Bring The Art Hand to your School…

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We are an art school on the Waterford coast that runs art classes for kids and also for adults and we offer an outreach programme for Primary Schools.

We travel to schools across the county with all the equipment and materials needed to develop interesting, fun and educational art projects. We can identify the benefits of a chosen project to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the primary school curriculum. Each project is unique and tailored to suit each individual school.

The options are endless; paint a mural, build a mosaic, create a map of your area, have an exhibition, make a film. Although the artwork resulting from the collaboration can be very impressive our emphasis is on the actual process including the planning and creation.

Teamwork is central to how the artwork comes together. Teachers as well as children are involved in the process throughout. We try to keep things focused and structured to keep everyone’s attention. We like to leave small tasks for the students to complete before the next session. It could be an observation exercise or a challenging idea to think about. We teach simple and safe techniques and knowledge is gained in an enjoyable way.

The projects are facilitated by either Miranda or Sean Corcoran who are both fulltime professional artists and tutors at The Art Hand. Introducing children to an artist gives them first hand knowledge of what being an artist is really like. It gives them an insight into art itself. What is Art? We’ve had some interesting answers to that question!

The classes usually take place once a week for the duration of a school year although we can also design term long projects. We also offer professional development courses for teachers and day trips for school groups.

We are aware of the funding difficulties facing many schools so for this reason we are happy to discuss different ways that your school might be able to raise funds through local sponsorship, events and grants. We would be delighted to visit you to discuss different options and costs.

We can bring along photographs and samples of our work to show you. Alternatively if you would like to visit us here at The Art Hand just let us know and we can show you around our facilities.

To follow are Case Studies of two recent projects;

Mosaic Map by Sean Corcoran

This project was undertaken by Sean Corcoran and the pupils and staff of Knockmahon National School during the 2011 / 2012 school year. Following discussions with the principal it was decided to create a Mosaic Map of the area.

Sean Corcoran met with staff and pupils to discuss things in greater detail and at this stage the following things were decided;

The Mosaic Map would be hung indoors and a size was agreed.

The materials would all be recycled.

The materials would all be gathered by the pupils.

The location of everyone’s home would be included on the Mosaic Map.

The Process;

  • We viewed and discussed a book of artworks created by Sean Corcoran.
  • We watched and discussed A DVD of art mosaics from around the world.
  • We looked at a wide variety of printed maps and discussed them.
  • We agreed on the benefits of creating the Mosaic Map.
  • We wrote a list of the materials, equipment, technology and software needed.
  • We discussed what art media and techniques would be involved.
  • We learned how to use Google Earth mapping software.
  • We identified the location of everyone’s home using Google Earth.
  • We created a prototype map with all the main features of the area.
  • We spoke about artistic licence in relation to scale and orientation.
  • We manipulated the prototype map using Photoshop to fit everything in.
  • We simplified the main detail of the map to suit the limitations of mosaic.
  • We made and painted a plywood backing board and frame.
  • We projected and traced the completed layout of the map onto the board.
  • We gathered all the recycled materials.
  • We glued all the pieces onto the board.
  • We grouted and cleaned the Mosaic Map.
  • We took a photo portrait of all the staff and pupils.
  • We printed stickers of these and stuck them on at each persons home.
  • We hung the Mosaic Map on the wall.
  • We unveiled the Mosaic Map at a community gathering at the school.
  • We plan to continue adding stickers of buildings, animals, new pupils etc.

The Mosaic Map has been part of 3 Awards;

Eco Unesco recognised and rewarded the project with a grant to showcase it at the Eco Unesco National Youth Forum at the Mansion House in Dublin this November as part of the Eco UNESCO Art and Design Young Environmentalist awards.

 An Taisce awarded the school their 6th green flag for their Schools Biodiversity project of which the mosaic map was part of.

Waterford County Council, on assessing the Mosaic Map project decided to grant the school a special achievement award.

Unveiling the Mosaic Map. Image courtesy of Keith Fitzgerald


To follow is a reference from Gretta Whelan, principal of Knockmahon National School;

To whom it concerns,

Sean Corcoran worked as an art tutor in our school during the school year Sept 2011/June 2012. He undertook a project, creating a mosaic map with the pupils.

Sean demonstrated an ability to plan teaching and learning activities suitable for the age and abilities of the pupils. He delivered well structured introductions; focused teaching and learning activities and suitable conclusions. He has effective communication skills and gives clear explanations and instructions. He differentiated lessons and activities for children with special educational needs.

The process of planning and making the mosaic map proved to be a creative experience for the pupils on many levels. They were involved in exploring, investigating, experimenting, inventing, designing and making. Sean introduced skills and techniques to enable the children to use expression, resourcefulness and individuality. They were encouraged to use a range of visual arts media.

Sean created opportunities for linkage and integration with other curriculum subjects. He recognised the importance of language in stimulating ideas and recalling events. He provided opportunities for the children to explore and discuss the work of other artists.

The mosaic map project has proved to be an exciting journey for our pupils and staff. It is a living work of art since present and future pupils will continue to mark their homes, townslands, local events and wildlife on this map.

The mosaic map was entered into the Eco Unesco Art and Design Young Environmentalist awards. Our pupils and staff have received grant aid to showcase the mosaic at the Eco Unesco National Youth Forum at the Mansion House, Dublin in November 2012. It was also included in our schools biodiversity project for An Taisce. We were awarded our sixth green flag for this project. On assessing this work Waterford Co.Council decided to grant us a special achievement award. We also detailed the processes used in the making of this map in our Discover Primary Science and Maths project and achieved an award of Science and Maths Excellence for our school.

I have no hesitation in recommending Sean Corcoran as an art tutor. Please contact me if you need any further information.

Yours Sincerely,


Gretta Whelan.


The Sunflower of Life by Miranda Corcoran

The Sunflower of Life was commissioned by the Board of Management of Seafield School in Bunmahon to coincide with a major extension on the school. I went and spoke with the principle Ann Coffey. I got ideas of what the school was interested in and that Sunflowers were the schools favourite flower.

I did drawings and worked out what materials I would use. My idea was to create a large wall mounted Sunflower with one leaf depicting the countryside and the other one the sea. Then I brought my proposal to a Board of Management meeting. We discussed the idea and I showed them my proposal and samples of my work. They contacted me to tell me I had the commission. I started work on the piece in January, the week after the Christmas holidays.

Firstly I went to the school, took measurements and roughly drew to scale the size and shape of the piece. It is made of four pieces; the flower, the stem and two large leaves. I wanted the children involved in the creation of the piece so I developed projects for them, that we could work on in the school. I went to talk to the children, showed them the idea and asked them to think of things they would like to put into it. Also I showed them a selection of the materials we would use, clay, jewels, beads, buttons and paints. Shells were also picked by the kids to be included in the piece.

On the first session in the school we made shapes in air drying clay to represent stones. In total all 64 children were involved over a four-hour period, with the help of the vice principal.

On the second session each child painted their name on a stone and decorated them. On the third session I worked with smaller groups of kids who had specific things they wanted to make. We did more clay work including tractors, cows, whales, surfers, boats and trees.

The fourth session was painting the clay pieces and making the centre piece for the flower. There were three more sessions in the school. I spread out the work as much as I could to give each kid as much involvement as possible. The last part of my work with the kids was decorating the Sunflower and each kid had a chance to stick on some buttons.

I did the preparation work back at The Art Hand. I drew the image up to scale on paper, cut out the template, then my good husband cut out the shapes for me, then they were sanded and primed. The boards are 18mm thick plywood (WBP). Meanwhile I laid everything out on the boards and planned where everything would go and made sure it would all fit. There was a huge array of materials used. Some new and some recycled.

It took me about five weeks to complete the work. Once it was all mounted it was then coated with PVA glue to really gel it all together. It was then screwed up on the wall in the school outside school hours so I believe the kids were thrilled the next day when they arrived in to a surprise. The Sunflower of Life was unveiled at the opening of the new extension and the blessing of the completed school. I’m delighted with how it turned out, I think it makes a colourful and attractive addition to the school and the kids really seem to love it. Although the flower itself is up very high the leaves contain all the detail and kids love to interact with it, it’s tactile and accessible at a perfect height for little people!


To follow is a reference from Ann Coffey, Principal of Seafield National School;

 Seafield N.S


To whom it may concern   

Miranda Corcoran worked in this school with the pupils completing a project to mark the celebration of the opening of the new extension.  Miranda worked over the school year taking the pupils in organised groups on a regular basis. During this time Miranda and the pupil’s cooperated well together in a very happy yet structured environment. She also brought out each individuals talents and enhanced their artistic abilities. 

Guided by Miranda, the pupils completed a beautiful art piece depicting their own interests like farm machinery, the beach and surfing. The pupils looked forward to Mirandas’ classes and thoroughly enjoyed their time with her. Miranda always has a very pleasant manner in all her dealings with pupils, staff and parents. The enthusiasm she inspires is evident in the wonderful art piece on the school foyer which is much admired by all. 

We were very happy with Miranda’s work in this school and we wish her well.

Yours faithfully

Ann Coffey, Principal

So if you would like to discuss some options for your school please ring Sean or Miranda on 051 292919 or get in touch with us HERE.

One Response to Schools

  1. For further details of our Primary School Courses please contact us. Sean and Miranda.

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