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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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.
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.
Richard 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.
Next Hyde Park Community Orchard post – the finished artwork!
Myself and Richard Dawson worked with local kids to make this amazing sculpture to celebrate the Jubilee in Hyde Park, Manchester. We made it in one day and everything is made from recycled materials (except for cable ties, brown tape and plastic tags).
The milk cartons mostly came from The Flying Teapot Cafe at Woodend Mill and the bottles from New Charter Housing Association. A few of the group worked all day on the sculpture with others dropping in and out throughout the day.
Here’s the finished Queen after we had a mini-coronation…
It’s all go at Woodend Mill today with a large number of the artists getting ready for Manchester Day Parade, which is on Sunday 11th June in Manchester City Centre. I didn’t go last time but as a lot of my fellow Woodenders are working on something for the parade this year, I’ll probably go and have a look…
Salvage! the ‘junk sculpture project’ will be there parading their amazing kinetic fish and bird sculptures built from scrap and salvaged materials by young people in Failsworth. Last seen at the Illuminate event, both sculptures need bikes to power them but they were static last time – I’m interested to see how they will be moved along during the parade. See my fellow blogger CatalystJunkSculpture for some background and great photos of the project.
For more info about the Manchester Day Parade click here. It starts at 2pm this Sunday and follows a route along Deansgate and then back along Cross Street and Peter Street via Albert Square.
Last year myself and two other artists (Ann Gilligan and Richard Dawson) were successful in gaining a commission to create artwork (pending funding) for the Hyde Park Community Orchard in Hyde, Greater Manchester. Just before Christmas we found out the Community Spaces funding bid had been successful and we have now started the project.
The artwork will include an outdoor classroom, a wildlife trail and an entrance feature all informed by work produced in sessions with local schools and community groups. The final pieces will feature a number of different techniques and materials including wood, cast-stone and mosaics.
There are lots of other things happening in the Orchard so keep an eye on the Operation Farm blog for more details. I’ll also be posting about the ‘art’ side of things regularly!
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.