139/365: green giant

The most reliable and peaceful place to shelter in the sweltering midday sun (in Bangkok). Save our trees!

To see green, please click here.

096/365: my own private light show

The morning sunlight snuck through the gap in the curtain and danced on the wall - my own private light show. To see a warmer version, please click here.

Reflective Forms

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

I've been following a bit of an abstracted, reflective theme over the past couple of months!

Here's a link to some Mini Art Club mirror-like fun at Manchester Art Gallery

Read about what we got up to here!

Mini Art Club: in the heart of the city

This month's 'We Face Forward' Mini Art Club session responded to the artist Piniang's semi-abstract collaged paintings 'Flood in the Suburb 1 and 2' and 'Power Cut in the Suburb'. Piniang (real name Ibrahima Niang) is a multi-media artist who works with a fusion of materials. HIs paintings depict the architecture of Dakar and somehow capture the chaos of an overcrowded city after a flood or power cut. Here, Piniang is concerned with population growth and urban development out of control.

Families visited the exhibition virtually in the dark, accompanied by the frenetic beat of the drum played by Danny Henry. We then headed down to the studio to mark-make and explore various recycled materials, focusing on the colour palette in Piniang's work. We later constructed (and knocked down) a fragile cardboard city, and danced to the beat of a chaotic city, led by the amazingly versatile Danny.

What a fast, colourful, frenzied and fun morning!

Links:

http://www.wefaceforward.org/venues/manchester-art-gallery

http://www.wefaceforward.org/artists/piniang

http://www.facebook.com/ManchesterArtGallery#

http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=3896

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR8-EWcRo08

Mini Art Club is 50!

We've just had our 50th Mini Art Club... and what a morning!

As part of the 'We Face Forward' summer programme, we responded to artist Nnenna Okore's work 'Where Heaven Meets the Earth', concentrating on the theme of decay and transformation. Materials to be explored and transformed were a variety of recycled papers, different consistencies and types of clay, as well as natural materials such as hessian, twine, vegetables and spices!

Okore is particularly concerned with re-using and transforming materials, working into them using a variety of techniques to test the limits of each material as it deconstructs, falls apart, decays, fades, changes colour, etc. We attempted to explore this laying out a wet clay and natural dye room with paper and also a dark, shadowy paper room. To complement and extend this further, dancer, percussionist and musician Danny Henry interpreted key words (such as rip, stamp, fold) through a series of beats, rhythms and movement - much to the delight of everyone involved! It was really insightful to work with such a diverse and experimental performer who instinctively understood the ethos of Mini Art Club.

Such a great way to celebrate our 50th session!

N.B. Lo-fi mini vid clips hopefully coming up soon!

Links:

http://www.nnennaokore.com/

http://www.wefaceforward.org/venues/manchester-art-gallery

http://www.wefaceforward.org/artists/nnenna-okore

http://www.facebook.com/ManchesterArtGallery#

http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=3896

 

 

Just So Festival - Rode Hall Parkland, Cheshire - 17th-19th August 2012 (save the date!)

 

Time flies... and I'm starting to gather my ideas and materials to fill a tent full of magical surprises at the Just So Festival this August!

The Just So Festival is a quirky, creative, boutique festival aimed at children, young people and their families. Originally based in Shropshire, it has moved this year to Rode Hall Parkland in Cheshire for a weekend of camping and creativity in the woods. It will be a treat to spend some time doing my creative thing outdoors surrounded by trees, natural light and sunbeams (fingers crossed!)

Just So aims to be more than just a family festival - featuring some of the best UK arts activity. There'll be lots of story-telling, dancing, visual arts, lights, magic and mayhem in the woods!

I will be hiding in a tent 'Away with the Fairies' (I'm already there), creating a world of papery delights - the rest is a secret, so I will keep 'schtum' for now....

For more information about the festival visit the site at: http://www.justsofestival.org.uk/

For a plan of the festival site, please view the map and click on the different areas: http://www.justsofestival.org.uk/2012-programme-2/

I'm very, very excited!

 

 

We Face Forward: Magic Materials - 'Mini Junk Palace'

It's been a long and colourful week working on our Junk Palace project at Manchester Art Gallery!

Drawing inspiration from We Face Forward artist Pascale Marthine Tayou's 'Poupées Pascales' - 16 unique dolls hidden all around the art gallery for this summer's 'We Face Forward'- we created two exciting studio spaces for participants to explore the world of found objects and materials in novel and interesting ways. I worked alongside visual artist Sarah Marsh and fashion designer Mary Ononokpono of Mononoko fashion to develop the concept for the workshop. We came up with some excellent ways of fashioning plastic bags, newspaper, old electronic parts and west african fabrics into chunky accessories, jewellery and other such wonderful forms!

I also tailored the session to create today's Mini Art Club - Mini Junk Palace for little ones aged 0-5 years, to explore a beautiful, colourful, tactile environment. A big thanks to artist & filmmaker Jess Wild for supporting today's session along with volunteers Liz and Sabeena. Also thank you to Jali Nyonkoling Kuyateh for playing the Kora and lending us one of his CDs to fill the Junk Palace with beautiful music!

Links:

http://www.pascalemarthinetayou.com/

http://www.wefaceforward.org/artists/pascale-marthine-tayou

http://www.evelynarts.co.uk/

http://www.msafropolitan.com/2011/08/msafropolitan-boutique-interview-series-mary-onokpono-of-mononoko.html

http://www.manchesterfashion.com/c/19/223/mononoko-conscience-culture-couture

 

 

'What is Home?' Installation at the Avents Factory

Here are some lovely pictures taken of an installation space produced with young people from Crewe YMCA at the Avents Factory, Axis Centre, MMU Crewe last Saturday. Our installation responded to the question 'What is Home?' and took plenty of hard work to fill a large drama studio space at the Axis Centre.

The project aimed to invite people to participate in a workshop led by Crewe YMCA, asking participants to think about different aspects of 'home' and what it means to them.

Groups of up to 20 participants entered the workshop space and after the last workshop, we had just under two hours to turn the space into an installation complete with a film of the day by Mark Haig. The installation featured a 'shadow wall' entrance into our space, a comfy living room area complete with sound recordings, smells and people's memories, a 'dream couch' area filled with origami, a candle-lit washing line with life tips and advice, a large painting of people's ideas about where they see their future home, and a life-size shelter in which people had answered the question 'what is home?'

Despite the long days and sleepless nights thinking about what I needed to do and waking up early to write lists, I really enjoyed working on the project. I think we really managed to pull the installation together through good ideas and team work, even though we had very little time to get things done!

Here's a big, homely thank you to the young people, Chad Healey and Rachel Miller at Crewe YMCA for all their great ideas and hard work. Thanks also to Mark Haig for creating the film and making and manning a Punch & Judy set last minute! Also thanks to the technicians for helping us sort out the space and finally many thanks to Paul Hine for inviting me to be part of his Avents Factory.

Links:

http://www.theaventsfactory.org/index.html

http://www.creweymca.com/

http://www.axisartscentre.org.uk/home/

http://www.myspace.com/video/mark/mark-haig-applied-visual-artists-showreel/17902148

Mini Art Club April - 'Shadow Land' (Inspired by Roger Ballen)

After 2 weeks of 'Colour Pop' workshops (see previous post), colourful prints were stripped off the studio walls and replaced with clean layers of black & white paper for Mini Art Club - how different it looked!

Families followed a trail up to Roger Ballen's beautifully rich black & white square-formatted photographs in the current 'Shadow Land' exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. Despite the slightly dark, adult-themed nature of Roger Ballen's work, families with young children responded well to his photographs - making simple connections with textures, lines and imagery in photos in certain areas of the exhibition. Children particularly loved feeling feathers, twigs, drawing with wire and finding animals hidden in the photographs as well as in toy form on the gallery floor.

Downstairs, two studios were set up to recreate the rich aesthetic of Roger Ballen's photos as children were invited to explore textures of key materials and, also, shadow and light on a large scale.

Links:

http://www.manchestergalleries.org/whats-on/exhibitions/index.php?itemID=87

http://www.rogerballen.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uee_mcxvrw