It is our first time working with Wykebeck on the Time to Shine project. Rozi & I have been exploring the collections of Lotherton Hall focusing on the Himalayan Textiles.
As I have been working on the BAME project – our focus was to have the same starting point for both of the groups and see which direction the projects go in, with an opportunity for the two groups to meet and share their journeys.
Week 1: Getting to know & transcribing part of a composite photo.
Rozi and I began with a brief intro to the project and then the 2 intro/warm-up activities – names with actions and mime your favourite thing. We had planned all activities to be methods for us to find out about people’s interests and level of ability.
The warm-up activities proved to be a little difficult. It took a lot of effort to get everyone to engage, I think this was because the table was too long and the room a little noisy. There were lots of distractions. The staff were excellent at encouraging people to join in and engage at a level they knew they could.
We passed around a photo of Lotherton Hall. ‘I saw a David Newbould exhibition there’ said DB ‘ he was my neighbour, was Dave’.
Rozi had enlarged the photo of Lotherton Hall so it spread across 15 A4 sheets, keeping a small version with a grid on it as reference.. This was the composite image and our first task was to put the pieces together. ‘Like a jigsaw’ said DB. She and PS managed to put a few pieces together.
The next stage of the activity was to recreate each piece in a different medium, coloured pencils, oil pastels & tissue paper. We wanted to see if we could do the transcribing with participants drawing out the image as a whole. This didn’t seem feasible as people were starting to lose concentration – so Rozi and I quickly traced each piece on to A4, and engaged the participants with adding colour and texture using the printed photo as reference.
Week2: Water colour activity
The session started with a quick reminder of the Lotherton Hall exhibition – Himalayan Textiles, we had some photos of the textiles which were sent around for participants to study colours, patterns and textures. This followed by a quick demonstration of how to apply the colours on the watercolour paper, creating light soft washes using lots of water against dark strong colours. Participants watched and then followed instructions.
The activity was quite therapeutic as participants concentrated and were fully engaged. M was with us this week sat at the table, taking part without any encouragement needed, “I normally fall asleep in the afternoon but this is keeping me awake”, said M whilst painting. Last week she was very sleepy and was eventually moved from the table and seated in one of the comfortable chairs.
After the watercolours we moved onto finishing off the different sections of Lotherton Hall. Some continued with the water colours whilst others chose to move onto the new activity. This time instead of using pencil crayons and tissue paper for the composite image we used water colours. People seemed quite relaxed with this medium and enjoyed painting.
All the sections of Lotherton Hall composite piece were finished – participants were chuffed with the outcome, a real group effort put into this work.
Week 3: Arranging patterns & Quick printing over the water colours
In week 3 Rozi had brought some interesting, colourful cut out paper shapes, taking inspiration from the patterns from the Himalayan textiles participants were encouraged to create interesting designs from these shapes, looking at what blocks of colours work together and how these could be placed on top of one another to create different layers.
We then moved onto the quick printing activity. Now that the participants had a little play with patterns it was a good stage for them to move onto drawing some patterns. I began with a demonstration into quick printing; everyone looked carefully whilst i drew my design on the polystyrene sheet and inked the plate up. I carefully paced it on the paper and did the first print. Everyone was amazed with the print and applauded at the end result.
It was time for them to have a go and some lovely prints emerged, the quick printing activity was the longest that people were engaged so far, to the point where people almost forgot about their tea break. K had done a row of prints and seemed quite pleased with the outcome.
Week 4: Doodle game & quick printing.
We started the session at looking at abstract imagines by a few different artists that Rozi had chosen. The purpose of the task was to get participants to voice what they could see in the images or if the artwork reminded them of anything. DB was very much on the ball, instantly she mentioned one of the images reminded her of Egypt and then went onto explain the colours and the patterns which looked like an Egyptian carpet. As we went through the images, both DB & A recognised things.
Soon after studying the abstract images, the doodle game was introduced. The idea of the game was to draw a doodle whilst counting to 5 without looking at the paper. Then looking the doodle and creating it onto something i.e. a face, animal, object etc.. After some encouragement, participants tried for the second time, but this time after the doodle, we passed the sheet onto someone else on the table to make it into something. Here the participants understood it better and showed confidence in turning someone else’s drawing into something rather than their own doodle. PP made a face – giving them red lips and some earrings. After adding the features she held her sheet up and laughed, “Look”, she seemed proud of her creation.
We moved onto our third task – Quick Printing. We laid the images from the Himalayan Exhibition. We do this every week, I think this brings some continuity and participants respond to this quite well. In the week before we had created some lovely prints on our water coloured backgrounds. This week we were developing the prints and creating repeat patterns.
Week 5:Doodle Art & Creating patterns with paper and felt
In week 5 we had a special visit planned from the ladies at BAME – it was a session where participants from both groups were brought together to share their work.
When the ladies from BAME arrived, the staff quickly placed more tables out. This created an L-shape. It wasn’t the best of arrangements but we had to stick with the idea due to limited space. Mobility issues also meant we couldn’t move any of our existing group so the BAME ladies were interspersed.
M (who uses a Zimmer frame) shifted her chair around energetically so that she sat facing the visitors. We introduced everyone and the BAME ladies initiated a wave as each new person was introduced, which felt very warm.
Once again, the doodle game was introduced to ease our new participants into the session; everyone responded well it was a good way of interacting with our visitors. Mostly faces emerged through the doodles. We went around the group showing off each art piece, with cheers for each one.
The pattern arranging activity had great results. The pieces were laid out on to A4 pieces of felt and glued down when arranged. This worked well as it was an extension to when we had done this with paper before and most of the Wykebeck were familiar with the concept. There was also the link that both groups have been studying the same collection Lotherton’s Himalayan Textile exhibition. The BAME ladies seemed to appreciate this link.