Flickr Upload: Art Islands in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan... and more

Spending over a month in Japan this summer, we decided to go off the beaten track a little and visit the lesser-known large island of Shikoku. From Takamatsu we also took a mesmerising boat trip over to Naoshima, the celebrated art island with contemporary art galleries and art house trails which have all been interwoven into the fabric of sleepy fishing villages. Staying there for a few nights, rather than rushing through like most, allowed us to absorb the peace of the islands as we explored every pathway, nook and cranny!

As always, I have been documenting my travels in order to capture the atmosphere of landscapes, seascapes and village life, juxtaposed with quirky, site specific art pieces and the colours, textures, shadows and figures captured within. I have uploaded a small fraction of images out of the 2000+ taken, so please feel free to have a look by clicking at my Flickr site. Pictures from my recent trips to Japan can be found here and here. Enjoy!

 

Links:

Setouchi Art Festival: http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/

Benesse House, Naoshima: http://benesse-artsite.jp/en/

The Art House Project: http://benesse-artsite.jp/en/art/arthouse.html

 

 

 

Building a Light Atelier

Time is flying! I am still in Singapore developing daily collaborative art inquiry sessions in the pre-school each day.

As part of my daily - weekly schedule, I have been working with the school librarian, Rachel Zeng, to develop a light atelier space in the school. This space is designed to extend and support inquiries into the International Baccauleareate (IB) PYP transdisciplinary themes such as Who We Are, How the World Works, How We Express Ourselves. As both Rachel and I work alongside different classes to support their units of inquiry each day,  we are also continuing to develop and expand an immersive light space to extend children's learning as they explore the light space beyond their classroom. Here, the light atelier serves its purpose as a multi-functioning space, where children play sensorily, imaginatively and investigatively with light, reflection, refraction, colour-mixing, patterns, sound, role-play, construction. We are continuing to expand and document the project, so it's great to have a space that we can experiment with too!

Chalk and Children

I have placed a large chalkboard outside my atelier (in the shade) and everyday I find little scribbles and surprises from the children.

The chalkboard is a great place for the children to meet new friends as they hide here out of the hot Singapore sun. It's also a great surface for mark-making, exploring lines, colour, materials and movement. Some of the children work independently, giving form to an idea, memory or story. Others work together as they practise writing letters, their name, numbers or sums. I've heard quite a few stories being told and acted out as the marks grow. The children also like to talk about and draw the people who are important to them. Then they take delight in wiping everything out - smudging the chalk or washing and 'painting' the board with water.

Cleaning up with brushes and water is always an entertaining way to cool down and also wipe away any secrets!

News: an Atelierista (Artist-in Residence) in Singapore!

I will be taking time out of freelance work in the UK, due to a new project role working as an Atelierista (Artist-in-Residence) at EtonHouse International Research Pre-School, 718 Mountbatten Road, Singapore.

The role will hopefully extend from my previous experiences developing atelier learning environments in both local children's centres/ schools and galleries in the north of England over the past 11 years. I will also be familiarising myself with both the Inquire.Think.Learn curriculum framework and PYP International Baccalaureate programme, while at the same time using the Reggio Emilia approach as the inspiration, particularly within the context of the role of the atelierista and the environment as third teacher.

I will be embedded within the school, collaborating with each classroom team to provide meaningful and intentional creative learning experiences both in the atelier and also throughout different shared spaces within the school grounds! Unfortunately, I won't be able to blog about much of my atelier experiences here, but I will hopefully be negotiating a way to make the atelier learning experiences 'visible' elsewhere on the EtonHouse website.

For now, though, the pictures above provide a peek into my new workspace!

Resident Artist at Ellergreen, Norris Green, Liverpool

Over the past 6 weeks, I have been lucky enough to work as resident artist with children at Ellergreen Nursery School in Norris Green, Liverpool, taking over the Activity Room to create mini-Atelier sessions with groups of children. The project responded to the theme of the 'garden area' within the nursery conservatory - a space which extends the indoor classroom to the outdoors (or vice versa). The project aimed to provide an insight into different materials, processes and working with an artist - for both staff and children, build confidence in verbal and non-verbal expressive languages, develop social skills and a bond between children working in smaller groups, while at the same time allowing the children to relax and have fun, outside of the typical classroom environment.

Each week, the project focused on different processes and themes as children explored a range of materials. Children's responses to different materials were observed and their interests informed the following sessions as they adapted to the new work space and way of working. Time was provided for children to adapt to new materials and it became clear that there was a core group of children who would request to turn up to the art studio each week with an expectation of what was to come. The session also extended to the outdoor play area which allowed children to interact with clay in a different way.  The project was well-timed before children finished the school term - some to prepare to move up to big school. Hopefully, they will take some of these small insights and experiences with them. 

 

Mini Art Club Vogue Party: it's a wrap!

I will be taking time out from developing and running Mini Art Club for a while, along with other workshops at Manchester Art Gallery so, in celebration of all the fun, fab sessions I have run over the past eight years, I created a Vogue-inspired fashion party to say 'bye for now'!

Vogue 100: A Century of Style is on show until October 30th in the top floor touring exhibitions space and is a dazzling array of glossy, colourful fashion portraits from the Condé Nast archive. In response to the exhibition we were inspired by the sugar pop colours within some of the prints, as well as the textures and backdrops within some of the images. 

As usual, participants were invited to view the exhibition, with the help of some pop-specs and brightly coloured post-it notes which were used to create trails, patterns and even wearable accessories! They then worked their way down to the immersive party-space installation in the studio, which encouraged sensory and heuristic exploration of objects and materials, movement, mark-making, dressing up, dancing and posing.

Mini Art Club, you will be missed!

 

Pop-Up Picture Playground at the Hepworth Wakefield

It was the last of the Creative Playground workshops today at the Hepworth Wakefield as The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories - a photography exhibition by Martin Parr also finished.

In our fab Pop-Up Picture Playground space, families were invited to consider ways to construct an image through collage, image composition and pop-up paper folding techniques. To compliment this more focused, small-scale work, participants could also playfully position themselves in the picture as they explored an intriguing array of objects and materials of mass consumption, to use as props and costumes to turn themselves into Parr-inspired characters in our pop-up photobooth. The space was set up to accommodate a number of curious interactions as children danced, dressed up, told stories, set up scenarios to act out, posed for photos, took photos, dressed their parents up, or simply lay on furry fabrics to relax. It was great to see everybody getting fully immersed and involved!

Look for more creative pop-up pictures on Instagram using the following hashtags:

#hepworthwakefield #thehepworth #creativeplayground #popuppictures #hepworthlearning #popupphotobooth

 

 

 

Mini Art Club... news!

Immersive Installation at Mini Art Club Manchester: inspired by Modern Japanese Design

I've just delivered the last of a series of Mini Art Club sessions that have taken inspiration from the gorgeous Modern Japanese Design exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. Participants were invited to follow a trail up to the gallery and young children were drawn to colourful shapes and patterned household objects that were placed on to lightbox surfaces in the gallery, which helped them form connections with the fabrics, patterns and colours within the exhibition.

The immersive studio installation formed connections with the exhibition upstairs as well as the new Clore Art Studio developed by artists Sarah Marsh & Jess Wild, which responds to the fashion focus throughout the building. Inspired by the colours, textures, forms and fabrics upstairs, we created a large-scale sensory den space to crawl through, hide in, climb into and spin around in. Other intriguing objects and materials were also arranged in different corners of the room for children to discover and explore.

You can see the Mini Art Club photo album of the three sessions on MAG's flickr photostream. Also read volunteer Stephanie Mouillard's blogpost about Mini Art Club in Volunteer Voices on the MAG website.  Stephanie has also started her own wordpress blog here too! 

For July's Mini Art Club we'll be having a Mini Art Club party as it will be my last session in a while. After that I will be off and away to start some work in Singapore... watch this space!

Leftcoast: Catching Light at the Mount Pavilion

Colouring in a rainy day: close-up of a window installation by Michiko Fujii

I'll be returning to the Mount in Fleetwood this Saturday to lead another pop-up workshop for arts organisation Leftcoast

If you're in the area then come and help transfer this gem of a building into an installation of light and colour as we work on the windows as part of my Light Catcher workshop. Let's hope the sun stays out so we can make the most of the beautiful coastal luminosity!

Join us on Saturday 4th June from 1pm - 3.30pm in the Mount Pavilion along the Esplanade, Fleetwood.
 

 

Heart of Glass

This month I was invited to develop and lead a session for Heart of Glass which has been programmed by artist and creative producer Claire Weetman and funded by ACE's Creative People and Places. Heart of Glass is a programme of creative activities in St Helens, Merseyside, which takes place in public spaces and community venues across the town. Claire has invited artists to respond to the locality, based on their own practice and interests.

I initially met Claire in St Mary's Market, in the local shopping centre in St Helens, where Heart of Glass have set up a creative base below Platform Studios, who occupy the former market offices. We spent some time talking about the programme, walking through the markets and also popped into St Helen's World of Glass museum.

I was immediately struck by the huge market windows overlooking the glass museum and, following my interest in colour, light and transparency, I decided to develop a session that would encourage participants and passers-by to respond to the window space.

As part of the session for young people and also a fortnightly family art club, participants were invited to work with a range of materials to create artworks that could be added to the windows or taken away. The installation grew as I worked alongside artist/producer Jacqui, assistant and promoter Ant, and some very enthusiastic children and young people who took a roll of electrical tape for a walk along the windows. It was lovely to see the layers of colours and lines appearing on the glass over the the outside views. We had a range of colourful, semi-transparent images, abstract designs, 3D forms (including post boxes!), paths, lines and kaleidoscopic images produced. Such a lovely venue and great people to work with.

Check out their flickr feed here!