On 14th March, Richard Dawson (Arbarus) and myself launched the Abirdabode Exhibition at Gallery Oldham. The exhibition celebrates eight months of hard work by various groups across Oldham to create art bird boxes* and showcases these bird boxes alongside the Art Bird Flock, which was created at public drop-in sessions over the last year. Almost 250 people attended the launch and was a great success – people seem to really love the art bird boxes and we got a lot of great comments and feedback.
All of the bird boxes created have been made to the BTO’s (British Trust for Ornithology) recommended guidelines and following the exhibition, will be installed around Oldham to become the Oldham Art Bird Box Trail.
The groups we worked with included the Dove Stone Youth Rangers, the Barrier Breakers, Grassroots Community Project and Age UK Oldham.
Dove Stone Youth Rangers (DSYR) are a group of young people from Oldham aged 11-19 years and meet every Sunday to plan and participate in activities focused on the environment and the outdoors. The Dove Stone Youth Rangers created their bird boxes from concept right through to finished product, drawing plans, making macquettes, using power tools and bandsaws to create the nest boxes. They also spent several (chilly) sessions in my workshop painting and decorating their bird boxes ready for the exhibition.
The Barrier Breakers are a group of young people supported by Oldham Integrated Youth Service and gives young people the opportunity to have fun with friends whist working on issues that affect children and young people with additional needs. The Barrier Breakers came up with their own ideas and themes then created their bird boxes from kits of parts, using power tools to construct their boxes and also cut out wooden detailing for individual designs.
The Grassroots Community Project is a community orchard and allotment and supports adults with additional needs and young people excluded from education. We worked with Grassroots to create the ‘Andy Abode, a large-scale bird box created from reclaimed and re-purposed materials. The group created the bird box from scratch, constructing the frame, creating the different claddings for each side and also building a sparrow hotel to be installed on the inside. Following the exhibition the ‘Andy Abode will return to Grassroots and will be used as a shed and storage for Andy, who works there.
We also worked with a group from Age UK Oldham to decorate some bird boxes. The group created a ‘terrace’ of boxes with each one representing a redbrick house, complete with windows, doors, chimneys and even a TV aerial. Though they didn’t make the exhibition launch, Age UK Oldham organised a special trip to Gallery Oldham so the artists could see their creations. We met them there to show them round and indulge in a spot of tea and cake at the Naked Bean Cafe.
All in all, a fantastic launch of the Abirdabode Exhibition, which runs from now until 2nd May 2015 at Gallery Oldham. If you’d like to know more about abirdabode have a look at the project website here. We are also asking for people to nominate locations for the bird boxes once the exhibition is completed. The location should ideally be in the Oldham Borough and be a ‘community’ space or organisation, a school, a public park, allotments or gardens for supported housing etc. Please email email@example.com for further information or to nominate a bird box location.
Here’s just a few of the bird boxes made during the project…
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!
It’s a while ago now but over the summer I worked with some brilliant schools to produce drawings, monoprints, collages and paintings all based on the buildings and landmarks of Hyde. Some of the artwork produced can be seen in a previous post here.
I had the humungous task of scanning all the artwork (which totaled over 300 pieces) and then creating a 20 metre long frieze from it all for permanent installation in Clarendon Square Shopping Centre. The final artwork was printed on a matte vinyl and installed by myself and Chris from Sign Solutions Plus. Being 20 metres long and on a corridor wall it was fairly hard to photograph but here are some images of the final artwork.
Richard Dawson of Arbarus and myself have finally got the Bromley Farm cast stone artwork installed! Consisting of three ‘totems’, the artwork was designed by young people from Bromley Farm in Congleton and features their artwork and cast hand shapes. The artwork spells out ‘Bromley Farm Community Centre’, with each letter created by taking a subject or item relevant to the area and incorporating this within it’s design. For example, the ‘B’ features a bear’s paw, which comes from a local story regarding a dancing bear.
The young people came up with the idea and created the original lettering in a series of creative workshops over the summer. Molds were then taken from their artwork to turn it into cast-stone panels to fit within the three pillars.
The installation of suspended origami I created for Pacific Place in Hong Kong has gone to a new home. The six-metre long fish made of 5000 small origami fish is going to be displayed permanently in a development in Beijing called Indigo.
Owned by Swire Properties, the same company that owns Pacific Place, Indigo is a similar mall to the one in Hong Kong, featuring shops, restaurants and leisure outlets alongside hotels, apartments and a large park.
I was a bit nervous about it being installed without me there to manage but they have done a magnificent job and it all looks as it should. Guess the hanging instructions must have made sense!
My 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.
Having 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.
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