Chris Ofili tapestry: The Caged Bird’s Song

I visited the National Gallery in London this week to see the tapestry triptych designed by Chris Ofili, called ‘Caged Bird’s Song’. Wow! I had watched the documentary on the BBC about the background to the tapestry commission and how it had been made and I still couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The ability to produce a tapestry that captured the effect of a watercolour painting was amazing to see.

Looking close-up at the caged bird, the effect was stunning; the varying hues and blends of colour created a real illusion of light and movement.

Woven at Dovecote Tapestry Studio, Edinburgh, a team of 10 weavers had spent two and a half years hand-weaving the tapestry. On display at the National Gallery in London from April to August it will be on permanent display at Clothworkers’ Hall.

SEVEN at the Next Generation Schools’ Day

Arriving early Friday morning SEVEN set up our creative space in anticipation of the 4000+ school children who were expected to attend the Next Generation schools’ day at Chalkwell Park. The event is held each year, the day before the Village Green festival organised by Metal Southend and invites local school children to get involved in the arts – from drawing and painting to singing and performing on one of the festival stages.

We were offering drop-in sessions for the children and we invited them to either spend time: free-doodling on a continuous roll of paper; creating mandalas from magazines; or creating gift tag art.

It was a very busy morning with a constant flow of groups of children (and teachers) getting stuck in and enjoying their creative freedom.

‘Bling’ was a very common theme among the youngsters, who sought out any form of shiny jewels…

And by the end of the day our continuous roll of paper had been filled with some inspiring creative doodles…

During one of our workshops a teacher commented on how surprised she was to see one pupil sitting still for 20 minutes, whereas she would normally be very disruptive in the classroom. The slow, meditative process of creating something by hand can give the feeling of being ‘lost in the moment’, which in a time when we are surrounded by information 24/7 can be a welcome break.

It was very clear to see the value of creativity on the day and how much the children enjoyed it. At a time when the number of creative subjects being taught in schools has been systematically cut, the work that Metal does in the local community is essential.

Leigh Art Trail 2017

The time has arrived and the Leigh Art Trail 2017 has begun! Now in its 20th year, the Art Trail is on from 10-17 June with over 70 artists exhibiting in over 50 venues around Leigh on Sea.

SEVEN, a creative journal collective, are exhibiting at Planet Leasing, Leigh Road, and day one has been a real success with over 60 visitors.

The display includes one sketchbook from each artist and there is a blank sketchbook for visitors to add their own contribution. SEVEN have been developing the sketchbooks for four months in the run up to the Art Trail and its a real inspiration to see the final result.

SEVEN have been meeting on a bi-weekly basis and each artist has run a workshop which focused on one of their favourite processes including blind drawings, one-minute sketches, assemblage, maps, abstract and threads of thought. Each artist then developed their own work and shared their developments on Instagram.

You can download the workshops from the SEVEN website and if you would like to follow the developments of SEVEN go to instagram/sevenartistsuk.

Read more about the Leigh Art Trail and discover the work of some amazing artists.