Student sign completed at historic Blue School

Nov 4, 2020

LANDAFF – Last May, Landaff students began their work on a hand-crafted sign for the historic Blue School. The kiln-fired clay sign, created in partnership with the Littleton Studio School and Tarleton Castle Arts, was installed last week.

Dating back to 1858, the Landaff Blue School is one of only two functioning one-room schoolhouses in the state. Today, it serves fifteen students from kindergarten to third grade and twenty-four preschool children.

Three in-school workshops were held during the 2019-2020 school year. During the first session, the children hand-built 21 half-inch clay tiles that measured seven inches. While some of the pieces were purely decorative, others spelled out the name of the school. Quilt squares inspired the tile designs.

Later that spring, the children hand-glazed their work. The tiles were then delivered to the Littleton Studio School kilns for firing. The workshops were led by Tarleton Castle Arts Executive Director Tim Dailey and school board chair Cecily Yarosh.

“As a board member of the Blue School and Tarleton Castle, I am very excited about this project. I think the sign will help people driving by to recognize that the Blue School is not just a historical building but a busy little public school,” noted Yarosh.

The school board chair continued, “As a Tarleton Castle board member, I think this project is a perfect example of how art education can be impactful and important. We talked about how each tile would be individually designed by the students but had to adhere to the same size and color rules so that our sign would have a uniform appearance and be easy to read.”

Dailey added, “We were very pleased that the students immediately grasped the concept. Their efforts created a sign that would stand for their lifetime or longer. They will be able to show the tiles they made to their children and grandchildren. Making art objects that become a part of our lives and our communities connect us all.”

The Tarleton Castle Art Residency Center and an anonymous building supplier donated materials for the project. Interns and volunteers from Tarleton Castle assisted with the workshops and Dailey built the pitched roof structure to house the children’s work. It is the first time in recent history that the Blue School has had a sign.

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