently the whole site is based on flower petals, and all the corridors are marvellously curved.

Don’t take your hand OFF!

I’ve been at Grand Avenue Primary School in Surbiton working with year 5 teaching them drawing skills. Each child had a bag with an object in, and they then had to draw it four ways, then swap and draw another object four different ways. There were wails of dismay at the idea of using the ‘wrong’ hand and not taking hands off the paper, but some excellent results. This was followed by a mixture of drawing and collage based on reference pics of old buildings, and a session drawing portraits.rivercontinuousline

A Wandle alphabet

It’s taken five years of wading, rummaging, sifting and heaving but my Wandle alphabet is finally complete – a complete A-Z made with objects found during clean-ups of the river Wandle with the Wandle Trust. I think my favourite has to be the false teeth ‘U’, though I am also very fond of ‘R’ and ‘O’. The ‘F’ is from a fish and chips sign.

It’s now available as an A1 sized, limited edition poster – it costs £20 with all proceeds going to future Wandle Trust work. Do email me if you are interested in buying one.

Mural in Hook


I’ve just finished a big mural project at St Paul’s C of E Primary School in Hook, near Chessington.

The project began with three days working with the whole school, class by class, creating colurful birds, leaves, flowers and buildings using a variety of media from acrylic to collage and coloured pencil.

Year 2 created some amazing collage vehicles, while Year 3 drew their own homes with great detail and a dash of imagination:



Other year groups experimented with colour mixing to create dozens of different shades for bricks and leaves, year 4 drew beautiful birds and year 6 worked in groups to make large collage/drawings of key buildings in or connected to the area, including Southwark Cathedral as a focal point.

I painted their drawings onto the boards and collaged on the cut out bricks, then added all the richness of bird and plant life, as well as the homes and vehicles that the children created (including an unfeasibly large number of tanks!).

It’s the third time I’ve worked at St Paul’s and it was lovely to recognise so many children and to see how their creative work has developed over the years.




Whitechapel presentation


In July I spent some time at Bainbridge Studios screen printing a limited edition poster of all the beautiful drawings done by Year 6 at Cannon Barnett Primary School, Whitechapel. The drawings were done during workshops I did with the class in May exploring their local built environment for the English Heritage pilot project, Special Places. The class also chose a building they wanted to list and presented their ideas to a team from Tower Hamlets planning department, and visited a live conservation project at Altab Ali park with Ben Pearce from High Street 2012. The project came to a conclusion on July 14th with a visit to the school from Baroness Andrew, the chair of English Heritage, who presented all the children in the class with their screen printed posters, and in return, they presented her with one of the posters which she has promised to frame and display in her office,

Year 6 were a fantastic class to work with, as were teachers Peter and Laurens,  and I thoroughly enjoyed the project. Both English Heritage and Tower Hamlets are hoping to repeat the project in other schools in the future.

Special Places poster

This is the artwork for the giant poster I have been screenprinting for the English Heritage project ‘Special Places’, which I worked on during May with Canon Barnett Primary School in Whitechapel. The Year 6 class did some really wonderful drawings of the built environment around the school following some exploratory walks with cameras, and I have put all their work together into one image. I pushed them to add lots of detail with different weights of pen and I think the results are impressive. I particularly like the chimney on the Truman Brewery, the lovely patchwork of the gherkin and the way the school itself (second from the bottom on the left hand side) looks like a fairytale castle.

They were a fabulous class to work with – each child will now get their own poster to take home.

A giant fabric book for the Palace

I’ve been working on a giant hand-made fabric book for Kensington Palace. It’s for the outreach team who go storytelling in nurseries, schools and libraries, and is a story about the Palace’s various princesses over the years encountering a plague of rats and dealing with it in their own individual ways.

To make the book, I used pen and ink and digital collage to create the images, then printed them onto iron-on fabric transfer paper (kept forgetting to ‘flip’ first, so many sheets went in the bin), then ironed the pictures onto heavy cotton canvas ‘pages’. I added bits of stitching here and there, also opening cupboard doors and sequins in places, and 3-d felt leaves. Then I bound the book by stitching the many layers together (very sore fingers) and adding a contrasting spine with blanket stitch.

I also made a hand-puppet to go with the book – it’s the young rat-catcher who saves the day, and the storyteller uses him to go through all the events of the narrative.