Friday, 28 August 2009

The Four Wards Lighting Project

Earlier in the year I was awarded a commission by Blackpool Council in conjunction with Blackpool Illuminations and The Festival of Light to be a lead artist on The Four Wards Lighting Project. As part of the regeneration of four seafront wards in the town, artists were asked to propose art projects involving community groups and using light in some form. I proposed a project in which I would invite groups to participate in urban and beach clean up events to collect plastic flotsam and litter. The 'treasure' collected would then become the raw materials for illuminated sculptural pieces. I was absolutely thrilled when I heard that I along with three other artists had been selected for the project! Excitement then turned to trepidation as I began to undertake my first big commission since graduating last summer.

I went to Blackpool yesterday for the first meeting to kick start the project. I met the three other artists; Jessica Lloyd Jones, Mark Parry and Ruth Tyson-Jones, each doing fascinating and very different projects. I feel more excited than nervous now (the right proportion I think!). I learnt about the community groups that I may be working with and we talked through the practicalities and time scales. Incredibly Blackpool Council claim that there is no beach litter, due to the practice of sending out big tractors to sweep the sea bed! A beach clean may be off the cards and so the next step is to source a large amount of plastic waste. It may be that donated broken toys, chip forks, bottle tops and so on, when stitched into the sculptures become like a memory bank. Participants can see their objects transformed and illuminated.

We also discussed the possibility of using empty shop units as exhibition space at the end of the project- unfortunately wandering around the town I could see far too many possible units. My ward is Talbot- the town centre and main shopping drag. I loved the riot of colour from the arcades, souvenir and pound shops and plastic illuminations. I think Blackpool is the perfect muse for my glowing plastic sculptures and the chance to work with the Illuminations people, the experts in 'artificial sunshine' is a wonderful opportunity. Once the project is in full flow from October onwards I will be posting updates on this site.

Come and See Me Make!

Time is ticking down to my Cheshire Open Studios weekend on the 26th and 27th September. Hopefully the sun will be shining and I can transform my garden into a mini sculpture trail with some of the installations I have made over the past year. Photographs, drawings, sketchbooks, jewellery and hanging mobiles will also be on display and for sale. It'll be a busy September!
Coinciding with the Open Studios is an exhibition featuring work from all of the artists and makers involved. It is held at the Castle Parks Arts Centre in Frodsham from 16th September until 22nd October.

Come along to my studio for a nosy and a chat between 10am -5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Brochures with the address and information on all of the other open studios in the area are availble from Cheshire Libraries and at various venues. Please contact me if you would like to receive one in the post. Click here to see the website too!