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Etwall Well Dressing

This is the first year John Port School has taken part in the well dressing since the 1990s. We visited Etwall Primary school last year who always put together an outstanding well dressing board to learn some of the techniques.

Since September we attended meetings to learn more about how to put the well together. So a few weeks ago we helped put our boards in the school lake to soak. They need to be wet so that they take the clay.

A week later the boards come out and we carried them up to A block, which is quite a job as they are so heavy, even before the clay goes in.

Normally the clay is ‘puddled’ by the well dressers, meaning the clay powder is tipped into a in bath or similar and as water is added it is mixed by getting your feet in and ‘puddling’ it. This year as we only had a few of us we mixed the clay, which is still quite a challenge. Then it is shovelled onto the boards and smoothed out. Then left for 24 hours to dry a little.

The design is drawn up onto plastic – this year the Head Chris Sainsbury chose ‘British Values’. Once the design is on the plastic it is placed over the boards and using cocktail sticks the design is ‘pricked out’. Then coffee beans are used to make the boarders of the images.

The pedalling process starts mid-week to keep the petals fresher for longer. The petals all have to face a certain way so that the rain can fall down the design. Many other natural items were used to make the design, but no artificial products can be used.

We are very grateful for all of the help of the Etwall Well-dressing committee and the community who really stepped up to help us in our first year.

Thanks you to those students, staff and parents who came to help and support. They were;


Abigail Thompson

Rosie Hendriksen

Ava O’Brien

Eloise Lloyd

Katie Cox

Ava Martin

Mrs M Walker-Ensor

Mrs J Helliwell

Mrs A Smith

Mrs H Dickerson

Mrs Y Davies

Mrs T Bradbury

Mrs S Orchard

Mrs E Murphy

Mrs L Martin

Dorothy Asquith

Tom Kniveton

Keith Cheetham

Debbie Hendriksen

Laura O’Brien

Sam Barker

Lynda Conlin

Esther O’Brien

Asher Martin


Thank you to Mr Sainsbury who also made time in his schedule to come and help ‘Coffee bean’.


We are very excited for our second attempt now.


Miss Guest