Lydgate Junior & Infant School

Secret Garden

Science Topic: Matter

Participants: Year 4/5

Artist: Jackie Harrowsmith

Cummins Buddy: Peter

We will be unpacking the secrets of fabulous fused glass and creating an amazing glass garden. Our investigations will reveal how different materials change state and how glass can transform from solid to liquid and back to solid. We will use different fusing techniques to bend and layer glass, inclusions to change state, and coloured glass to create beautiful butterflies, bugs and plant life. For design inspiration we will reference the glass art of Dale Chihuly and will look to the natural world, particularly metamorphosis, as inspiration for our Changes of State theme. We will discover how certain colours used in fused glass shift and strike as they mature and relate this to metamorphosis and the blossoming of bud to bloom.

Our exhibition piece will be a beautiful Secret Garden!

Session 1

We were so excited on Monday afternoon when we heard our artist Jackie was in the building!  We were so excited to welcome her and our Engineering buddy from Cummins called Peter. We shared our school golden rules as well as health and safety rules, which are important when we work as artists and scientists. We quickly learned we had common ground; we all value the importance of learning and working safely. Our eyes were wide and grins even wider as we listened to Jackie share samples of fused glass she has made. Using great scientific vocabulary we shared what we knew about glass and Jackie helped extend this by talking about how glass changes state.  It was fun to make great butterfly designs.  Wearing goggles and using tweezers we carefully handled the frit which we used to create our butterfly designs.  We creatively designed patterns into copper strips which will be the butterfly body.  It’s exciting to wonder what our fused glass will look like when Jackie comes back next week.  At the end of the day we could barely contain ourselves as we ran outside to our parents and carers, excited to tell them all the fun things we had been up to!  Can’t wait til next week!

Session 2

The Glass Dream Team met again today for wonderful workshop number 2.  We quickly settled into glass making mode and amazed Jackie with our use of technical glass making terms! The great reveal of learning from last week was met with smiles and a buzz of wonder. We watched a video of professional glass making artist Dale Chihuly and we spotted that some of the artists in the video were not working safely! We were sure to be very safe when we designed and created plant stalks using a variety of sizes of fruit and stringers!

Peter our partner from Cummins shared a model of a Turbo Engine and reminded us about the importance of working safely in his job. Our Mums, Dads and even a school governor came to observe our exciting work today!




This is just fun learning and I love working with Jackie!

I loved this pink shift and this yellow striker is going to be orange when it’s fired!



Session 3

In Session 3 we shared our independent research about the awesome American glass artist Dale Chihuly. Our class and Jackie are both number 1 fans of this inspirational artist.

Our glass skills have impressed Jackie so much that today she challenged us with a new technique called Kiln Carving. Using Kiln Carving we worked as artists to create dazzling dragonflies which we will hopefully have in our secret garden.

We created designs and then drew these onto fibre paper which was tricky. Then we stacked the glass on top. Hopefully after the glass has been fired it will melt and take on the mould.









I loved creating the symmetrical patterns with course frit and stringer.

I can’t wait to see my dragonfly after it has fired!

Session 4

So today was the fantastic final glass workshop.  We have been waiting all week to see the results of our kiln carving dragonflies.

We started the workshop by taking time to observe the magnificent glass art we produced. Using science and art technical language we shared our thoughts. How lovely for Jackie to offer us the choice of flat or bent wings on our dragonflies. This broadened our knowledge of glass art further and introduced us to the technical term slumping.

Gasps of OW! and WOW! murmured across our class when Jackie modelled and explained todays learning – a wonderful exotic flower . Within minutes we were all proficiently designing, exploring, and creating wonderful glass flowers. 

We are wondering what all this magnificent glass art is to look like in our secret garden!  We’ll have to wait until the exhibition to find out!

It has been truly amazing to watch the children improve their glass making techniques.