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Hyde Art Project ‘I Love Where I Live’

I have been commissioned by Jones Lang LaSalle to work with local schools in Hyde and create some artwork for the Clarendon Square Shopping Centre.  The theme of the project is ‘I Love Where I Live’ and is going to be a long frieze made up of lots of drawings, prints, photos and paintings of buildings in Hyde.

Last week I began the creative workshops with an initial session at Flowery Field Primary School.  I worked with a lovely group of Year 6 students who created some drawings of their own houses and then did some monoprinting of some favourite things in their lives.  We got so carried away with the monoprinting that we didn’t have time for the last part of the workshop which was to work in groups to create a large scale collage of a high street.  I’ve arranged to go back for another session to finish off the work.

In the meantime, I’m starting to put together some of the fantastic drawings produced at the session…

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Photos from car parks

Last month, I mentioned that I’d been asked to remove myself from a car park’s top floor, after taking pictures of the (amazing) views for my urban sketching and screen printing.  Consequently, I put in a request to a certain car park company to be given permission to take pictures from Manchester’s numerous car park roofs.

That permission has been refused due to a number of reasons, which were:
A. There’s too many people asking to take pictures from car park roofs
B. Its a car park, not a photography opportunity
C. You don’t want to pay for the privilege (We’d let you if you had a big budget, a load of cameras, crew, cast and an important company name).

Grrrrrrrrrr. Watch this space.  Who thought taking pictures from the roof of a car park could be so anti-establishment?!  I’m going to try just standing and looking and see what they say then!  I also think that all the people who want to take pictures from car park roofs should get together and mass storm Manchester’s car parks in a flash mob /critical mass style gathering.

Anyway, here’s a picture to be going on with…
US-car-park

Commission for Royal Brompton Hospital, London

Whoop whoop – I’ve been selected to create some mosaic artwork for the courtyard at the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea.  The courtyard has just had all its plants and greenery removed due to a weight and water issue and they now need replacing with some colourful mosaics.  During June I’ll be working with patients, visitors, parents, staff and anyone else who wants to get stuck in to make something lovely and mosaicy.Royal Brompton Hospital Mosaic Commission

Colshaw – The Return

Colshaw-artwork

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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Work on the Hideaway Garden starts

It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally got planning permission to turn a small parcel of land into a community garden in Farnworth, Bolton.

Initial clearing and digging of pathways was done by a group of fabulous Prince’s Trust lads.  We then got Ambec Fencing to come along and install a new fence along the front and back borders of the property.  The right hand-side faces onto a cricket club and on the left is Bolton at Home residential housing.

The project has been funded by Symphony Housing and is going to create a garden filled with lots of things including a playhouse, raised beds for growing vegetables, composting area, sitting areas, flower beds and fruit trees.  However there’s lots of digging and landscaping to be done first made much harder by the fact that a rubbish tip and half a housing estate seems to be buried under the ground!  Digging goes something like this… put your spade in an inch, hit something, dig around the two bricks you’ve struck, remove them, try putting your spade in again, hit something different this time, discover a black bin bag of rubbish, dig it out, try again and hey presto – you finally get to something resembling soil!

We’ll also be creating some art with local communities to put in the garden – this is likely to include mosaics and withy sculptures.  Alongside this, we’ll be creating a film about the process which will include some timelapse. some animation and also some interviews with our willing volunteers and other local people.

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.

Mosaic lettering – timelapse

I should have posted this ages ago but have only just worked out how to embed video in to my blog!

This shows the first stage of making the outdoor classroom mosaic floor.  The method being used to create the mosaic is the double-indirect method, whereby the tiles are stuck onto brown paper and then reversed ready for installation.  The fill-in and background colours are added once the detail has been reversed.  To give you an idea of how long the mosaics took to create, the word ‘Merryweather Damson’ which is being created in this time-lapse took about 1 day to complete…

Hyde Park Community Orchard Artwork – installation

Just before the build fortnight on the RHS Tatton show garden, I had 10 days in the rain (plus one dry day) installing artwork in the Hyde Park Community Orchard.  Not ideal weather for installing a mosaic which is mounted on paper but we soldiered on and (almost) got everything finished.

First job was a dry fit of the classroom floor mosaic to check it all fitted together onto the 3m concrete base.  The mosaic was separated into 27 sections, so it took a bit of work to make sure it all went together as it should.

Hyde Park Community Orchard artwork installLaying out the mosaic and cast stone ‘apple pip’ inserts for the Wildlife Discovery Trail sculptures…

Hyde Park Community Orchard artwork installationThen the rain started…

Hyde Park Community Orchard artwork installationWe got the mosaic wording in on a dry Sunday with the help of Des…

Hyde Park Community Orchard artwork installationBut at one point we had two gazebos and three tarpaulins over the mosaic and they still weren’t enough to keep the rain out.

Hyde Park Community Orchard artwork installationRichard Dawson was also installing his oak benches and banquet table at the same time.  These were the holes for the foundations of the banquet table to sit in.  There’s about a foot of water in them here… another couple of hours and they were full.

Hyde Park Community Orchard artwork installationStill smiling… or is that grimacing?

Next Hyde Park Community Orchard post – the finished artwork!

Hyde Orchard Creative Sessions – Day One

We did our first creative workshops to generate ideas and work for the Hyde Park Community Orchard artwork this week.  Our first victims were 30 Year Ones from Godley Primary School, who enjoyed working out the seating arrangements for the outdoor classroom before playing a game of Fruit Salad in the Orchard.  We then took the group inside Bayley Hall and used The Park Cafe for lots of art activities including mono printing, still life fruit drawing and making bird mosaics out of fruit.

In the afternoon a smaller group from Hyde Technology School attended to do some similar sessions, using local birds including Jays, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Wood Pigeons as inspiration for their artwork.  Both groups created lots of brilliant work, some of which you can see below.