I ran a workshop at the South East Essex Embroiderers’ Guild called ‘Altered books: threads of thought‘. I love stitching on paper and wanted to share the idea of stitching in an altered book with the embroiderers. Not everyone in the group was comfortable with the idea of tearing pages out of a book – but most were willing to give it a try.
For me, the benefit of using an old book is to give something unloved a new lease of life rather than thinking you are ‘ruining’ it. Also, by using a page that already has content already on it, either images or text, can be a useful prompt and helps to remove the fear of the blank page.
I gave the group a couple of themes to play with: the first was an embroidered colouring book idea and the second was to embroider a spirograph. Each person took the idea and developed it in their own way, using collage, stitch, maps and even mirrors.
For this year’s art trail SEVEN has chosen an estuarine theme.
Definition: 1.formed or deposited in an estuary: estuarine muds 2. growing in, inhabiting, or found in an estuary: estuarine fauna
Throughout the year, SEVEN met every two weeks where a member of the group would run a workshop of their choice. In the following weeks each artist would incorporate these ideas into their own sketchbook. During the following weeks it was interesting to see how each artist interpreted and developed the original brief into their own style.
We each used an A5 concertina style sketchbook, and as with the estuary, the pages all flow into one another – there is no need to ‘turn the page’.
As part of the art trail, each artist donates a piece of their artwork for the Secret Auction. Visitors to the art trail place bids on the work and if they are the highest bidder they win an original piece or art (or an experience). All monies go back in to supporting the art trail, which is a not-for-profit organisation.
Leigh Art Trail is on from Saturday 9 to Saturday 16 June 2018. SEVEN are exhibiting at Venue 49 at Planet Leasing.
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.