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Lighting installation by Y3 pupils

Lighting installation_Art Hoppers and Y3 at Morningside school_Alice's adventures in Wonderland5

Students transform their dining hall into wonderful Wonderland with the help of Art Hoppers.

Creativity was certainly flowing in this latest project by Morningside Primary School. With the help of Art Hoppers, Year 3 chose the book ‘Alice’s adventures in Wonderland‘ as inspiration for their summer-term art project. The children worked hard over a three-week period recreating the atmosphere of the Mad Hatter’s tea party in their school hall. To do this the kids were given 35 pendant lampshades (supplied by yours truly) with the task of covering and decorating each one.

Every lampshade is unique in its shape and design. The structure is made from willow which was soaked and shaped until dry to give it a curve before being constructed. At the top of each willow frame is a metal utility ring which holds an LED light bulb.
Art Hoppers and Y3 at Morningside school_Alice's adventures in Wonderland3

The willow frame was constructed during the first art session using electrical tape to hold the structure together. The team worked in pairs with a set of eight vertical lengths, a metal utility ring and a larger willow ring for the bottom of the frame, plus more for scalloped edges. Precision and good co-ordination were required for this fiddly task.

Each frame was then covered using a papier-mâché technique with tracing paper and watered down pva glue, creating a smooth surface ready to decorate. Victorian lighting design was the inspiration for the finishing touches, all helping to recreate the feel of the period in which the book was set. Découpage was applied to fill areas of panelling, creating pattern around the shade.

Morningside School with Art Hoppers_Alice in Wonderland lighting installation

Collage was also applied as decoration on several of the shades using the pages of the book printed onto newsprint to give a vintage look. The children also made tissue paper rosettes using a simple origami technique with all imagery used related to the story i.e. tea sets, crockery, pocket watches and woodland flowers. During the art sessions one of the children observed that the lighting creations looked like Alice’s skirt and as a result of this three character lampshades were made. Alice, the white rabbit and The Queen of Hearts.

Art Hoppers and Y3 at Morningside school_Alice's adventures in Wonderland
We hope the children will benefit not only from having engaged in a creative process, but from understanding that art and design has a purposeful function in our everyday lives.

Art and design at its best, beautiful, inspiring and practical!

Art Educators / Artists: Claire Ward-Thornton & Johanna Valeur Production Manager / Lighting installation: Fred Beaufort Technical Assistant: Theo Zeal Carpenter: Phil Atherton


Art Hopper design and deliver high-quality art activities for early years, primary school children and families in both educational settings and public spaces. To find out more see here.

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