By Amanda Quellin

To create the Elmer BookBench, I paid a visit to Willow Tree Primary school in Salford to do an arts workshop with the year 3 children in Ms Moss’s class. Their school was lucky to have been chosen for the Elmer bench and decided to base their designs on Elmer’s visit to Salford. It was brilliant to see how enthusiastic about the project the children were.

I was also really impressed by their creative ideas; they had already done a brainstorming session with their teacher, and during our session we talked about the overall aims for the BookBench, what the National Literacy Trust does plus the exciting projects Wild in Art has been involved in. A number of the children had seen some of their previous projects, for example the Bees in Manchester.

After we looked at some slides of existing BookBenches and talked about some ideas, the children began to draw some of their designs showing where Elmer would go and visit if he came to Salford. There were some very creative drawings produced – for instance, Elmer being hauled up by a crane, visiting the water sports centre and pushing everyone over on the tram!

I photographed their art work and then collated these to create my design based around their ideas and drawings. In order to involve some of the other children in the school I had suggested they may wish to complete a drawing for homework. I chose a couple of these drawings for the bench, but one in particular for the back design, where Elmer parachutes into a colourful Salford skyline.

The children and their teacher all seemed to really benefit from the project and were very excited to see it come to fruition. I am so pleased to have been a part of such a fantastic initiative and look forward to people seeing the finished BookBench while taking part in the Salford Literacy Trail.

The Elmer bench which will go on display in the Blue Peter Garden adjacent to Media City from 14 July.