This was supposd to be a studio day but turned into an 'installing artwork at a school' day instead. It's amazing how long things like that can take. Still, looks good. I hope the children feel proud of their work. Tomorrow I am doing something at a slight tanget to the project. Ages ago I got in touch with 'The Making' who do educational projects with schools etc (nice website; www.themaking.org.uk) to ask if there were any opportunities to shadow artists running workshops. This was before I started spending my whole existence running workshops! However they got back in touch recently to say "yes", so this weekend I'm going to be doing whatever they want and having a look at how a bigger organisation takes on the kind of thing I have been doing a lot of recently. Which should be very interesting. Back to the ivory tower on Monday.
OK, back to the rest of the project. Right now I am working on a couple of things. On the Saturday 14th July I am working in the woodlands with I hope help from local people. Given the foul weather that we are all enjoying there may be limited numbers, but those brave enough to come along will be helping to make work along the length of a path. If the weather is good we may be casting paper onto the ground to take back to the studio. The other thing I am preparing for is a story trail in August. I am working with storyteller Kevin Graal who will walk through the woods and tell one of the stories which has formed the basis of my 'Story Tree' work. It seems a long time off but isn't! www.papertrails.org.uk
The enjoyable but extremely busy period of doing workshops is drawing to a close for a time at least. I love running workshops, being immersed in a process of working with other people and seeing where their creatitivity leads them but I am also looking forward to being able to focus again on my own work. Looking back at the last couple of weeks. There have been some really good moments. The school workshops were held within the school buildings which is a shame because they weren't able to make work about a specific place. Instead we focused on materials and process using coloured paper pulp to form elements within one large piece of work.
I really enjoyed the adults workshops at St George's. There were some nice thoughtful responses to the materials and the building and it was good to meet everyone who came along. It was great to meet Roz, I just wish there had been more time to talk because as she said we are working in parallel or at least with linked interests and within the same small virtual community.
Since the beginning of the Exhibition / Open Studio on the 4th June there seem to have been streams of people visiting, workshops being run and new contacts being made. There have been lots of local visitors, many of them asking for workshops (so I have programmed some more in), teachers asking if their schools can be involved in some way and just people wanting to have a look at the artist in her natural habitat. So one of the requirements of the residency, that it brings people to St George's Church seems to be being fulfilled. I have really enjoyed the whole process too.
There have been some visitors from further afield. One of whom was fellow blogger Roz Cran who dropped in on a papermaking workshop enroute to a cousin's house. We were looking at basic papermaking techniques and then embossing paper with words from flagstones around the church. Roz left me with two enigmatic scraps, one labeled 'Hope' and the other 'Sorrow'. I think one of her aims had been to talk about how a residency works in the context of a church but things were too busy to have much of a discussion. Another time maybe.
Other visitors from Brighton were Amy Turton and Edith Eyo from Arts Council SE who braved the wilds of Esher. It was good to actually meet them in the flesh as it were. It will make me feel much more in real communication when I send off my next update or evaluation. Bettina Linstrum my wonderful mentor from Arts Agenda also came up to give me some very sensible advice which so far I have been far too busy to put into action!
There have been four workshops apart from the one Roz attended and each in their own way has been a really good experience for me. I hope everyone who came along enjoyed them as much as I did. They were such a lovely bunch of people. Or 'bunches' I suppose and I am very glad to have spent time with them. Some lovely work too. Each person who comes to a workshop leaves me a page or more for a 'book' which is growing fairly fast at present.
So busy I can't think at the moment. There have been lot of visitors and I am in the thick of workshops; both planning and carrying them out. Good fun if exhausting.