Alice Clarke and Charles Dickens Primary School

Tents on the Thames

Location: Union Yard Arches (front gates)

Artists: Alice Clarke and pupils from Charles Dickens Primary School

Mediums of choice: Posca pens on plywood and acrylic

Style: Community project

Personal inspiration: When working with community groups it’s important for me to give as much autonomy to members as possible while also creating a coherent final piece. If I am able to spark curiosity and joy in the workshops then the art created will reflect that. In the workshops with year six students at Charles Dickens Primary School we talked about everything from the 1814 Frost Fair and Europe’s mini ice age to climate change, from carnivals with elephants to fortune telling, from fast food restaurants to the most unusual meats we had ever eaten.

Frost Fair inspiration: What really struck me in images of the last frost fair on the Thames in 1814 was the sea of carnival tents set up on the ice. People ran pubs, restaurants, shops and circus acts from tents on top of the frozen Thames. I decided to ask the students to design their own fair to go on ice. I gave each student a tent to decorate and we looked at old paintings and played word games to help everyone come up with ideas for their own tent. Here you can see the wonderful designs they came up with.

This artwork was made possible by the generous support of the team at Fabrix. 

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