Student artwork helps improve Appleton Village School
Appleton — A pillar at the entrance to Appleton Village School has been made-over featuring student-designed and created tiles.
Last year, elementary school students began producing ceramic tiles in Anthony Lufkin’s art class that, when assembled together, creates a map of Appleton as well as providing a little history of the town.
“The idea of replacing or creating some sort of art to cover up the column at the entrance of the school has been kicking around for quite a while,” Lufkin said. “Jenny Roberts, a guidance counselor here at the school, and some parents got together and came up with the idea of the students creating the tiles with artwork on them.”
The students were tasked with researching an area of town and drawing something that represents each area.
“For example, if that part of town is known for apple orchards, a student’s tile might have a picture of an apple.” Lufkin said.
Each student made at least one tile and many students chose to create more than one. By the time the project was complete, more than 200 tiles had been designed by students.
Sections of roads, landmarks, rivers and streams were drawn on each tile and as the tiles were assembled, a picture of the town was revealed. Students also designed tiles that created a picture of the school mascot — a wildcat — as well as the name Appleton Village School and a compass.
The design of the wildcat came together in one class period, which made it possible for the students to line up tiles to make sure the images transferred properly.
Once the students finished their designs using an under glaze, Lufkin then used a clear protective glaze on the surface of the entire tile. The tiles were then fired in a kiln, which, according to Lufkin, was an almost continuous effort because of the shear numbers.
“If I put them in the kiln right, I could fire about 20 tiles at a time,” he said. “With the number of tiles that were made, it took a while for them to be done, but we did it.”
Lufkin said he was impressed with the way the community came together on the project and had nothing but praise for students involved. He said students not only were able to complete an art project but also used other problem-solving skills during the process.
“It’s nice that the kids that worked on this can come back in a few years and say ‘Hey these are the tiles I made’,” he said.
The next step for Lufkin after the tiles were fired was devising a way to attach the individual pieces to the column in a way the weighty tiles would not fall off and everything would line up properly.
“I was really impressed with the way the tiles came out; the hard part really was trying to figure out how we were going to attach them to the column," Lufkin said. “I struggled with some ideas and figured the best way to do it was to attach them to strips of plywood, then attach that to the column.”
The nearly year-long process is almost complete, with only a handful of tiles left to be attached.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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