New Expressions: Kendal Skies

We’ve had a bonus week of sky exploring, making cloudy labels, finding accidental clouds and drawing golden eagles in flight. Geoff drew his eagle in great confidence with oil pastel and then layered it over his painted cliffside. Kenneth used chalk pastels to create an atmposheric sky.

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During preparations for the workshop, a little bunch of pristine white labels had been dropped into a tray of ink! A happy accident! This was the inspiration for utilisng the paper that we had used to protect the floor from paint when we were painting the parasol. This was covered in drips and puddles of lovely paint and created a feeling of clouds! And so the group cut out ‘accidental’ clouds, printed weather inspired words on inky labels and continued to use paint to capture the swirling feeling of cloudy skies.

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Pat created the word ‘smog’ remembering her early life in London and Joyce selected areas of dripped paint to create an accidental cloud. Annette scumbled and blended sky and cloud with paint. John drew an image of the sky with language written into the swirling shapes.

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John loves the cloud book, and this led us outside to look at the skies. And back inside, the words to Somewhere Over the Rainbow filled the rooms and Annette and Pat painted rainbows.

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New Expressions Week 3 in Kendal

Unsettled outside today, but inside Unit 31, such a buzz of creative activity!

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Pat was very taken with the parasol sky and although she finds it very difficult to hold paintbrushes at the moment, she thoroughly enjoyed getting as close as possible and reaching out to feel the fabric. We covered her in plastic sheeting as the sky painters were very expressive with their paintwork today!

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Meanwhile, the printing, collaging and stitching into cloud sections continued. Mary had found some songs inspired by the weather, so the afternoon was punctuated by joyful bursts of Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, I’m Singin’ in the Rain, and Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

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Harriet and Ruth were folding lengths of dyed fabric to be used to carry lines of poetry into the canopy. A new word – cloud-folding! And a lovely connection with the first poem to be created by the group this summer – it’s title – ‘Unfolding a Sky Map.

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They spent time looking again at the map….

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…..before the weather itself drew us outside. What a sky! Enormous. Tumultous. Glorious!

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And the sky, never before so beautiful, seeps into our hearts to hold them like dreams….

New Expressions: Developing Sky

Harriet kicked off today with a beautiful poem inspired by John’s reading last week from Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal, describing a memorable journey in the rain. We also sang Happy Birthday to Martin, welcomed Peter and Rosa, ate flapjack and explored the map! Geoff and Joan particularly enjoyed looking closely at moments within the map from recent weeks.

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Geoff found a moment from last week at Grasmere, his first glimpse of Uta’s blue sky in the rain.

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Harriet read an extract from AE Houseman’s A Shropshire Lad – ‘From far, from eve and morning / And yon twelve-winded sky, the stuff of life to knit me / Blew hither: here am I’. And this led into working on the inner panels for the parasol……

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The studio was full of beautiful shades of blue, and we very quickly got busy mixing colour inspired by the range of cloudscapes collages. Painted and printed pieces will be layered together and stitched into the inside of the parasol.

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And throughout the afternoon, the parasol itself began to be transformed into the sky….

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We ended the afternoon with a display of cloud paintings and prints and a discussion about the day. John had worked expressively in paint and with words – ‘in clouds of joy’. Mandy described feeling like a real artist, forgetting herself and just working really intuitively. Jack had struggled through a question about how to do it and resolved it! Geoff had brought photographs of him climbing in the French Alps and painted a mountain side reaching into the clouds. We talked about high walks and low walks and being out ‘whatever the weather’. Martin said he has always loving walking and described in detail a walk to Keswick many years ago. Annette communicated immense pleasure, and not just the pleasure of the moment of creative activity, but throughout the rest of the week she finds herself noticing more – looking up at the sky, looking at colours in nature. Pat was happy to be there, enjoying the buzz of conversation and activity. Nita worked on the parasol with great energy, at one point holding a paintbrush between her teeth as she used another to work paint into the cloth, maintaining a commentary throughout! Pat watched her with evident enjoyment.

At the end of the afternoon, Harriet crawled under the parasol and opened it up and we could see more of the sky that was growing – and have a look at the inside….lovely to see stains of painting flowing through. The parasol will find its way to Penrith on Tuesday for further transformation!

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Harriet listened as we talked and created a poem from fragments of the conversation. Lovely to have creative activity and engagement reflected back to the group so beautifully. A wonderful afternoon.

The Making of The Yellow Wallpaper

We started The Yellow Wallpaper project with Emilie Taylor and Space2Create in March and are almost ready to unveil their finished work! This ceramic installation, inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic text of the same name, was made at Blackwell and will be displayed in the yellow bedroom until 6 September 2015. Please join us on 14 July 2015 to celebrate the project, view the work and meet the women who made it.

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When we left off last time, the group had just finished rolling out tiles. These were left to dry while we discussed Gilman’s work and developed motifs inspired by her story. We used collage to merge our motifs with a wallpaper pattern that runs through each tile and then traced our designs directly onto the tiles. Next, we filled our designs in with yellow liquid clay – or slip.

The final step was adding a bit of detail. We used pencils, pens, and needles to scratch through the slip and reveal dark brown clay beneath – a process called sgraffito. And here they are, ready to be fired!

The colours will change after they come out of the kiln and we can’t wait to see how they turn out!

Please RSVP to Jasmine O’Flaherty at 015394 46139 or rsvp@blackwell.org.uk if you would like to attend the opening at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House on 14 July 2015 from 2:30 – 4:30.

 

Saturdays with a Splash!

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On Saturday 14th and Saturday 21st March, the team from Windermere Jetty were at Brockhole exploring forces, engineering, the environment and habitats to celebrate British Science Week 

This week long festival celebrates STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. The British Science Association encourages a range of different organisations across Britain to get involved and provide activities for families and schools. We decided to give it a go!

Through different activities over the two days, we explored the environment around Brockhole and delved into the science behind our wonderful collection of boats. We made boats, played with cargo (one pence coins) to see if tin foil boats would float, went pond dipping, recorded our adventures and played with wild words.

A lot of fun was had, and although they might not have realised it because they were having such a great time, our visitors learnt more about science. We’re quite crafty like that! These events also gave us the chance to try out ideas for activities that we will be able to run at Windermere Jetty when the new museum opens. So you see, we learnt something too.

Thank you to everybody who dropped in to see us over the two days, it was lovely to meet you all. Also a big thank you to the team at Brockhole, Seb from Cumbria Wildlife Trust for his pond dipping skills and Ian Douglas for his Wild Words.

Look out for more activities and events at Brockhole with the Windermere Jetty team.

 

 

Wellbeing Matters

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Lakeland Arts is proud of our work with community groups, particularly older people who might not ordinarily visit cultural spaces, including enabling access for people in residential care homes such as the Leonard Cheshire Home at Holehird. A recent project, Powerful Objects, used The Great Picture and Lady Anne Clifford as inspiration for creating a Great Picture of our own lives using iPad technology. Wonderful stories are emerging!

Projects such as this are helping Lakeland Arts to play our part in improving “wellbeing”, which is a measure of physical, social, emotional and mental health. ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ have been identified by the Government – these are a series of “living well indicators” that, if present, will support wellbeing. The five indicators are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

Health and social care organisations, Council services, cultural and creative organisations such as Lakeland Arts and other charities such as Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society, are using these indicators as a tool kit to help older people to stay healthy and to live more independently for longer.

We are embracing the wellbeing initiative by training all our staff to be Dementia Friends and promoting the Five Ways to Wellbeing in order to help people to connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give. Donna Storey, Service Development Manager, Adult Social Care, Cumbria County Council, says that creative and cultural organisations have a crucial part to play:

“Support for people living with dementia and their carers is a priority for the Health and Wellbeing strategy for Cumbria as the prevalence of dementia is expected to increase across the county. The work that Lakeland Arts is undertaking provides a significant local contribution to the creation of a dementia friendly society in Cumbria.”

Anne-Marie Quinn
Engagement Officer