Our first day back at Naburn after quite a while, and this time I’ll be working alongside Jim. Our group is made up of participants from Naburn Court and Crossgates Centre, all meeting at Naburn for our sessions.
I was delighted to see that our group consists of almost all the same people as the last time we worked at Naburn. While we played a warm-up game it became clear everyone in the group knows each other, despite being from different centres. This meant it’s only Jim who doesn’t know everyone. I put him on the spot and asked him to name us all, which made everyone laugh.
We have an agenda for the 9 weekly sessions. We have been commissioned to create an artwork to exhibit at the Beyond Festival in July. The artwork will consist of animated images projected on to a sculpture, on the theme of ‘Connections’. As yet we know no more than this as we’ll develop the ideas and the work with the group.
To get the ideas flowing we started with activities to see what things we have in common. We drew coloured pen lines between each other joining up everyone who liked the same things, like chocolate, music, walking or Phil Mitchell.
We stood up and passed a ball of wool to others with similarities, asking, who’s come from Crossgates, who’s got blue eyes, who’s wearing brown shoes.
Over the next few weeks we continued developing ideas around ways we connect. Everyone drew a building they go to regularly, some drew their homes, or trinity shopping centre, a cinema, or Everton’s football ground.
The buildings began a collaged map. Over time we added more detail; roads, bus routes, train tracks, phone wires, radio waves, all linked by things that help us stay connected.
A popular connected drawing game we played required people to work in pairs. I asked everyone to face the windows, so that they were all standing in the same direction. The people in the line at the front were given a pen and blank paper. The line behind were all given a piece of paper with a shape drawn on it and asked to draw this shape with their finger on the back of the person in front. The person in the first line then drew the shape on the paper they had been given. Did the two shapes match?
Taking a break from the map, we got everyone back round the table with aprons on and laid out a large fresh sheet of paper. Using custom made rollers everyone rolled lines of varying texture and colour across the table to each other. A series of coloured curving lines began to criss cross the table. ‘D’ became absorbed in the task rollering back and forth, taking pleasure in building up a dense pattern of red dotted lines.
We now had a list of things that help us connect so began thinking of ways we connect. The idea of sign language came up and Jim and I were taught lots of new signing. Books, music, internet, hugs. We asked everyone in turn to stand in front of a large piece of paper on the wall and hold a pose demonstrating a particular sign while someone else drew around them to create an outline. These resulted in some really strong connecting images.
It’s exciting to see what will come out of these initial ideas.
written by Rozi