The plan was to start posting from the start of this project but… great plans and all that. Here I am finally writing about it and we are almost halfway through.

The summer of planning, recruiting and promoting the project was so busy and we got very excited working through and trialing all the different techniques and activities we were going to explore with the group.

We also had the 12 willing participants to find. We knew this wouldn’t necessarily be easy and spent quite a few hours leafleting, going into local groups, care homes, libraries, and the local paper.

But with relief we began our first session on the 5th September with a full group of 12 wonderful people, ready to get stuck in.

This first session felt like it had had such a build up for Anji and I after so much planning, discussion and trials, that the warm up activities provided us all with that vital chance to relax and loosen up.

We spent this first session focusing on mark making and exploring the range of materials on offer. With the whole group of us working on one rolled out piece of paper, it was amazing to see people get stuck in. There was a real sense of curiosity and exploration. It is fantastic, they have all come open and willing, ready to give it all a go. As soon as the first session finished and Anji and I took a moment to breathe, we were floating on air.

It made me realise how special it is to be working with people, creating together and exploring the joy of materials. We wanted to encourage a sense of freedom, not worrying about whether the marks are right or wrong but enjoy making them, letting go of judgement.

They responded so well to the challenge and made me realise, we the artists are probably the ones that need to listen to our own advice. First session and they have already make some really interesting, fascinating work.