Sunday, 20 September 2015

My red shoes - artefacts of a child who had a mother

You may think that the work I make is generally just illustrations of places I have been. Views of places that I have loved and visited and that is  about it. Well, there is other works I make that though seemingly simplistic, hold a lot more depth and content than would first appear. Take these little red shoes. They are currently at my exhibition at Alfred East Art Gallery, Kettering in the "Views and Shoes" exhibition that closes this Saturday. 

These shoes belonged to me when I was a little child, probably about three. I still have them... in my "precious" biscuit tin in the loft. They are artefacts of proof that actually as a small child I did have a mother that would have put these on. You see, when you have a death of a mother as a child - I was five - there are things you hold onto to make sense of it. Artefacts that prove that she actually did live once. They are the things I would fundamentally save from a fire... that and my photos.

For the exhibition "Views and Shoes" I wanted to make pieces based on them to link to my past history and my connection with the shoe cobbling trade. My father was a cobbler as was my father before that so shoes and leather seem to be part of my DNA!  Below are my fathers words describing his father and his cobbling workshop in the village. Its tiny I know.... I will do a transcript very soon and post on here so you can read it properly.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

U3A - the finished work!

Here are the finished pieces made on the adult paper cutting workshop day. It was a wonderful day. I met some really super people and it was great to show them what I do and for them to have a go too. I love teaching adults. It's fantastic to hear their stories  and to share local connections. A few of the women on the course had gone to my old school a fair time before me and it was so funny to compare stories!

All the little birds laid out.....

Lots of colour!

Requested by the group - table top gallery time!!!

Take one little bird....U3A adult paper cutting workshop

For the U3A adult paper cutting workshop I prepared pre-drawn sheets for the people on the course to work from. Over the time years I have been running workshops I have found that adults are much happier if they have some structure to work from. A blank piece of paper can be a very scary thing and can inhibit people hugely. So having a piece of paper with something on it means people have something to hang onto to start with.

SO.....I supplied everyone on the course with a little bird. hey were all hand drawn so all of them varied. Some had big beaks, small wings or the other way round! And what I had hoped happen did. Some people stuck to the image, but others customised it and made the bird into something more personal.

Here are the birds made of the day. Look carefully at each one and see how different the cut line is in each. A line cut with a blade almost is like a signature. It has its own individual look and energy! Notice too how the design was changed with the addition of grass, or flowers or incidental lines of decoration. It was great to see them being made and unfold.

U3A adult paper cutting workshop in Salisbury - Aug 2015

 Through my website I had an enquiry from a U3A group - University of the Third Age - in Salisbury (Sarum Group) to ask if I could run a one day workshop for a group. I hadn't run a day course for the U3A before so I was very pleased to get the email. 
I have worked with older people in my adults before but generally my adult workshops have a greater age range than the U3A group usually have as its for retired people. My main concerns was that the people attending would find the knives hard to manipulate. Paper cutting is easy but it requires good dexterity and muscle control. So I designed an easy project to get every one going and make sure that they left at the end of the day having learnt some good techniques that they could continue with, and make something to be proud of that was high quality and well finished.

        "its been wonderful to have someone really teach us"

The day ran from 10 am - 4pm and during the day I showed the people on the day course how to do black line and white line cutting, how to add colour  and at the end of the day, even the chance to get to try some sticky vinyl collage making!. It was a VERY busy day! 16 people were on the course, made up of mainly women but with a man present too. we didn't really stop for lunch but ate sandwiches as we went along. The class was very absorbed by the activities and there was a wonderful hum of creativity most of the day!

The photos below, and the next couple of posts will illustrate the day and what was made. 

"its been so exciting to see how the image comes out of the paper!"

Using the window as a light box to cut the coloured paper to fit the spaces...