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Making a Dragon at Ardleigh Primary School

posted 9 Jun 2014, 12:20 by Marina - Mark O'Connell   [ updated 9 Jun 2014, 12:38 ]

The Apricot centre was asked to make a dragon story telling seat in the school grounds from designs the children had done, only using materials from the immediate vicinity – aka Anglo -Saxon builders might have done. Quite an ask !!

We assembled the team ... year 3 and 4 at the school, Mr Tucker, Marina ... chief organiser and worrying how on earth she was going to do this, Aidan chief cob mixer and Kate Reynolds chief artist / dragon maker.

We decided that we would use straw bales for the body of the dragon, on top of car tyres to keep the 

We had to do 3 layers in total,  the second layer needed straw added to the mix, the children made a nest in the bales and chopped it up and chatted,damp out – ok Anglo - Saxons did not have access to either – but in the sprit of using what is close by and cheap / free these fit the criteria.  We created the shape with the children and then came the mixing  of the cob. .... a mix of top soil, sand and clay trampled with the feet of hoards of children then made into “pat a cakes” and put onto the horse- shoe shape.

others still were happy to trample, others liked making the dragon face with Kate, and using broken pottery to create eyes, teeth, and other bits and pieces of anatomy that dragons have – sticky outy bits around the gills, horns, spines created by putting hazel poles into the straw bales and covering with sail cloth. The beast emerged from the mud.
We began to get tired so hired a cement mixer – not something the Anglo -Saxons had either but much easier that mixing it all with our feet – I told the children that the Anglo- Saxons would have used cattle to tramp the mixture but we didn’t have any so we used the cement mixer instead. It was still very hard work as the cob mix was so heavy and we needed so much of it.

By the time we got to the final layer, smoothing and preening, the Dragon had been born and called “Cyril” .. by us and Puff by the children. He exceeded my wildest imaginings and is rather magnificent and I hope that the stories told in his coils will be wild and exciting for the children.