Today we’re a group of artists who’d like to see way more opportunities for people to participate in 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…
Painting garden art with St Peter’s House residents
This was our last workshop session with the residents of St Peter’s House. In earlier sessions it had been decided to create a painted garden panel to give the garden some depth. Liz had drawn this up with ideas from the residents last week and today they loved watching her painting in the flowers. Some people painted leaves to enliven the railway sleeper at the front of the garden.
Afterwards Bury in Bloom visited to plan the planting around the artwork. We’re hoping for some lush shade loving plants.
This week the children used their printed bark textures from last week and combined them with collected oil pastel rubbed textures to create collaged landscapes. As they collected the textures the children soon realised that they would work well to represent the bare early spring landscape around their school.
Mosaics with St Peter’s House residents
Mosaics with St Peter’s House residents
After so many people enjoyed the mosaic session we decided to use this medium again. This time we gave each participant a large tile as a base and a plate of different textures and colours of mosaic tiles to work with. Most people immediately started arranging the tiles into very precise patterns and asked for colours as they needed them. One lady experimented further by stacking tiles on top of each other to create a relief pattern.
We were very pleased to have some gentlemen join us today and one of them very carefully cut tiles for us.
Liz started drawing up the panel for the back fence and attracted a few spectators enjoying watching the process. This session felt lively and stimulating and everyone enjoyed a visit from Bury Free Press, EADT and Bury in Bloom.
I’ve been trying to let the children lead my session planning more this term. Last week we enjoyed working with natural objects so this week I brought in some of the amazing lichen I’ve been finding in the forest this month. As they’d enjoyed working with colour last week I decided to introduce water colours this week. Some of the children used a mixed media approach combining the paint with charcoal and oil pastel.
Week 4 in St Peter’s and this week we wanted to explore painting with the residents. We also tried out a new location this week, overlooking the site where the art garden will be installed. The painting was kept simple using brushes and sponges to make decorative marks on bird boxes and pebbles for the garden. We were pleased that some of the participants took decisions on how to paint the bird boxes and enjoyed creating pattern, Other people enjoyed finding colours to represent the flowers on the table or the pattern in their clothes.
Painting for art garden with St Peter’s House residents
This week we took along mosaic tiles in a range of colours that the participants had said that they liked most in the garden. We gave each person a plate of mixed colours and surface textures and spent a while just chatting about how they looked and felt and how we might use then to make art.
Because the glue for outdoor mosaic work is not particularly kind to the skin we suggested that people could just lay out the tiles without fixing then we would photograph them to replicate with stronger materials. They laid out the tiles following the lines of cardboard templates based on the shapes they had cut last week.
The materials and process seemed very accessible and most people were very keen to handle the tiles and take creative decisions over the layout. Other participants enjoyed looking at finished mosaics we brought along and joining in the conversation about the garden plans.
It was our first art club after half term with quite a few new faces. I decided to start with some drawing to loosen up and took in some spectacular frilled tulips from the market.
We started with some blind contour drawing to slowly look at the shapes of the flowers then tried some looser drawing with charcoal. As the main activity each child worked on a piece of paper as long as themselves and created huge oil pastel drawings of their flowers. This involved quite a lot of logistical planning for them as they had to work out how to draw right to the top of the paper.
I was impressed how the children returned to their drawings to add extra colour details in the flower heads noting where the colours changed and blended.
This week we encouraged the group to think about shapes of flowers. These would be used to inform the cut shapes for mosaics and metal flowers for the outdoor garden. Initially we let people handle the fresh flowers for inspiration but it was interesting that we soon found ideas closer to home such as the poppies on one lady’s tapestry and the woven flower design in the curtains. We all enjoyed seeing these aerial views of the flowers taken on my phone so next week we’ll be taking along the ipad so that people can see their artwork without having to stand up.
For the next six weeks we are making art with the residents of St Peter’s House most of whom have moderate to late stage dementia. This work is funded by the Arts Council and David Nettleton’s Suffolk County Councillor locality budget.
We are aiming to create an art garden with added gardening support from the Bury in Bloom Senior Green Fingers initiative. Along the way we hope to explore the artistic process in a really open-ended way so we can personalise the experience for each individual we’re working with. This is also a learning experience for us as artists and at St Peter’s we have had excellent guidance from occupational therapist, Gill Bosely.
This week we wanted to introduce ourselves and the idea of creating a garden and to find out what the residents enjoy about gardens. We brought along a range of garden resources concentrating on actual objects that could be handled rather than images.
It seemed that people were as interested in garden wildlife as plants and there were a few stories told about garden visitors. We encouraged people to choose something from the table that was interesting to them and to use the materials on the table try out some drawing or collaging in response to that item. As demonstrated by the images below many people were fascinated by the gerbera flower and enjoyed close looking and discussion of the shapes, colours and textures. One lady was absorbed by the bright yellow reverse side of the orange petals.
We found drawing alongside, helping people to start making marks and using an object as a template or for rubbing texture were successful ways to engage with the activity.