Buckfastleigh Primary School was the setting for an outstanding arts workshop, supported by funding from The Helen Foundation and led by internationally renowned artist James Lake.

James is a sculptor who uses the medium of cardboard to create 3D sculptural pieces, props and puppets.

The artist believes in ‘art for all; art beyond race, gender, age, ability and disability,’ and his workshops are highly inclusive and accessible.

Working with Year 5 pupils in Swift Class, who have been researching wide ranging aspects of African life and culture, James Lake led the youngsters to create remarkable masks inspired by West African masks – renowned for their outstanding power and beauty.

Using cardboard and a wide variety of materials such as straw, raffia, pipe cleaners, gauze and foil, the children designed and created their own masks during the day-long workshop and displayed them in front of the school and parents at a special assembly on the last day of the half-term.

Annie and Roger Kirk of The Helen Foundation attended the workshop and the assembly.

‘James Lake has a special talent in being able to engage children of all levels of artist skill and confidence to bring out the very best of their creative talents,’ said Roger.

‘The depth of their engagement and willingness to grapple with the challenges raised by the project was a joy to behold.’