Because we like a challenge we then moved the Island to The Brewhouse Arts Centre for the evening event and gig. It was a great opportunity to test our set up, including our new light up coconuts, in another environment, so we installed the main Palm Tree outside The Brewhouse that night and had the rest of the trees inside. Various people commented on how good it looked and that ‘that’s what The Brewhouse needs to draw attention to the entrance of the venue’. It really did work well and the light up coconuts really came into there own by the entrance.
The circle of lanterns that we created were made up of 8 sun lanterns, representing the the sun’s rebirth and and the seven sabbats in the pagan calendar, with the circle showing the cyclical nature of the year and of life. In addition the reception groups created 4 lanterns representing The Holly King, Oak King (sometimes represented my mistletoe at the winter solstice) and The Ivy Goddess. Whilst the meaning may have been lost on the children, I still wanted to make them representative of the festival and researched further in to what the winter solstice means to those who celebrate it. http://adruidsviewpoint.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/yuletide-winter-solstice.htm
The end event, organised by Erewash Festival of Lights, looked wonderful, the museum gardens were beautifully lit up; this included work by other artists and community groups as well as our lanterns and finished with a shadow puppet display. The shadow puppet performance told the story of the Oak and Holly King so linking to some of our lanterns.
For more details on The Erewash Festival of Lights visit http://www.erewash.gov.uk/culture-leisure/arts-development/erewash-festival-of-light.html
The first week involved a fair bit of singing, just to make sure we knew the words to ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ and lots of making. I worked with 2 year 5 groups, each worked in groups to make the tree designs. The next week they all worked individually to create the 78 characters, ie. 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping …. Then as more children wanted to be involved with the parade, I came up with the crazy additional plan of masks, so that’s 60 masks, with glow sticks too!
After a hectic session in the studio I arrived with trees assembled and ready to be fitted; exhausted I did wonder why, but was greeted by some very excited children, all very impressed with the trees; that made it all worthwhile, it turned out to be a really special occasion, it was just lovely to see them proudly march along the streets of Long Eaton. A magical build up to Christmas, that is often lost on us adults.
Individual Flowers and Insects
Each student creates their own insect or flower, I’ve also done individual flags and bunting pieces based on different themes.
Aboriginal Inspired pieces with Hucknall Out of School Club
Each student created a practice circle and small aboriginal inspired animal for the banners which were then constructed back at my studio. The large animals and hand salamander were group pieces.
Costume Workshops with Nottinghamshire Royal Society for The Blind
Banners and Panels based on The Fair and Bonfire Night
Small groups of students work on each panel, they can then be put together in a long banner or just be left as individual panels.
Banners and Panels based on the Local Environment or School Topics
Small groups of students work on each panel, they can then be put together in a long banner or just be left as individual panels.
Jubilee Garden and A Right Royal Extravaganza at Rufford Craft Centre
Trees and Towersey Folk Festival with The Sculpture Village (2013)
Developing on from a tree I created for a fun day in Cannock and from a basic tree structure I’d made with students at Winshill Pupil Referal Unit I decided to create a tree and added my plastic plantation flowers to fit in with the theme of a ‘recycled garden’.
Workshops at Towersey
I had a wonderful time at Towersey festival delivering workshops (and a little partying) in the sunshine (mainly) with Sculpture Village. Lots of people dropped in to create with me making all sorts of recycled crafts; recycled plastic bag flowers, wovern birds, recycled fabric garlands and wire leaves for the tree. I also came away inspired by the workshops and happenings by the other village people; Anna Krystyna Casey- Multi Media Textiles, HeppoArt, Donna bramall sculpture and the fab Bee Ceilidh with caller Caleb
Waymarkers, Aberystwyth 2006
The aim of this project was to create artwork that would draw peoples attention to the Canolfen Day Centre and would inspire the service users and staff to develop their recycling program. This was part of a six week residency that explored all aspects of developing a piece of artwork and put the service users at the centre of the project, so it created a real sense of ownership of the piece. The panels were created using recycled plastics and polythene. Service users joined me throughout the 6 weeks in creating the designs for the panels. After encouraging everyone to vote on the theme for the panels, the result was completely tied between landscape and sea, which as it turns out, reflected Aberystwyth ‘s geography perfectly. The first week was spent joining different groups from the centre to understand them and their surroundings. I believe the experience of taking part and developing something together, is the most important part of a project like this, so it was important to me to get as many people involved as possible, therefore the project involved service users from the recycling, gardening and walking groups as well as art.
Sea Creature Wave, Aberystwyth 2006
The second part of the residency was to create a piece of work to be installed on the building. My original iea was to create an abstract wave , but to develop greater ownership of the piece it developed in to a medley of creatures from the sea and beyond. Many of the service users, despite living near the coast all their lives hadn’t actually experienced going out to sea so a group of us went on a fishing trip to find out what lived below the surface and what Aberystwyth would look like to a passing dolphin. Everyone created moulds inspired by the fishing trips, beachcombing visits, photo’s and books from which we developed our wave of sea creatures.
Plastic Plantations, Shildon 2007
This was one of three installations created as part of Shildon’s environmental project. St John’s Primary school wanted an outdoor piece and had a spot perfect for a flower installation. It was a great piece as it allowed me to explore my plastic plantation idea. Shildon has a strong railway history and so we used this element to create the forms for the flowers, creating a surreal mix of machine and nature. We looked at the details of trains creating drawings and relief forms using recycled card for the moulds. The children then went on to create the plastic for the flowers and put the flower pieces together adding extra recycled adornments such as bottle tops. We worked together on the installation and considered how plants and real flowers might grow around them, so that gradually over time the real plants would take over as the plastic fades. I’ve created various other plastic plantations since then. I like the idea of the installations also acting as an experiment to see what happens to plastic over time.
Plastic Panels, various 2006 onwards
I’ve worked with various schools and community projects to create plastic panels and installations. Often schools want me to work with the children on creating panels based on the local environment. We start with various consultancy sessions where the children are encouraged to respond through words and drawings to what they understand ‘environment’ to mean. In Shildon the children picked up on various aspects of their environment and different groups created panels based on these which were then installed as a relief installation in the school foyer. At Thomas Alleynes, Staffordshire we had a hectic 2 days creating a chandelier this involved six year 9 art groups working together to create the recycled plastic panels for the chandelier. Each student created 2 to 3 pieces using recycled plastic, based on colour, texture and pattern. For West Cornforth’s big art family day we created a palm tree; at Sunnydale Comprehensive we explored abstract and impressionist art, creating a relief light piece; Doncaster’s Young and Gifted group, this year, explored the ideas of Fon Banners and symbols.
Trashion with Gallery 37, Newark 2007, Oldham 2008, Eastwood 2010
We explored various core jewellery techniques, from wirework, beading, metal cutting , texturing, forming and soldering. We also explored using wire work to create shop displays and other wider applications. As recycling is my major interest we experimented with allsorts of materials and techniques. The students were encouraged to research a variety of jewellers and artists working in traditional and contemporary mediums. Understanding marketing, packaging and display was a core part of the project. The young people created their own branding developing logo’s, posters and a ‘look’ for the shop. After just 2 weeks the young people had created a shop and stock to go in it. They then took it in turns to manage the shop and create work for it.
Shopping Bags, Ansdell 2006
I was invited as one of 12 artists to create a piece of work to be installed in shops along Ansdell’s high street. Supporting our local high street is something that I believe strongly in and so wanted to create a piece that demonstrated this.The bags were created using actual fruit and veg comparing products and sales tactics from the greengrocer and the supermarkets. I wanted to create a piece that drew attention to our current shopping practises and created a variety of bags each with their own tag and title, these included ‘Around the World , ‘Fruit salad’, ‘Buy 2 get 1 free’, ‘Fair Trade bananas’ and ‘My Dad’s Spuds’. I also created a series of individual fruit bags to be installed with the fruit and veg products, creating bags for bananas, apples, even tiny chilly bags. They were intended to take packaging to a ridiculous extreme, I later discovered Lakeland had beaten me to it with banana bags! Apparently customers (and staff) of the shop took it upon themselves to keep changing the fruit in the bags and it created lots of discussions about carrier bags and waste long before the (very welcome) introduction of ‘bags for life’.
Paper Days, Nottingham Trent University 2009
Paper days was part fashion shoot, part participatory art project. We asked participants to create a paper item that reflected who they were which would then be used within a jewellery fashion shoot for bags2riches. Fashion shoots are normally so highly styled, by contrast I wanted our shoot to be as much about the models as the pieces of jewellery. Bags2riches appeals to people from all walks of life, it’s not targeted at any specific group and I wanted to promote this as a great and positive thing, so that it celebrated individuality.
Reform: An alternative shopping Experience, Harrington Mills Studios, Long Eaton 2009
With reform, we wanted to create an alternative shopping experience to the norm. The residency allowed myself and other invited ‘experts’ and ‘shoppers’ to create the shop environment and allow ‘shoppers’ to transform their own brought in items. Reform is an antidote to the consumerist and design led media, it is about the reuse of objects, sharing of skills and ideas, individual style and making the objects that surround us personal. Every participant created a recipe card which could then be stored and shared with other participants creating a data base of ideas, skills and so on. ‘Shoppers’ created a diverse range of products but what became most significant was the discussions based around reuse, waste, style etc.
Global Insects, Trimdon 2007
We used various wrapping, knotting and wire techniques to create a variety of flowers and insects. The pieces were put together to create a garden globe. The piece will act as a temporary colourful structure though over time will fade. Many of my ideas like this are based on the interaction between man and nature and so seeds were planted in the structure with the idea that eventually nature will take over
Connect to Senegal, Forest Town, Dakar 2010
The original idea for this was to develop and respond to a series of ’discovery boxes’ creating a journey through culture and creativity as part of a Creative Partnerships Connecting Classrooms project. This linked Holly primary Junior School, Mansfield with Martin Luther School, Dakar, Senegal. At the time I was working with different people in Senegal with the idea of developing Bags2riches there. Neither of these ideas quite worked out as planned but we did create some great pieces along the way. We created panels that showed Forest Town and Senegal, figures that explored dress, baobab tree forests and musical instruments inspired by The Kora.