Girls gain arts award
Six teenagers who have completed a Bronze Arts Award have blossomed from shy girls lacking confidence to being able to lead their own workshop session, says their tutor.
Michelle Baker, who runs Crafty Betty in Newark, said it had been a fantastic achievement for the girls.
"Some of them lacked confidence, struggled with lessons or found their school did not offer the chance to take part in art or textile-related activities because the subjects has been removed from many school syllabuses," she said.
"I have watched this intake bloom."
The girls — Hollie Harrison, Jo Baldwin, Lilly Richards, Millie Hedge, Lucy Wyld and Abi Baldwin — received their awards from the Mayor of Newark, Mr Tony Roberts, at a ceremony at Newark Craft Hub, London Road carpark.
Michelle trained to be an Arts Awards adviser with Trinity College, London, alongside her degree in education at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln.
"It is different to what is offered in schools as it offers a more flexible approach to learning," she said.
"While the work the candidates produce is still moderated externally and has to meet all the criteria to pass, the pressure of exams and coursework that pupils might experience in school is removed."
Michelle said students were encouraged to work at a rate comfortable to them.
"Although they are given homework I don’t give out detentions if it is not done," she said.
The Arts Award is for students up to 25. The aim is to inspire participants to develop as artists and arts leaders through challenges, ranging from fashion to digital art, pottery to poetry.
The girls have spent the past 18 months attending hour-long sessions after school. They have also put in 20 hours of independent learning.
They each chose an area they wanted to focus on. Michelle worked with them to develop their skills, from painting and drawing to using a sewing machine.
To gain the award they had to build a portfolio of artwork and complete a study of an artist.
They also had to attend and write a review on an arts event — some chose museums and galleries. Others attended workshops with artists.
To complete the award they had to share their skills by running a workshop.
"Some found this daunting but, with careful coaching and guidance, everyone taking the course successfully achieved it and I was very proud," said Michelle.
The bronze level is on a par with a GCSE. The next step is the silver award, before gold, which is A-level equivalent.
An new intake for the bronze award will be starting soon. More information can be found on Michelle’s website www.craftbetty.org