Monday, 3 December 2012

Action-packed Autumn

The last few months following the Connecting Threads project have been delightfully action packed, accounting for my shocking neglect of this blog! The Biennial has been stretching its arty tentacles across Liverpool and I have been exploring the various sites in my role at the Bluecoat with the Blue Room groups of artists with learning disabilities. My close links with the Bluecoat have also led me to work with two brilliant new groups. 

A lovely group of adults with learning disabilities from St Helens were hosted at the Bluecoat for a 5 week project exploring the Liverpool Biennial. The group were particularly inspired by the beautiful ink drawings drawings and animations by Chinese artist Sun Xun. We developed the idea of creating our own stop-motion animation telling the story of our journey around the Biennial. The group explored photography and inky drawing using these as the materials for making their animated film. They also worked together to record an atmospheric soundtrack. It was fantastic to get to know the group and learn about their interests and talents and the finished film is a wonderfully vibrant document of their time at the Bluecoat.

Recently, I have also been given a fantastic opportunity to work with a group from the Wirral Autistic Society for the Bluecoat Display Centre's Making an Impact project. The project seeks to offer a range community groups the chance to experience craft and making skills. I delivered two, day long workshops exploring stitching and weaving techniques using recycled and reclaimed materials.  We looked at examples of stitching into found objects and fence weaving.The participants were brilliant and threw themselves into manipulating materials into brightly coloured stitched and woven surfaces, each developing their own style. The group worked together to create a large piece of stitched mesh to be installed in the garden at Oak House. I'm hoping to go and visit the group when they unveil their work in the new year!  

During my preparation for the workshops with the Bluecoat Display Centre, I was invited to submit a postcard sized artwork for ArtAnon a fundraising exhibition organised by 3rd year students from the Manchester School of Art's Embroidery degree. I decided to further explore the idea of stitching into mesh and used a variety of stitching and threads to create this piece. I like how it looks a bit like a miniature chain link fence which has been embroidered!