Monday, 17 March 2014

Doctor Beans and his Bean Making Machines meets Oasis Acedemy Henderson Avenue!

Have you met Doctor Beans and his Bean Making Machines? Almost 90 of Oasis Henderson Avenue's year ones have! Over the last few weeks the schools have made several visits to 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, to snap up a fabulous opportunity to work with highly esteemed artist Dominic Heffer.
Dominic's exhibition Extensions is currently on display at 20-21 and is going down a storm with our young visitors. The year one pupils of Oasis Academy were all very lucky to have a private guided tour of the exhibition, given by the artist himself.
We all talked about what we could see in the paintings and what we thought they meant. 
All the pupils had lots of questions to ask Dominic. Questions like "How long did it take you to paint it?" and "Why is there a chicken with no head?"

The tour with Dominic made us see things we probably wouldn't see if he weren't showing us around. Like this big black and white painting, hung high in the hallways.

"Why has that man got worms coming out his head?"
"Where is that man walking to?"
All of Dom's work inspired lots of creative thinking and interesting questions. They made us think about characters and situations.
At the end of the tour, Dominic told us a story he'd written about his friend and inventor Dr Beans. 

Everyone sat and listened intently to the story unfolding and what was going to be required of us later that morning.

Back in the Education Room we were being asked to undertake a very importnat job for Dr Beans. We had to decorate all of his Bean Making Machines.

We had loads of materials given to us by 20-21 and Dominic, in order to make the most colourful, most exciting pieces of artwork that the gallery had ever seen.

There were pipe cleaners, paints, sponges, stickers, googly eyes, lollipop sticks, pens, crayons and feathers to help us on our way.

Dominic helped us in using a mixture of materials to get different colours, effects and textures.

Once we had finished our spectacularly colourful, weird and wonderful Bean Making Machine's for Dr Beans, we had a very special visit from the man himself! The lady from 20-21 told us how he never normally came to visit the centre, but that he'd been keen to meet all his helpers that morning.

Dr Beans was asked to judge all the Bean Making Machines, after they'd been tested for practicality and usefulness by pouring lentils down the top and through the special pourer.

Dr Beans had a very tough decision to make with each visit he made to the centre. On the first week, he chose a young girl called Lily to win a signed Dominic Heffer catalogue. Here she is shaking hands with Dr Beans and Mr Heffer.

The second week, Dr Beans couldn't make the journey, so he sent his cousin who's also called Dr Beans!

We were so lucky to have members of the Beans family come each week to judge our art works! Dr Beans became quite the celebrity with the pupils of Oasis Academy Henderson Avenue.

From the artist:

'I like to use my imagination to make all sorts of different scenes and funny characters in my paintings. I always use bright colours and often the people in my paintings are doing silly things like riding an ostrich or carrying a giant jar of pickled onions....if you use your imagination, you can make anything, that's what excites me!'
From a year one teacher:

"Great tour of his [Dominic's] work and explaining them in an age appropriate language. A warm approach."
"It was a fantastic opportunity for the children to work with a real artist. Dominic was fabulous with the children!"
Henderson Avenue teachers spotted the rare and exciting opportunity for their children to work directly with our exhibiting artist, by reading through our blog and twice termly newsletter. If you would like to sign up to this newsletter, please send an email to