Wednesday, 21 September 2016

New beginnings: Bus and Bird

I have been fortunate enough to teach Art and Design for the last eighteen years and work as Community Co-ordinator for the Visual Arts for the past fourteen years at Sale Grammar School in south Manchester. However, I have relocated to Nottinghamshire and it is time for new beginnings. As an experienced Community Co-ordinator, I have planned, organised and delivered creative learning sessions for a broad spectrum of learners from pre-school and school age children through to PGCE students and professional adults. I have taught in diverse settings, the most unusual being at Manchester Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre’s Pearce Ward teaching ceramic sculpture and stop frame animation to cystic fibrosis patients in their bedrooms.

What is ‘Bus and Bird’?
I am taking a leap of faith and using my experience of providing high quality visual arts workshops to set up ‘Bus and Bird’ where I will act as a Freelance Artist Educator running Community Art projects. ‘Bus and Bird’ will promote the Visual Arts by delivering projects of benefit to the community of Mansfield and its surrounding areas.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects that I have managed over the years:

Read more about this project here

Read the pupils' interview questions and Mr Finch's replies here

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Time and Tide Exhibition

I was invited by Maria Walker, on behalf of Art Untitled, to take part in their group exhibition entitled ‘Time and Tide’ at Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse in Northwich. The artwork was inspired by the proverb ‘time and tide wait for no man’. Artists responded to this central theme using a diverse range of media ranging from stitch, mixed media and print to photography, paint and ceramics.
I created two new illustrative mixed-media characters (Reginald and Agnes) and a more abstract piece based on an old family garden plan (155 Kingsway) specifically for the Time and Tide exhibition. Considering the idea of time marching on by whether we want it to or not, my characters had an undeniably melancholy narrative. Both Reginald and Agnes had a sense that time and ambitions were passing them by. They felt duty bound to always do the right thing by others but deep down wished they had the courage to pursue their own dreams.
I was really impressed with the standard and quality of all the work on display. Not to mention the fascinating nature of the museum itself. I should imagine that the original residents of the workhouse would have been intrigued by our art work and the modern use of the building!
‘Time and Tide’ ran from Saturday 12th September to Sunday 15th November 2015.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

We’ll Meet Again (*)

Sadly, my lovely grandad died on Sunday 27th December 2015 after a painful and prolonged struggle with cancer. I was determined that he should have an illustration on his Order of Service booklet that reflected his personality and love of nature.
The final illustration for his Order of Service uses old and new drawings taken from my sketchbook. My favourite illustrations have been collaged together into a colourful wreath using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Each image represents his interests or the idea of remembrance.

Rosemary is a traditional herb used in funerals as a symbol of remembrance and memories of loved ones.

Pansies were grandad's favourite flower and symbolise loving thoughts. Forget me nots mean 'remember me forever' and symbolise love.

Two birds are jauntily perched at the top of the wreath as he adored them. The robin was a frequent visitor and could be seen following him around when he was busy working in the garden.

The text is taken from grandad's handwriting. This is particularly poignant as when I went away to university, grandad wrote to me at least twice a month. This continued up until his first admission to hospital in October 2015. I've treasured each and every letter that he sent me. They are all over my house in little bundles, there's even a few boxes of them in the loft.

I've loved the detailing of our everyday lives in the letters ranging from the weather and worries to jobs and children. They document how much our lives have changed over the years. Some of my favourite letters are from when I lived in Japan. I think grandad struggled to get to grips with my address in Tokoname as it is different on each envelope, although his letters always found their way to my little flat there.
I feel very sad that our letter writing is at an end. It would take a lot of paper and ink to thank both my grandparents for so many beautiful memories. They have been my anchor, my constant in an ever changing world. For now, I'll look at the birds eating the juicy bright red berries on the berberis shrub outside my kitchen window and be reminded of all the happy times that we spent together.

(*): We'll Meet Again - Vera Lynn

We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won't be long
They'll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song…