The study of Art and Design allows each individual to communicate, question and express their thoughts, feelings, opinions and ideas in an inspiring and stimulating environment.
Art is a vital and enriching subject within the curriculum. We encourage our pupils to be adventurous, confident, innovative and ambitious in their creative endeavour. Students work with a wealth of media across several disciplines, exploring traditional and contemporary approaches to help them find their chosen area to create highly personal, individual and sophisticated outcomes. Students develop their independence through creative thinking, analytical reasoning and problem solving. The course structure teaches the students to take risks, experiment, articulate the meaning behind their work, and make informed decisions - all of which are vital skills for life and careers in the modern world.
Drawing and painting provides the foundation of our creative process; the analysis of visual artists underpins our ethos and working practice. As pupils progress, they develop a critical, historical and contextual understanding of the art world and how this applies to their current working practice. This symbiotic process encourages the pupils to develop and refine their ideas, and achieve original and ambitious outcomes.
From Year 7 through to A Level we offer our students the opportunity to think for themselves in a creative capacity, discovering personal strengths and developing an informed understanding of the creative process within a highly stimulating environment. This programme of study enables each student to work as an individual to find her own personal strengths and creative route.
At GCSE and A Level, students follow the unendorsed Art and Design course, working across a range of disciplines. The areas they can specialise in are Drawing and Painting, Fine Art Textiles, Three Dimensional Form, Sculpture, and Photography with Digital Manipulation.
The Art Department consists of three fully equipped studios that enable students to explore and experiment with a wide range of media and techniques, in both two and three dimensions. Through a series of practical workshops, each girl will refine her skills using oil paint, gouache, acrylic, water colour, charcoal, inks, fabric, threads, wire construction, jewellery, Modroc, collage, photography, digital manipulation, and various print making techniques. Within our Department, we have a photography studio with a photographic sweep, lighting, A1 printer and darkroom facilities. We also have a tented extension which provides individual working spaces for Sixth Form students, and a summer exhibition space.
Many of our students go on to study Art at Degree level, pursuing a range of disciplines including Architecture, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Fashion, Illustration, Animation, Interior Design and Foundation courses at some of the top universities including Ruskin Oxford, St Martins, Kingston, UCL, Ravensbourne, Leeds and Edinburgh.
Students are encouraged to utilise after school workshops to develop and extend their art practice. We run a number of Saturday workshops that offer a range of opportunities including oil painting, photography with Photoshop, mixed media and silk painting. Trips to galleries, museums and visiting artists provide vital inspiration and experience for students to see original art work first-hand, and to learn from professional art practitioners.
The Art Department consists of three trained art teachers and an experienced part-time technician. Their individual specialisms enable the Department to offer a rich, broad and varied curriculum across all Key Stages.
After gaining a BA Hons in Fine Art Textiles from Loughborough University, Miss Joe Thackray moved to Brighton to complete her PGCE in Art at Sussex University. After running a large art department in West Sussex for 15 years, she became Head of Art at Mayfield in 2006. Miss Thackray is passionate about art education and the enriching benefits the creative process bring to her students. She enjoys attending art courses to broaden her skills though oil painting, and collage with stitch and mixed media, while extending the Department’s evolving curriculum.
Mrs Ali Sivyour also studied at Loughborough where she completed her BA Hons Degree in Three Dimensional Design: Jewellery and Silversmithing. She moved to Sussex and completed her PGCE in Art at Sussex University. Mrs Sivyour taught at Millais School Horsham and St Paul’s School in Burgess Hill before joining Mayfield in 1998. She divides her time between teaching, creating intricate wire sculptures, which she sells and exhibits, and exploring new art practices to inspire the students.
Miss Hannah Oliver has a BA Hons Photography Degree specialising in Fine Art Photography from Kent University. She joined Mayfield in 2014 and teaches photography with digital manipulation which forms part of the GCSE and A Level Art curriculum. She explores these processes with her students to create a range of exciting outcomes including still life photography and wallpaper design. She also makes and sells her own art work inspired by 17th and 18th century garden design, exhibiting in local galleries around Sussex.