Today….. we’re a group of artists who spend a lot of time thinking about how people like to engage with the arts. Between us we have an array of visual art and theatre skills and we like to mix these up to offer unique and innovative arts workshops and encounters.
Tomorrow we might be something slightly different so keep checking…
This is a rather retrospective post as we’ve had a summer holiday offline.
In July the Bury Wolf Trail opened with twenty six wolves to discover in locations around the town centre. Five of the wolves were made by Rojo artists and we’ve added some photos below. Most of these photos were taken from Twitter as we’ve really enjoyed following the images of public interaction with the wolves and reading the numerous blog posts about the trail.
We’re working with two very enjoyable ideas this term, drawing and food. Maybe we’ll finish up drawing with food or making edible drawings-who knows?
This week I brought along some fish fresh from the fish counter and was really impressed how the children’s curiosity took over very quickly. We worked on careful observation using blind contour drawing with handwriting pens. We then repeated the exercise allowing ourselves to glance at the paper.
Next we thought about how our drawings could be more interesting. We made cards with different marks on then looked at where we could use these mark making techniques on our fish drawings.
Finally we looked at what would happen if we used a wash over the handwriting pens. Everybody spent the rest of the session experimenting with line, wash and colour resulting in some beautiful and delicate drawings.
Weatheringsett School invited us to work with the children for a day to create a new altar cloth for their school assemblies. We agreed on felt making as a process that all ages of children could be involved in with the artists finishing the artwork using an applique technique.
The children made felt artwork using colours and themes from the four seasons to create a cohesive overall design. Its been a while since we made felt with younger children and it was great to see them enthralled by the magical transformation of the materials.
A speedy art activity for under fives between performances of The Big Red Bath at the Theatre Royal. We brought along a multitude of red materials and a vast quantity of red dough and invited the children to create a small red creature that might live in the big red bath. Bubble wrap was a great substitute for bath water and someone even added shower fittings to their creation.
We really enjoyed running this activity which felt process driven, visually appealing and really easy for the children to engage in, with or without their parents.
This gallery contains 12 photos.
A selection of images from the garden installation day. Our reflection on this project to follow.
Abbotts Hall mosaic was finally unveiled at the official opening of the new reception lodge. We’ve been really impressed by the way the school has involved the children and staff in the long building process.
At the opening ceremony we were delighted to find the mosaic featured on children’s models for the lodge.
And as a special extra touch the children noticed blue tits nesting in the built in bird box in the lodge building. I feel we might have to update the mosaic as the school family expands.
As if we haven’t spent enough time making mosaics this spring I’d also decided to use this technique as a colour exploration exercise at art club. In a previous post I talked about how we explored contrast. The second session was very much about learning technique and the children used their colour contrast initials as mosaic designs. The results were quite regimented but I felt we all learnt a lot. For the last session I brought along some slates, mosaic tiles and found objects, talked about what we’d learnt last week then gave the children free rein to experiment.
They created some beautiful and fascinating art which would be impossible to finish with grouting. I have a lot of questions about mosaic: about where it stands in the art v craft debate and why it’s still such a popular medium for public art. By the end of this summer I should be able to answer a few of them.
Abbotts Hall appears to be out of chronological order now but we couldn’t miss out on sharing the children’s design work for the mosaic. It was really obvious that the children had been drawing from life as the chickens, guinea pigs and birds were carefully observed drawings of those living in the playground. Even the racing pigeon recently rescued was included in the school family. We had the difficult task of choosing a few drawings to work with and the children took the decisions over colours and how to lay the tiles. These are mosaics created in reverse method still in their upside down state on brown paper ready to be glued to the outside wall.
Last September we learnt that Goldsmiths University would no longer be running our MA programme in Participatory Arts. As a group we agreed that we’d like to create a legacy for the course and also open up the debate about the nature of participatory artistic practice.
Last week we staged our event: a Dadaesque mock trial that accused artists, institutions, funders, critics and academia of delivering a version of participatory arts that is little more than an illusion.
Rather than describe the event in detail I’ve attached some links to key witness statements and reviews of the day. Please remember that this was an event that blurred the boundaries between life and art and approached serious debate in a playful way. Some witnesses were obliged to commit acts of treachery while giving evidence!
Review from Stephen Pritchard-Colouring in Culture
Stephen Pritchard’s statement for the Prosecution
David Slater’s (Entelechy Arts)-statement for the Prosecution
David Jubb’s (Battersea Arts Centre) -statement for the Defence
David Slater (Entelechy Arts) reaction to David Jubb’s speech
Follow Participatory Arts Lab on WordPress and @artsontrial on Twitter to keep up to date with the debate
Abbots Hall School asked us for a large mosaic artwork to be sited on the wall of a new lodge for Reception children. They are about to welcome Year 6’s into the school and wanted an artwork that celebrated the school family including guinea pigs, rescued racing pigeon, chickens and the neighbouring windmill. We worked with the children for three days enabling them to create the huge windmill and the detailed glass mosaics. This week we’ve started the installation process with a huge audience of spectators at break times. Grand opening is May 22nd so we’ll have more project photos by then.