It is a cold morning, Michelle, Milena & Musarat, the 3 M’s arrive at Morley and it is a lovely big space just behind the library with lots of windows and natural sunlight coming through. There are two Aspire groups that come together, Middleton & Morley – a fairly big group. Michelle has already worked with the group so everyone is familiar with her. Milena is just stepping in for the first session; the remaining 9 sessions will be delivered by Michelle & Musarat.
Everyone is excited to see Michelle, lots of hello’s, hugs and firm handshakes. The room is quite spacious so the noise level is high, lots of people talking, laughing and revisiting memories from the last project.
We start the session with our fist circle game; “Catching a name” this is where we throw an imaginary ball to each other and say our name. A good way to introduce ourselves as well as learn the names of others. We then move on to the balloon game, trying to keep the balloon up in the air everyone wants to have control of the balloon.
Michelle introduces the theme of this project – ‘Dream Catchers’ an activity L suggested in one of his earlier meetings. The Lakota story is also shared with participants and everyone listens with interest.
The 10 weeks project will touch on the subject of dreams, wishes, colours, feelings, aspiration and goals with visual arts and spoken words combined together.
The first art activity starts with making a dream catcher, bright coloured wool, string and ribbons are used with sparkling beads, gem stones and feathers with each dream catcher being unique.
The group are asked what other art activities they would like to do, T-shirts, scrapbooks, lanterns/candles are the popular choices. We decided as a group that next week we will tie dye our dreams, visions colours and goals, onto our T-shirts, moving on and moving forward.
We finish the session with a conversation about dreams “what colour are your dreams”. This was fun and interactive as participants began to share their colours with actions. We take note of the colours, and other words used; these will contribute to a group song we are writing on the theme of dreams.
Week 2 at Morley and we start with our Circle time, we play a game which encourages participants to describe what colour they are feeling by selecting a felt tip from the box. It’s positive to see colours such as light blue, purple yellow, pink and green are chosen, all happy and bright colours reflecting their mood & feelings. As we go around the group, one by one participants share what their colour represents, some say the sky, the sun, flying birds. We try and use gestures to represent our colours and feelings.
Moving on from last week’s theme dreams, we introduce the Tie & Dye activity, something the group requested. We begin by demonstrating how to tie and dye a t-shirt by showing them different ways of tying using bottle tops and buttons. We hand out the t-shirts; some are quite daunted by the experience of adding their first colour on a blank canvas while others are excited to get some colour onto their t-shirts. We notice how people use their paint brushes in different ways, some dabbing the colours on, others flicking the paint and some use their hands to add texture. Luckily they are all wearing gloves!
Everyone is fully engaged in the activity; lots of wonderful bright colours and feelings coming through in their t-shirts.
We end the session with the words we collated last week for our dream catcher song
“Dream catchers, dream catcher, make me a dream; make it bright, full of light, with stars for decorations…..”
We look for suggestions, what else could be added. One participant adds
“Dream catchers, dream catcher, make me a dream; make it best you’ve ever seen”.
We finish by handing post cards out to everyone to write one word about the session, this will help towards our group song and words for our scrap book next week.
Week 3 and we are making scrap books. We had a pretty full on session last week with the tie and dye t-shirts and because everyone was so eager to see their t-shirts we decide to go straight into the art activity.
It was a bit of a task finding everyone’s t-shirts as the colours had run and names were no longer clear; however with a bit of team work we managed to figure it out.
Musarat begins with a step by step demonstration of how to make a scrapbook; it is rather impressive of how everyone remembers the different stages as there are quite a few stages to grasp.
Lovely colours & textures of paper are chosen for the books and lots of gluing and banging involved. The group work with such focus that we forget to stop for a t-break.
We finish the session with a practise of “ The Final Whistle Blows’ a song the group had worked on in the last project.
Just before the group leave, we speak to them about the upcoming performance. We suggest that the group wear their t-shirts and use their scrap books during their ‘Dream Catcher Song’ performance, part of the cultural event in January. Most are keen on the idea, but there are couple who want to take theirs home. However we manage to convince them.
Week 4 at Morley and we start the session with some breathing exercises to help us perform our dream catcher song. The group respond to this very well. One of the participants decides to lead the exercises, ‘Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth’ everyone follows.
In last week’s session a lot of the participants finished making the scrap book itself but didn’t get a change to fill it in or decorate the cover. A few of them brought in some family photos to add to their books and therefore wanted to continue with the activity. We also had the ‘Final Whistle Blow’ song to add in the book.
Once completing their books the group returned to the circle where more words were collated for the dream catcher song and next week’s session was discussed. Next week’s activity is to collate greetings in different languages and also words, feelings and thoughts to be put onto the t-shirts.
We begin session 5 with our circle activity, asking about countries we have visited, places we have been and the different experiences we have had. We had Tenerife, Benidorm, USA, Turkey & Australia with ‘Good day mate’
Today we realised we share many experiences, food, cultures and different languages we know and this would most certainly help with our song for our cultural event performance in January. We collated words & phrases and went to the art table to write these on our t-shirts.
The group are very much looking forward to the performance in January where t-shirts will be worn and other props used to represent some of the words in the song.