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Abirdabode Art Bird Boxes

Age-UK-01

Myself and Arbarus (Richard Dawson) have been delivering the Abirdabode Project for the last eight months.  Funded by Oldham Arts Development, the project aims to bring art and nature together by building bird boxes using a variety of different creative techniques and skills.

We are currently working with a number of different groups in Oldham including the Dove Stone Youth Rangers, the Barrier Breakers, an Age UK older people’s group and the Grassroots Community Allotment Scheme in Failsworth.

We’re making lots of progress on the bird boxes which is good as deadlines are fast approaching – there’s an exhibition of them at Gallery Oldham in March and April.  The exhibition opens on Saturday 14th March and will have all the bird boxes made during the project on show.  Once the exhibition finishes, the bird boxes will be distributed to various communities, gardens, allotments and housing schemes around Oldham – get in touch if you’d like one for your community!

Most of these images are from Grassroots where we’ve been building a large-scale bird box for the exhibition!

One more thing… we’re doing a drop-in workshop at RSPB Dove Stone Reservoir on 22nd February.  This is to celebrate National Nest Box Week (14th – 21st February) and to kick off the RSPB’s Discovery Sundays for 2015.  We’ll be based at Ashway Gap (halfway round from the main car park) between 11am and 3pm – come and see us!

Hot Bed Press ’20’ Exhibition

SP-city-towerI’ve been lucky enough to be selected for the Hot Bed Press 20 Year anniversary exhibition.  Held at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, the exhibition features 20 artists selected from the printmaking studio’s members and runs from now until 16th September 2014.

Four of my screenprints were chosen to be part of the exhibition, including one that I’ve just completed.  In the same style as my previous urban sketch screenprints but much larger, it shows the view from the top of Shudehill Car Park (see my earlier rant about views from car parks here).  As I use paper stencils to get the background colours, printing this caused all sorts of problems due to the stencil warping and stretching over such a large area.  However, I didn’t want to use photo screens for all parts of the artwork as it creates a final image that’s too perfect for me.

I was really pleased with the final piece especially once framed by the lovely and helpful ‘In the Picture Framing‘, who have just opened up in Woodend Mill in Mossley, where I have my studio.

SP-View-Shudehill

Artists’ Proof Exhibition

screenprint jacqui symonsMy new series of screenprints are being exhibited at Bank Quay House in Warrington.  Part of a group show, the Complete Printmakers from Hot Bed Press will be exhibiting alongside the Wrexham Regional Print Centre.

The exhibition runs from 4th April – 26th May 2014 at Bank Quay House, Sankey Street, Warrington, WA1 1NN.  Go to their website for opening times and further details.

I’m back… again!

Origami fish - detail

I’ve just arrived back from installing an origami piece in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year. Hot on the tails of completing my London commission, I was asked to create an origami installation for Pacific Place, an upmarket shopping mall on Hong Kong island which houses the likes of Cartier, Bulgari, Tiffany & Co and Burberry.

The finished installation. The peach trees below the fish will eventually burst into flower.

The finished installation.
The peach trees below the fish will eventually burst into flower.

As the title of the installation was ‘Shoals of Prosperity’, it seemed ideal to create a large 3D fish made from thousands of small origami fish – 4876 in total.  The deadline was incredibly tight, so I waved goodbye to Christmas and set about folding and folding and folding (with the help of some willing assistants – thank you Amy, Kate and Martin!).

Making the origami fish

Making the origami fish

The tricky part of the commission was to create a realistic fish shape from lots of origami hanging from fishing wire.  And the fact that, due to its size, I wouldn’t be able to see the completed piece until it was installed in situ.  The overall size of the fish was six metres in length by three metres wide by four metres in height and was all hung from lines of fishing wire hung from acrylic rods.

Its finished!

Its finished!

Origami Fish - detail

Me pretending to be a film star with my entourage

Me pretending to be a film star with my entourage

Once installed I spent three days doing lots of media interviews for newspapers, magazines and TV – more on this later.  I can now say Happy Chinese New Year in both Mandarin and Cantonese!

Me pointing out Pacific Place from 'The Peak'

Pointing out Pacific Place from ‘The Peak’

The six metre Fantail fish made from almost 5000 origami fish
The six metre Fantail fish made from almost 5000 origami fish

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.

place-gritstone-plinth

place-water-plinth

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

RSPB-Richard-Dawson-setting-up-a-tree-drawing-machine

Place-tree-drawing

(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.

place-withy-honey-bees

place-withy-bees-detail

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.

RBH-wshop-01

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


Printout at The Point, Doncaster

printout-deutzia-rosea

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.

printout-gallery

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.

printout-glass-detail

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.

printout-workshop

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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Woodend Artists Winter Exhibition

Woodend Artists Winter Exhibition is a group show of work being exhibited at the Riverside Cafe in Uppermill from 30th November – 28th December.  The cafe is open from Wednesday to Sunday every week.

This is the poster I designed for the Exhibition, alongisde a flyer and e-flyer.

 

Day Out at the Beach

Just a quick one this week…some of the Woodend Artists went on a trip to Formby yesterday for a walk on the beach with the dogs (that’s Harvey, Meg, Lara and Sir Percival Fuzzington), a third or fourth look at Antony Gormley’s Another Place (in the dark as it turned out!) and the preview of  ‘The Imaginarium of The Bizarre and The Mysterious’ an exhibition by Woodend Artist member, Sue Platt.

Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’

Sue Platt’s website

Percival Fuzzington

Thanks to Pat Baker for the images!