Session 6 – Free Machine Embroidery & Physical Warm Up.
The focus of this session was to complete some of the activities we started last week. This included finishing our circus stories and having a practice at creating paired still images whilst I took F and did a one to one session on the sewing machine, experimenting with free machine embroidery and embellishing the batik work using beads. F had a clear vision of how she wanted her textile piece to turn out.
There were also physical warm up activities for participants to take part in. Ellie lead this, we stretched out our arms to the ceiling, using muscle tension then gently relaxed our wrists, elbows, shoulders and knees. The group were waking up! G was much more vibrant and giggled through this activity she took part with full participation. Each of the adults had a turn in leading this activity too, it was fun!
Session 7 – Cartwright Hall Visit, Textile Props and Photo shoot.
The participants had been to see the Circus Installation at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery. G, R & D were excited to see the exhibition and instantly recognised some of the props and costumes they had been working from in the previous weeks. I was especially pleased with R and how he went around and looked at the costumes in the exhibition and showed interest while D & G were able to identify the patterns from the costumes that they had been studying and drawing in their sketchbooks. Ellie had created an activity sheet where participants had to go around and find certain shapes and colours. Everyone took well to this activity; even R went around with his support worker and completed the activity sheet. Each participant were given goody bags with a magnify glass, view finder, pencil crayons, these were used very well.
Back at the centre, we shared our experiences we those participants who could not join the Cartwright Hall visit and then went onto creating our own props.
The stories created were printed onto transfer paper and then ironed onto colourful felt. These were then sewn into bow ties. The bow ties and masks were used for the photo shoot along with other wonderful props.
Session 8 – Tie dye and Photo shoot.
In this session we started to draw materials together ready for our celebration event, which meant this session had a real ‘buzz’. We had the stories to transfer onto fabric, some participants finished off their photo shoot and I was leading a tie-dying activity to make cushions for the centre. Both Ellie and I found that leading different activities at the same time enabled the room to become more vibrant and allowed us to experience more one to one moments with the participants. We were also able to utilise each other’s activities into our own which made the sessions feel more fluid.
We split off to do the two separate activities. I had a table set up for the tie and dye activity whilst Maya and Ellie began with the photo shoot. D did really well by remembering his story and the prop which we allocated to his character. He was quick to get into the first few poses and tried different gestures, expressions and ways to stand.
The tie and dye activity went really well some real concentration and amazing outcomes. G was very focused, she knew exactly what colours she was going to use, pink & purple was her colour theme.
Week 9 – Sewing up the cushions
We started the session with a memory game, we went around each participant who had to choose one thing they saw at the circus but at the same time remember what everyone else saw as well. This meant it was easy for the first person but the last person would have to remember what everyone else had seen before they chose something of their own. It was fun and participants did very well to help one another with gestures to prompt them.
The session was again split up into two activities. I worked with participants on the sewing machine helping them to sew up their cushions whist Ellie & Maya delivered a movement activity creating a fabric web.
Week 10 – Celebration Event
This session marked the end of our Year 1 Richmond Hill project and our celebration event was open to the participants and artists in Naburn. We had visited the Naburn celebration event the week before, it was lovely to do the exchange as we made new friends and shared our art.
Ellie, Maya and I transformed the room into an exhibition space, with masks, bow ties and pillows hanging from the ceiling, sketch pads and characters drawings were presented on the table as well as a collection of photographs from Cartwright Hall Visit pinned on the wall. I had also framed the wonderful Batik work created by the group and presented these on the window bottoms.
We wanted to mirror our visit to Cartwright Hall and invited the group to walk – ‘promenade’ around the room, with our tour guide / circus ringleader Maya. It took some time for the group to warm to this, but after some clear instructions from Maya and gentle encouragement we began really exploring the pieces as works of art.
Maya had prepared some wonderful clips of footage from the project, along with verbal descriptions of their circus characters. The group sat quietly and watched with great interest, the room felt very full and everyone was focused.
We then moved onto two separate activities, mask making with myself and a photo booth circus themed prop station with Ellie & Maya. I felt this opportunity really brought the two groups together and more conversations started to naturally emerge. L (from Naburn) seemed to really connect with this activity and looked forward to having her photograph taken as so did the other participants. G enjoyed making her mask and then modelled this with some of the other props.
The wonderful event finished with some lovely cake, happy participants and the three artists pictured with their props!
By Musarat Raza