Nature in the City

Here's the final episode of spending time developing 'nature spaces' in darkened cupboard-like rooms listening to recordings of birds twittering away in forests! 

Yesterday evening's Thursday Late: Nature in the City at Manchester Art Gallery was a celebration of all the hard work carried out on the Thomas Horsfall Project with two schools (see previous blog posts) to create an interpretation guide and film for the Art for All: Thomas Horsfall's Gift to Manchester exhibition. It was also the chance for visitors to participate in art activities inspired by nature and also find out more about the exhibition and gallery roof garden!

I was tucked away in a (usually hidden) room right within the main entrance of the gallery. I created an immersive Plant Space, which encouraged people to try out drawing challenges and dispel the myth that 'they couldn't draw'. The specially created environment transformed a rather corporate-looking meeting room into an intimate, comfortable nature-inspired space! I wanted to encourage people to spend time looking and observing details within plants and natural objects under spotlights, while relaxing to a soothing forest soundtrack in a cosy, atmospheric space. 

Thanks to Emma Carroll, Joanne Davies & Meg Parnell for all their support on the projects!

A Study of Nature and Beauty

At last, the children's work is up - as a mini exhibition in their school!

Using Andrew MacCallum's painting Oak Trees in Sherwood Forest (1877), as a starting point for key themes and inspiration, I spent four days working with two reception classes at Norris Bank Primary School. The project was organised by Manchester Art Gallery as part of a wider project responding to the current Art for All: Thomas Horsfall's Gift to Manchester exhibition. 

Working with both classes, we explored lines, shapes, silhouettes and details of plants and leaves and turned these into drawings and paper cuts which were brought together to make the 'forest come alive' in a storage cupboard in the school! We also created some beautiful mixed media artworks to explore colour, light, transparency, textures and mini worlds. 

The project explored a number of contrasts:

bringing the outdoors in vs. extending the classroom outdoors

light & dark

light, air, sky (above) vs. texture, surfaces, ground (below)

man-made vs. natural materials

Artist Patricia Mountford also worked with Year One pupils to explore and classify materials to make sculptures, responding to the artwork The Carline Thistle as part of a study of Surrey Wild Flowers by Elizabeth Redgrave.

I now just have one more space I need to convert into a 'forest' tomorrow for Manchester Art Gallery's Thursday Lates, Nature in the City