This year I’m working with New Charter on their show garden entry for the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park. New Charter works with residents and young people from their ‘Dream Scheme’ groups to create a garden for the Flower Show – two years ago their entry won a bronze medal so the pressure is on!
I’m working with young people to create different pieces of exterior artwork for the garden including mosaics, withy sculptures and painted pebbles. For the past three weeks I have been working with a group to create bug mosaics to make paving slabs.
We started off doing some designs and drawings of bugs and insects and also practicing how to make mosaics. We’re using the double indirect method, so the group are sticking their designs onto brown paper ready for transfer. I have found this is by far the best method to use when working with young people as it removes the need to use potentially hazardous grout and cement adhesive. Have a look at the work in progress…
Way back in October, I commented on a project I had recently finished on the Colshaw Farm estate in Wilmslow, Cheshire. More on this now…
The Colshaw Art Project was a pilot 8 week project initiated by Cheshire East Council and Lime, the arts and health organisation based in Manchester. Working with three artists, the young people from the estate would create some kind of public art for a long concrete wall in the park or ‘ramps’ as it’s known locally.
Myself, Kim Wiltshire and Richard Dawson started with a basic idea of creating some kind of lettering, possibly 3D, possibly using recycled materials but with the knowledge that we weren’t allowed to do ‘graffiti’. We ended up working with a group of challenging but enthusiastic young people aging from seven to 16 years, predominantly girls but some older boys too. They needed a lot of encouragement and support, which led to us really having to structure the workshops and think about behaviour management, health and safety and the logistics of working with 12-15 young people in a restricted space.
We started the workshops with a run through of The Rules (which they had written) and included obvious things such as ‘No Shouting’ and less obvious things such as one group member not being allowed to bite people…
Every week we ensured we had a diversionary activity whereby group members could stop what they were doing and move onto a different activity if they felt a bit restless. This was facilitated by students doing a community arts course.
We ended up with a fantastic bit of art that was created by young people from the estate from start to finish. They chose the word ‘Colshaw!’, they designed the letters from the shape to the decoration, they constructed the 3D forms, used drills, painted each letter and helped prepare the wall. They achieved a huge amount and should be proud of the finished artwork.
Woodend Artists have been successful in gaining funding from Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) to deliver Waste Creative, a project aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge about recycling and promoting the value of waste as a resource in our local community. Working with young people and residents from New Charter Housing in Tameside, Woodend Artists will run a programme of creative workshops and art events which will include designing an information pack, making an animated film and creating junk art and sculpture.
Richard Dawson and myself are the lead artists on the project and we were delighted to be successful in gaining funding to run Waste Creative. I think it’s a great way of getting the local community and young people involved in recycling in a way that’s interesting and creative. The project also includes a communal composting scheme and an initiative which will see local residents elected as Recycling Champions.
Waste Creative will culminate in a big launch and art exhibition at New Charter in Ashton-under-Lyne.
In the meantime, here’s some sculpture created from secondhand and waste materials which were produced in workshops run by Richard Dawson. The workshops were part of the GiveGetGo! Volunteering and Wellbeing Campaign I project managed and designed for Manchester City Council last year. I’ll post more on GiveGetGo! as this month a bus stop poster campaign designed by me is about to be run in Manchester city centre.