A massive twelve schools studied cotton for the Archibull Prize and in Part 1 of our Cotton Showcase here we profile the colour and creativeness of primary school entrants and rural and regional schools.
First up are the Year 6 students from Raymond Terrace Public School who created ‘Cotton-eye Josie’ who is rockin’ the dreadlock look.
The school looked at the sustainability of the cotton industry by exploring topics such as climate change, biosecurity, healthy communities and food security, and they were also wowed with the use of technology as shown to them by YFC Casey Onus.
(The students) were intrigued with the technology shared, which forms the 21st century tools Ms Onus uses to perform her work as an agronomist…namely the drones. This gave students the idea of depicting the cotton fields from the perspective of an agronomist drone ie: a ‘bird’s eye view’.
When researching climate change the school looked at ways to reduce its carbon footprint:
We had been sent a pack of Archibull resources in the post, including multiple copies of posters. Students re-used and re-purposed these posters by cutting them into sections and using the creative technique of ‘decoupage’ to cover the torso of our ‘Archie’ calf.
As part of their Archibull journey the students raised over $1000 for drought relief through the Buy a Bale campaign. Well done Raymond Terrace!
The next primary school looking at cotton was the Parramatta Public School who created ‘Moona Lisa’ to tell the true story of the cotton industry through headlines and comics.
Based on our Skype Chat with Emma (YFC Emma Ayliffe) we discovered the biggest challenges the cotton industry face were society’s view and misconceptions about the cotton industry. Students wanted to tell the story through headlines and comic strips. Our aim was to tell the “true” story of the cotton industry to inform society of the best practices that take place.
Our Moona Lisa is unique in that students drew on their strengths as cartoonists and engaged in deep learning using comics as a form of medium to illustrate and tell the “true” story. This was a complex technique that students mastered while learning about visual literacy and creative storytelling through images and humour.
The last of the primary schools studying cotton with their Archibull Prize was Miller Public School that was assisted by YFC Laura Bennett to create ‘Moostapha Cotton’.
The left side of our Archie shows the farming of cotton through a model. The model has what a cotton farm looks like throughout each season. We’ve even included a tractor that’s harvesting the crop. We also have a map of where cotton is grown around Australia and have three lady beetles to represent the cotton industries efforts to protect the crop using environmentally friendly farming methods.
Our Archie’s right side shows the cotton production cycle. We thought the best way to show this was to use the infographic from Cotton Australia as it was a simple and effective way to show the entire journey of cotton.
Moostapha’s face was left as that of a cow to show that cottonseed can also be used as animal feed.
Three regional schools from Wagga, Tamworth and Muswellbrook took a good look at the Australian cotton industry and each came up with an individual way to express their findings. Oxley High School from Tamworth needed only to step outside their own back door to find inspiration in the cotton fields of the Liverpool Plains and this became the focus of their Archie named ‘Jean’.
YFCs Casey Onus helped the students on their jean journey, which grew from the amazing fact that one bale of cotton can make 36 pairs of jeans!
10 pairs of blue jeans are used to create the big sky country (on our Archie). One side of our cow is the starry night sky using Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night”. The other side is the big sky country on the Liverpool plains cotton growing region. The udders are a representation of the dams that are used to pump water onto the large cotton crops, which we have used black pipe and attached it to the cows teats as if it was drawing water from an underground bore and producing what we have above on our fields.
Kildare Catholic College from Wagga went with a minimalist, but striking, interpretation of the cotton industry with their blue and white Archie named ‘Roberta’.
The Year 10 visual art class were visited by YFC James Kanaley and came to realise the importance of water to the cotton industry. This became the focus for Roberta.
We have learned just how valuable water is to cotton farmers and know that every drop counts. We wanted to show the cotton plants being immersed by the body of water to show that it is a necessity for growth.
Our Archie is unique as it shows a variety of skills, whilst being graphic and simplistic. We aimed to engage the audiences by juxtaposing the bull with the colour blue (a visual representation of water). This makes the bull stand out in a crowd!
The two very different stylistic sides help convey both a realistic and more graphic depiction of cotton plants being immersed in a body of water.
Still in rural NSW and it was the students of Muswellbrook High School who partnered with YFC Casey Onus to create their Archie named ‘Cotton Eye Joe’.
Using a wide range of cotton products, including crotchet items, dyed cotton, cotton buds, cotton fabric and a cotton mop, Cotton Eye Joe showcases the process of growing cotton and the variety of products it makes.
During the design process, each student had to design and propose how they would decorate the bull. As a group we took the best elements from each student’s proposal and incorporated them into one whole design.
The Muswellbrook Archie drew on the following design elements:
- Black and white stripes: represent the rows of cotton crops
- Sunset with farmer silhouettes: to show how hard and long farmers work everyday
- Cotton Picker centred in the design: to showcase the machinery used and to emphasise the role that machinery and technology play in the cotton industry
- Hot pink paint: a link to the cotton dyeing process; highlighting that cotton can be more than white.
- Cotton reels: we wanted to use an everyday cotton item and transform them into an artwork. The cotton reels construct the word cotton but also look like a piece of machinery (inspiration from the Gin).
- Australian sunset: we used a silhouette of Australia to link both sides of the bull, but to also showcase the Australian Cotton Industry
Watch this space for Part 2 of our Cotton Showcase