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!  

Colour Compositions: Easter Matisse at Tate Liverpool

I've had the most colourful time at Tate Liverpool over the past few weeks as we turned the Clore Studio into an immersive world of colourful compostions, where art and activity began to creep and grow across the blank walls, floors and columns of the studio space.

Our starting point was The Snail by Henri Matisse (1953), Tate Liverpool's current work 'to know by heart'. On loan from the Centre Pompidou, The Snail is on display until May 2nd and is a key example of Matisse's cut-outs. It's worth going to see just to enjoy the scale and colour of the work and it is a significant piece to see up close as it's unlikely it will tour to another venue in our lifetime, due to its fragile nature.

Made at a time when Matisse was too ill to paint, the cut-outs were a new and exciting development as he used his scissors to cut out shapes directly from coloured sheets painted by his assistants. Some works were more abstract than others and The Snail at first looks that way but then it becomes clear that Matisse has composed his 'dancing' coloured shapes to form a distilled impression of the spiral shell. I asked many young visitors to look for the snail shape and there was much discussion about which way the shell turned and where the head could be found.

Participants then chose their own paper colour palettes and were challenged to cut shapes straight out of the paper to make their own colour cut compositions. These began to grow along the studio walls as we created a collective colour display and also a floor-based composition piece. There was also the chance to create transient colour projections and weave a colourful trail of coloured lines across the space through yarn bombing - which went down well with lots of children! The music, lights, shadows and colour also had a positive impact on participants who talked about how 'relaxing' and 'immersive' the space was.

There were so many avenues for development - we could have worked on it for another couple of weeks at least. If anything it was a great way of creating interweaving snail trails from a great piece of art.

 

 

All Coloured Up

In celebration of the Channel Crossings: English and French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery , I chose a cool colour palette for paint and light in a specially created ' Journeys of Colour & Light' workshop. Despite the busy crowds, the studios were awash with visitors reporting the positive effects of spending time in the colourful galleries and studios.

From spending time REALLY looking at the artworks, collecting colours and writing down our feelings in connection to the scenes before us, to REALLY focusing on the details of pointillist splodges of colour combinations to make cool colour charts, before hanging out to bathe in colourful light in the dark room... there was something for everyone.

And in what seems to be my longest week of gallery work ever, I'm really glad I got to absorb some of the positive, colourful moods of the 600 or so people who passed through the door this week. 

Check out the Gallery's Facebook pics here

 

 

 

My Colourful Pop-Up World

It's the last few days of My Colourful Pop-Up World at Tate Liverpool! We've been responding to the Mondrian and his Studios exhibition as we explore abstraction, colour and geometry in both 2D and 3D. 

Piet Mondrian was one of the first artists to experiment with abstraction when he moved from Holland to Paris in 1911, then London and New York. In each city he moved to he had a studio, which served as a kind of 3D realisation of his gridded, geometric canvases. Mondrian was inspired by architecture and the increasingly built-up landscapes that surrounded his city centre studios.

Taking this theme of abstraction in the real world, participants have been creating gridded viewfinders which can be overlaid onto the windows of Tate Liverpool's Art Dock studio to colour and re-frame the landscape.  Participants are also leaving their colourful strips to be added to an evolving installation in the Family Room. Furthermore, they can experiment with paper manipulation and the art of pop-up as their cuts and folds turn into geometric sculptures and architectural-like models.  Watch this (square!) space for more photos of the Family Room in progress...

 

Playing with Cameras, Light and Colour

I've just finished an ace project working with a nursery from a school in North Manchester. Our focus was on promoting speaking and listening and creative development through art workshops and an identified key theme. 

My focus or theme was initially photography, which then became broader as we began to consider the basic principles behind photography such as light, dark, colour, reflection and refraction. We also used key artworks and studio spaces at Manchester Art Gallery to further explore light and shadow, positive and negative. Children were also given cameras to use throughout the project to record their experiences and their language and observations were recorded throughout. 

Here are some of the things they got up to:

-Focusing on taking photos in indoor and outdoor spaces in their school.

-Projecting different objects, drawings, materials

-Exploring shiny materials and reflections

-Spending time focusing on drawing Antony Gormley's sculpture 'Filter' at Manchester Art Gallery

-Exploring positives and negatives through paper and projections

We packed a lot of activity into a few days and we're hoping to create a blog about the wider project too (3 artists, 3 different groups!). I'll shout out when the gallery blog goes live!