On Saturday 2nd July 2011 I had the privilege of running a drop in arts activity at the Wallsend Festival. The project that I devised with the approval of the Wallsend Planning Committee was to create a number of images that related to Wallsend’s heritage.
Children (ranging between 2 and 12) were introduced to collage. [With permission I kept a register of most of the participants names and ages and was able to photograph at least 2/3rd of the learners at work].
Depending on the age of the participants we talked about it being an artist’s technique to produce an image by sticking different materials to a flat surface. In our project we used different types of coloured paper on top of the acrylic paintings.
I created a number of acrylic paintings of iconic images associated with the town including: The Swan Hunter‘s swordfish; a zoomed in section of the North Tyneside‘s Crest; A silhouette of a ship building crane; a landscape showing three trees in Richardson Dees park; a Roman coin and helmet inspired by Segedunum and Wallsend’s pit wheel inspired by the towns mining heritage.
We talked about why these images were chosen and how they related to Wallsend. Some children had personal associations with the imagery
One Dad said “We go to play in the park all the time…”
A young man told me “I play for Wallsend Boys Club” (he’d been working on the Roman coin and hadn’t spotted it!
“My Dad lives near Segedunum” explained one artist who worked for about 40 minutes on the Roman helmet.
“We’ve done a project about the Romans in school” reported one little girl and her mum.
We compared our collages to mosaics (pictures the Romans made using small cubic stones called tesserae). The children were very keen to tell me about an artist, Nathan Wyburn, made a picture of Michael McIntyre’s face out of Marmite on toast. You can see that here. What a fantastic comparison! For teachers you could link this project to contemporary artist Vik Muniz who showed at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.
All the children worked alongside their parents, granddads, grandmas, aunties, uncles or older siblings. These adults made great artist assistants for their children.
I took email address to send images of the finished work to the participants and to keep them informed of where and when the work will be exhibited. It is also show on The Wallsend Festivals Facebook page here.
I want to stress how each child worked very hard to make a piece of high standard art. Most worked between 20 and 40 minutes. It was a nice calm relaxed working environment as the older children didn’t talk much they were too busy!
Finally it was lovely to see children returning at the end of the day to see how things had turned out. Two little girls Brandyn H (11 years old) and Frankie R (8 years old) did their mum proud helping me tidy up at the end an unexpected treat for me! And Joseph W (10 years old) made my day when he came back to show me what he’d been up to for the rest of the day. AMAZING!
If you liked this post you might like my page on “Workshops an Drop-in sessions” because you might like me to plan and deliver a project for your community group, school or business.
My post “Wallsend Festival 2011 Preparation for 2nd July” because it shows how the final pieces got started!