Beverley Croft – Moving On Year On, Weeks 1 to 5
Bryony is off on maternity leave so returning to Bewerley with a new artist Van already seems like an exciting change and development to the sessions. Bewerley might be a small group of participants but they expect a lot and they like to push us to bring a new and exciting program of activities each week. As well as a new artist it’s great to see we have new some participants as well as a few regulars from previous years.
Week 1 Totems
We kick off week one with a brief introduction from Van. As we all find out more about Van’s process I can see eyes widen with wonder and anticipation with what we are going to being doing this year. Van explains to the group that he is a sculpture and that this year we are hoping to push the group into steeping out of their comfort zone and focus on mainly on sculpture and 3D work.
We begin by playing with materials and we experiment with some air dry clay, making ceramic tiles and pressing flowers into them. Then moving on to producing totems by out of the clay, by rolling it out, wrapping it around a pipe putting a design into it. It’s great first activity as it gives the group a crash course in the basics of clay and ceramics.
N draws a picture from his imagination of a house or cabin in with some trees and water near by. M stamps in the word happy and then makes a smiling face, using numbers for the smile.
P is engrossed in the tiles, stamping in some Vietnamese words. We discover that Van and Peter came to England in the same year. Great bonds for week one. 🙂
Week 2 Painting air dry clay tiles and totems & wire sculpting
Today we’re moving onto painting our totems from last week as well as tile painting and some wire sculptures. J, a new participant joins us and C, a regular member from last year, returns and it’s lovely to see her.
We begin by explaining to C and J what we did last week. Once they’re up to speed we lay out the acrylic paints and the dried clay tiles are shared out for everyone to paint. P chooses bright colours and paints geometric designs over his tiles. C, H and J carefully pick out the impressions in the tiles and paint in the leaves and flowers.
M carefully picks his colours choices for his totem as he wants it to look like an Aztec piece. C wants to work with some clay and so rolls a piece out and makes indents and reliefs with tools.
“I learn’t more about art in ten weeks with you lot than the six years I’ve been to the Vale (a local day centre).” C say’s whilst she is sculpting her clay.
Today we challenge the group, to some continuous line drawing of a face and a profile without taking the pencil off the paper. Once they have done this they have to recreate it in 3D with wire.
The whole group have a great bond, with good banter and always share, and compliment each other on their works.
Week 3 Clay reliefs, tile and perspex painting.
It’s a red hot day today, with very little breeze so we decide to work indoors. G asks what we are doing today and a look of dismay comes over his face when we mention that we were once again using clay (had a few issues last week.) However Van has a new type of clay that and an excellent example of what we are doing (a face relief).Which impresses the group and inspires G and N to have a go.
They start by rolling out their pieces of clay however, P and M don’t fancy using clay so I work with them on painting perspex and ceramic tiles.
I’ve brought in some images and some postcards for inspiration. P uses a few with the perspex to he trace straight over the image.
Painting of a sunflower, Salts Mill and an aeroplane hugging a planet.
M is inspired by postcard of a cornfield and some water. Claiming he doesn’t have an imagination, he begins copying it on to the tile. Once its finished Van encourages him to turn it into a panoramic image and do further tiles to extend his design. This warms his imagination up and he extends it into a diptych of a bridge over the water and a path.
N spends a long time making his relief, he didn’t use many tools, but instead uses his fingers, as he “likes to feel it.” – this send a laughter around the room. G creates a calm looking face in his relief which was a nice change. Even he joked that it is unlike him and that he normally does demonic faces.
Week 4 Tile, perspex painting, terracotta clay relief modelling
The sun often comes out for us at Bewerley Croft and today was no different. We decide to do the workshop outside, and Sylvie joins us for the session. We have a variety of different activities to do today, H and G work on their clay reliefs on one table, while on the other table, N decides to try some painting on tiles, but takes some time to think of something to paint, sitting next to P who wants to do more painting on perspex.
H and G get stuck in by pounding the clay on the ground to spread them and get the air pockets out before using the rolling pin to flatten out to the size of the frame. Using the water spray to keep the clay moist as the clay is under direct sunlight. Graeme goes straight into a new face. This time a mean with a tongue sticking out and a pair of horns.
Van has brought in a couple of books about Chinese paintings and P traces a parrot onto perspex. P then does another painting, but on a tile turned long way up, like a Chinese scroll painting.
Throughout the session N slowly develops an idea and creates his tile adding a sun and clouds next to a bird and using a sharp wooden tool to scrape the black paint.
Today the participants are focused, relaxed and have come up with good ideas; G creating a counter image to his calm face from last week with a devilish one and becomes more confident and needs less help; H is inspired by G and N’s reliefs to make her own, which is prompted by an image from a book she’s reading; P painting a triptych of tiles without copying or tracing; N also does not restrict his composition to one tile. The group are really coming into their own and I cannot wait to see how the next six weeks turn out.