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I’m back!

RBH mosaics - detail

I’ve been ridiculously busy for the past six weeks working on my mosaic commission for the Royal Brompton Hospital in London.  The project started six months ago when I worked with lots of patients, staff, parents and visitors to create leaf shaped mosaics that would eventually become part of a larger piece for permanent display in the courtyard at the hospital.

RBH mosaics - main wall

After a fairly wet and chilly weekend, all the mosaics were installed on the walls and looking fantastic.  We celebrated on Monday with an opening event which some of the original participants came to.  We had great fun trying to find their individual mosaics from the hundred or so that were included in the final artwork.

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Each ‘leaf’ shape within the mosaic artwork was made by a participant in the hospital workshops.  Once I had gathered all the participants’ artwork, I spent a few days arranging and rearranging the mosaics to get all the colours and individual layouts to work.  These were then transferred to larger templates and I mosaiced around the leaves to fill in the background colours.  These were chosen to compliment the participants’ mosaics but also to bring some much needed greenery to the hospital courtyard.

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I also kept the in-fill mosaics to a fairly simple design, with most mosaics cut in a Byzantine tile form (20mm x 10mm) and laid in a primarily Opus Classicum layout.  Opus Classicum is a combination of Opus Tessellatum and Opus Vermiculatum whereby the tiles are primarily laid in a brickwork pattern with any ‘objects’ within the background surrounded by tiles following its form.  This allowed the mosaic pieces to really highlight the participants’ work whilst creating a simpler background to also set them off.

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It’s all about the RSPB this week…

Last weekend we had a lovely arts event at Dove Stone Reservoir, organised in collaboration with the RSPB.  Alongside specially composed music (played by Saddleworth School Brass Band and Greenfield Brass Band), there were lots of things going on, including dance, visual arts, poetry, wildflower planting and leaf printing.

Richard Dawson created some gallery style plinths that showcased artworks responding to the amazing landscape and environment at Dove Stone Reservoir.  These included a piece of gritstone, some water, a section of peat, acorns, a bumble bee and some honey bees.

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He also installed some tree drawing machines, whereby drawings are created by the movement of the tree’s branches in the wind.

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(For more of Richard’s work, have a look here)

Alongside facilitating a drop-in leaf printing workshop, I created some large-scale withy honey bees which were displayed in the wildflower meadow overlooking the reservoir.

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Royal Brompton Hospital – mosaic commission

RBH-wshop-05Having completed two sets of workshops at the Royal Brompton Hospital in June, I trotted off to London this week to pick up the final completed mosaics and to present the final designs to rb&h Arts.

For the workshops, I spent two days working with patients, visitors, staff and passers-by to develop designs and ideas for the final artwork and then two days making mosaics, using a leaf shape as a basic template.  During the workshops we made over 70 mosaic leaves which will all be incorporated into the final artwork.

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I also created 50 mosaic ‘packs’ for people to take away and use or for people that couldn’t make it down to the workshops.  These consisted of a bag of mosaics, a leaf template on brown paper,  a pot of PVA, a glue brush and a set of mosaic instructions.  The packs proved really popular and they were all used which was fantastic!

I’ve created a design based on the same leaf template but at a much larger scale.  Each ‘leaf’ incorporates the mosaics created during the workshops and these leaves will be displayed around the courtyard.  I’ve used every single one of the mosaics made which at the last count was 93 individual pieces.

Next job – reverse the mosaics made during the workshops as these were made using the double indirect method.  I’ll use the indirect method to make the larger pieces.

I also delivered some of my leaf prints to the hospital as they are being used for a small exhibition in the foyer there alongside promoting the mosaic project.

 

Images © rb&hArts at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust


Mosaic Fish for RHS Tatton

The other artwork to be included in New Charter’s RHS show garden will be 45 mosaic fish, all swimming amongst the flowers and plants that represent the sea.  Each double-sided mosaic fish is mounted on a steel rod and they will be displayed individually and in shoals.  The fish were all made by young people from the New Charter Dreamscheme group and they look absolutely fantastic.  Here’s one I made as an example being ‘roadtested’ in my garden.

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And here’s the young people’s fish, grouted and ready to have their steel rod attached.  There’s a big complicated table which lists whose fish is whose – everyone that made a mosaic will get it back once Tatton has finished.

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Puppet Mania

Here’s a sneak preview of some of the puppets created by New Charter’s Dreamscheme and myself for their ‘Punch & Judy’ performances at the RHS Tatton Flower Show this year.  The show garden’s theme is ‘Beside the Seaside’ and the group have written their own versions of Punch and Judy that are relevant to their New Charter estates…

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Hyde Indoor Market artwork unveiled!

Following six months of consultations, workshops, meetings, fabrication and lots of sanding, the Hyde Indoor Market artwork was unveiled on Saturday 6th April.  As I’ve mentioned previously, the artwork consists of 3D letters which spell out the words ‘Hyde Indoor Market’, with each letter representing something different sold within the market.

In terms of fabrication the letters presented a variety of challenges as they all required different processes to complete them – these included mosaics, mould-making and casting, decoupage, illustration, knitting and painting to name but a few.  Detailed images of each letter can be seen here on the Woodend Artists flickr page but I’ve included a select few below.

Letter-O Letter-K Letter-E Letter-D

Printout at The Point, Doncaster

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My monoprints are currently part of an exhibition called ‘Printout’ at The Point in Doncaster.  Alongside three other artists, the exhibition looks more closely at some of the different print processes and how you get from the initial idea to the finished piece.  Other types of printmaking included in the exhibition are linocuts, collagraphs and etching.  The linocuts by Graham Firth are a particular favourite – the detail in them is amazing.

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In the exhibition I included the glass I use for inking on (you can see it on the extreme left of the above image).  It is a very messy and ‘covered in ink’ piece of glass but beautiful in it’s own right.  I now use the clean side to ink on but have the pattern from previous leaves showing through as I work.

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As part of the exhibition, I have done a couple of workshops at the Gallery – one with a group of adults and one Saturday drop-in workshop with children and their parents, where we created a big leafy tree as part of the exhibition.  Here’s a close-up of some of the prints the children made.

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Colshaw – The Return

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Following on from last year’s art project in Colshaw, myself and fellow artist Richard Dawson were asked by Cheshire East Council and Lime Art to return to the estate to run another project with the same group.  Last year’s project focused on creating artwork for part of a concrete wall on the edge of the park.  As the wall is (very) long and fairly unattractive, we decided it would be good to continue with this theme and create more artwork for the same wall.

Despite numerous and repeated predictions that the original artwork would get vandalised, only one part got burnt (a letter ‘S’ that was wrapped in varnished string) which was quite an achievement.  As part of the second project, we were also asked to replace this ‘S’.

We worked for several evenings with the group of young people to come up with ideas and concepts for what the artwork could be.  Then, during the October half-term we worked for three days to produce the work, which involved creating designs, large-scale drawing, using the fret saw to cut the shapes, sanding, painting and adding final detailing.  Each group member produced a large scale ‘character’ that they drew, cut out of plywood and painted.  We then took them away to varnish (the horrible, toxic, smelly bit) and brought them back to install on a freezing cold Saturday with the help of Steve from local housing association, Riverside.

As ever it was a pleasure to work with this group of young people from Colshaw.  Their energy, enthusiasm and interest in the project made it an incredibly satisfying and rewarding project to work on.  Yes, the group require a fair amount of discipline and control and it is hard work but the kids from this estate are some of the best I have ever worked with and I would choose to work with them again in an instant.

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Waste Creative – an award-winning success!

Waste Creative Information Booklet

Waste Creative, the recycling project run by Woodend Artists and funded by Recycle for Greater Manchester has come to the end of it’s first phase. The project consisted of a series of workshops based around using rubbish creatively and culminated in the production of an information pack and DVD about recycling.  The project also included a visit to the Materials Recovery Facility in Manchester, composting workshops and choosing some local recycling champions.

The project was launched at New Charter’s head offices in Ashton-under-Lyne where we had an exhibition of all  the artwork created, gave out the completed packs and had a film premiere with the animations the group created.  All the groups and their parents were invited to the launch along with the press and the funders.

A week later the project won the ‘Love where you live’ award from national organisation and environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.

Below are some images of the artwork created during the project…

Plastic Bottle Recycled Pig

Plastic Bottle Recycled Art Shark

Waste Creative Information Booklet 2

Have a look at the animations the kids created here…

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/53216286″>Waste Creative The Movie</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user14369968″>Woodend Artists</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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Waste Creative starts

Woodend Artists have started the Waste Creative project with a series of workshops making  animal sculptures from recyclable materials.  Working with three different groups of young people from the New Charter estates in Mossley, artist Richard Dawson and myself, Jacqui Symons used milk bottles, plastic pop bottles and cardboard to create group sculptures of a wolf, a giraffe and an elephant and smaller individual sculptures.

The next part of the project is a visit to the Recycling Centre in Sharston, Manchester and then we’ll start to create an information booklet that will be for New Charter residents and will include information about recycling and what can and can’t be recycled.