From tartlets to catwalk via a handmade motorbike: the Design Show at St John's Academy takes on the professionals
Students excelled this week in the highly anticipated St John’s Design Show. This annual event is the make or break point for all design and technology students across the school - marking the deadline for all coursework and final products.
It was an exciting evening with an electric atmosphere alive with excitement, creativity and nerves from all ends of the spectrum. While students rushed to make finishing touches to products, teachers observed diligently with a seemingly calm exterior.
Parents showed their pride and astonishment at the overall professionalism and skill represented by many of St John’s finest designers.
In one corner of the Academy’s central atrium was the Resistant Materials showcase, chock-full of impressive creations including a winged chariot, a record deck and a particularly innovative take on an old blanket box by Jo Sheppard (Year 13).
As Jo opened the box lid the last thing I was expecting to see was a flat screen television: “I’m just really surprised at the reaction everyone has had to it”, beamed Jo, clearly pleasantly taken aback by the positive feedback from the public.
Moving towards the cafeteria, I and many others were greeted by sweet aromas of pastries, cakes and breads. The younger Year 10 students bustled around a bake sale while the Year 11s diced, sliced and decorated a medley of tasty treats in the cooking rooms.
I caught Isobel Leader (Year 10) skillfully laying out her delicious raspberry and lemon tartlets. “It feels really good to show everyone what we can do as Food Technology students”, said Isobel. “It’s also a relief to have finished my coursework” she sighed - clearly happy and relieved.
Leaving the cooking room visitors clustered around a variety of colourful graphic designs, including books, board games and chocolate boxes. The Graphics students were also behind the impressive Design Show logo (above right), leaflets and advertising.
I spoke to Owen Potts a design show regular and St John’s parent, this year marking his fifth show. He told me: “The talent showcased here is hard to fault, in one word I am proud” - a word that I believe many parents would struggle to disagree with.
Seven o'clock marked the beginning of the much anticipated Textiles catwalk. This involved a variety of students both male and female from Years 10 through to 13 showcasing their garments and handmade accessories. While models strutted up and down the catwalk I found it difficult to remember I was in a school and not at the front row of London Fashion Week.
I managed to catch up with Mr Stell and Miss Ho, Design and Technology teachers at St John’s.
“The department is a well-oiled machine and all staff play their part in organising the Design Show. We run the show annually to give our students the opportunity to show their talent for design to their friends, families and the wider community” explained Mr Stell.
“It’s an amazing atmosphere” added Miss Ho. “Seeing the parents and students react so positively is the sole reason why this is the eighth year of the design show”.
While many were no strangers to the design buzz at the show, St John’s Principal, Mrs Edmondson was experiencing her first ever St John’s Design Show.
She welcomed guests and presented awards to students: “I am so impressed by the originality, creativity and talent showcased here. It is an amazing opportunity for students to break away from core subjects and be able to experience a different form of creative learning”.
She told me: “I am particularly impressed by the handmade motorbike that Lee Perry in Year 13 made. The dedication and professionalism he has shown to his work is typical of what really makes St Johns a very special place.”
Overall the 2016 Design Show was considered to be a huge success, leaving guests eager to see what originality and innovation is produced for next year’s show.
Photographs by Freya Hunter (Year 12) - click to enlarge them.