Wednesday 4 December 2013

not in education, employment or training

Disappointed to report that my project with young people not in education, employment or training at The Hepworth Wakefield has been cancelled due to low attendance. We are now planning to deliver the three week course in March 2014 - so fingers crossed for a creative spring.

Saturday 26 October 2013

38 hoe street

Back to my old haunt of Walthamstow for an exciting project engaging local primary school children with a new artwork in Walthamstow Town Square by Richard Woods. Woods work seeks to extend the legacy of William Morris's ideology and practice through his hand (or foot made!) printing methods and is perfectly located with the William Morris Gallery a 15 minute walk away from the Town Square.

This commission is part of a wider project showcasing a series of improvements for Walthamstow Town Square and Hoe Street. 


I'm very excited about working on the first Level 2 Integrated Youth Programme at The Hepworth Wakefield this December. Using the exhibition programme as inspiration our three week course will introduce young people to creative processes and ways of looking, thinking and making. Participants will work together to develop an idea from initial concept through to completion and benefit from an increased sense of self-worth as they set goals, develop and manage their own workload.

Thursday 5 September 2013

high light

Interpretation text and exhibition images below from last nights celebration event at The Hepworth Wakefield, an amazing finale to our Unitas Summer Arts College. All young people achieved their Bronze Arts Award, all are going onto further education, all have improved their social skills and 7 out of the 8 have improved their literacy and numeracy skills. I'm very proud of their achievements.

Thank you to Gillian, Reuben, Andrew, Joe, Siobhan, Vikki, April, Nat, Vic, Kate and everyone else at The Hepworth Wakefield and Wakefield YOT who supported this project. Thank you to the young peoples friends and families who crowded the learning studios last night and took a keen interest in the learning and achievements of the young people. It was the most celebratory celebration I've ever attended!

High Light
bright   exciting   awesome   fantastic   absolutely amazing
dark and funny   geometric shapes   massive big commitment

An exhibition created and curated by eight young people from the Wakefield District. The artworks are inspired by the artist Haroon Mirza, whose work is on display in Galleries 1 and 10.

We invite you to explore the space and expereince some of the sights and sounds of the Summer Arts College, captured by the young people using a variety of media during an intensive three weeks of creative activities.

The young people visited:

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The balls of gas burned bright as televisions, the stars
were as bright as the moon

Chantry Chapel

The shadows of darkness are like caves
no longer feeling down as we bring music

Emley Moor Transmitting Station (with a special ascent of 330 meters to the top)

We traveled the sky, we squeezed up tight to see the light
The lift going down sounded like a marching band

They also visited an artist's studio in Sheffield where they made steel sculpture.

The young people have worked with sculptor Gillian Brent, visual artist Karen Logan, DJ and producer Reuben Griffiths and poet Andrew McMillan. Each young person has achieved a bronze level Arts Award qualification.

Stay in the light   Keep it right   Stomp my buildings

 Film - sound -  structure - light

Showcasing the young peoples achievements

Our journey in pictures

 Intervention in Haroon Mirza's exhibition

Another viewpoint...

welding + words

Its hard to believe that the Unitas Summer Arts College at The Hepworth Wakefield is almost over. The third week has passed in a flash with the young people welding steel structures in Sculptor Gillian Brent's Sheffield studio and forming interpretation and poetic responses with the positive energy and nurture of Andrew McMillan.

This week has been challenging in terms of behaviour and testing boundaries. The SAC is an intensive process requiring high levels of attendance, commitment and participation for young people who may not have engaged in education for some time and have added challenges around literacy and numeracy. It was hard to judge what the group were thinking as frequent comments of 'this is shit' were accompanied by daily attendance. I've since learnt that their attendance is a great achievement and at a basic level 'this is shit' is a response, which is no bad thing...

The group have all passed their Bronze Arts Awards this week, a fantastic achievement and for some their first qualification. We are also striving for improvements in literacy, numeracy and social skills and will find out the results of their tests next week.

So now to hang and stage the work for the groups celebration event on Wednesday 4th September. The groups exhibition, High Light is showing at The Hepworth Wakefield from Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th September in the learning studios.  

Camera skills

 Projected poems

Body outline/post-it note - sharing positive attributes

Structures made by the young people

 Steel and light

Friday 23 August 2013

audio visual

The second week of our Unitas Summer Arts College at The Hepworth Wakefield has flown by! We ventured beyond the gallery visiting two very different buildings, the diminutive 700 year old Chantry Chapel and the towering Emley Moor Mast, both buildings can be seen from the gallery windows. These visits were arranged with special access for our group. The young people performed as preachers in the chapel and decended a tiny winding stairway to the cript. At the Emley Moor Mast we asended to the dizzying hight of 330 meters to breathtaking views of Yorkshire, well worth the 7 minutes in the rattling lift! The young people pushed themselves to overcome fears and reach the top, though one commented, 'this is not my cup of tea!' The youth workers and artists felt very proud of them all. Everyone collected sounds and snippets of video.

In the gallery and learning studios we explored drawing, printing, carving, sculpture, sound recording, video, video editing and created invites and titled the show. Summing up all we have done in a title was a real challenge and it took some time to reach agreement, the group decided on High Light. On top of this the young people continued to work towards their Bronze Arts Award. 

We finished the week on a high, watching a film the young people created and stared in, showing their experience of this project. Unbiasedly, I can state the film is fantastic and I'm so excited about sharing the groups work with family and friends at the celebration event at The Hepworth Wakefield on the 4th September. One week to go!

 Drawing the Haroon Mirza show

 Emley Moor Mast

 330 meters above West Yorkshire

 But... what to call it?

 Drawing and collage

Stained glass

Saturday 10 August 2013

light and structure

Yesterday we began our three week Unitas Summer Arts College project with the Wakefield YOT at The Hepworth Wakefield. We are getting to know each other, testing boundaries, finding inspiration, trying new things and beginning a journey that will culminate in a celebration and exhibition opening on the 4th September 2013.

Sunday 28 July 2013

art pod

I've been busy working away on a series of new activities for the Hepworth Gallery Art Pod. The pods, situated in the galleries, encourage children and their families to explore the collection and create stitched, drawn, collaged, spoken, 2D and 3D responses.  

Tuesday 23 July 2013

if i keep doing what i've always done...

I’ve been pottering and thinking and waiting.

During some stressful times of late sewing has been a refuge, making, mending and altering calming my mind and helping me gain balance. I’m conscious that this sewing is not ‘work’, its a place of treading water and I want to embrace this, but as a person for whom ‘doing’ and ‘being’ overlap I can easily end up feeling lost and unsure. So... deep breaths.

This year has been special in that I’ve allowed myself time to think. If I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll keep getting what I’ve always got. What will happen if I become conscious around this? Right now this is feeling pretty uncomfortable in terms of self identification, who am I? Who could I be? What’s important?

I’m about to spend the whole of August putting my energies into others, working on the family programme and the Unitas Summer Arts College with young offenders at The Hepworth Wakefield. I’m ready to be drawn out of my pondering and focus on others responses and needs.

Finding a balance, isn’t that something we are all striving for?

I’ll be posting about the Summer Arts College as we progress, working towards a celebration event and exhibition in early September - so watch this space.

Sunday 16 June 2013

watch this space

At the beginning of May I moved into my studio at Blackhorse Lane Studios, E17. It's been so great to unpack my inspirations, materials and equipment and begin to think about what might come next.

Monday 13 May 2013


People flocked to the Mint Street Adventure Playground last saturday to celebrate the consultation process for the potential transformation of this vibrant and loved interior space. The Building Exploratory commissioned me to work with the children who vitalise, ignite and give meaning to this space to express their ideas and inform potential changes. See here and here for my previous posts on my Mint Street adventure.

We worked with families, challenging the children to create a diorama of an interior they would like to spend time in. With a range of card, paper, textures, stickers and glue they got to work inventing places to socialise and relax in. Some spaces included complex structures to climb on, most included movable walls to create temporary sections within the space. These inventive interiors can adapt to the needs of the moment. A living space, a responsive space. 

All day long my workshop was full of making, testing, sharing. I got to spend time with some familiar faces and meet new families. A perfect day. 

We are ready!

 Sisters working together

 A toddlers contribution

A suggested interior

craft and social change

Norwegian Crafts hosted their second London conference which examined crafts contribution to shaping society. Craft and Social Change was a thought provoking day and a half with a succession of fascinating speakers. In the days since I've been observing what thoughts have been triggered and what ideas keep returning. The speaker who seems to have lodged in my brain is Irene Nygardsvik, she trained as an economist but couldn't act in a way that traditional economic theory dictated, i.e, to get the most output with the least input. Irene feels this kind of thinking takes away love and she proposes A Humanistic Economy Based on Generosity and Dignity. She believes we are entering an era where it is time to get lost, explore and create playful and creative relations.

What resonated for me was the poetic notion of 'the soil of the soul'. A place within each of us where while engaged in a particular activity we are in flow, lit up, inspired and most US. She believes you can sense when another has been into the soil of their soul, when you read their words, see their work, hear their music and can tell they found gold. What I particularly enjoyed was the idea suggested by Irene that human beings are 'a wandering measuring tool of quality' and goosebumps are the sign from our intuition and emotions that we have found quality. Always take notice of your goosebumps!

A decade ago during my MA show at Goldsmiths College, London, I received a compliment I've never forgotten. Someone told me the hairs had stood up on their arms when they walked into my installation, the piece (a slide projection in a dark space of the image below) had bypassed their intellect and registered with their primitive brain. Yes yes yes.

Theres No Place Like Home, 2003

When speaking of the soil of the soul, Irene shared this poem by Jon Fosse.

Let the rain pour
Let the sun see
Let the wind blow
Let my heart beat

Tuesday 16 April 2013

edges and boundaries

See fabrication post for details and images from my first session at Mint Street Adventure Playground on friday 5th April. The overriding memory from this session was that the girls (mostly) created the spaces and the boys settled into the spaces and played computer games. The girls then went on to create a girl only space in which they sat quietly and thoughtfully considered words to physically and emotionally describe the interior they had created.

The second session on wednesday 10th April had a different feel. This week issues around boundary, respect and rules came to the foreground. Passwords and knocking before entering were required, rules about who was allowed entry and who was barred. This led to some conflict and a few disagreements and tears. 

With my encouragement the space was in constant flux, remaining open to change, unmade and remade. For some children this was challenging as they became attached to their space and wanted it to remain static. Engaging children new to the activity into making alterations and expressing their ideas was hard on some of the previous creators who's spaces were dismantled in the process. It was a tightrope that needed to be walked. 

Boys unpacking and getting ready for play

A sunny day at last

Intriguing installation  

 Great image captured by Millie

Unmake, remake


Word Cloud created from the children's writing about their spaces

Tuesday 9 April 2013


The Building Exploratory have been appointed by Southwark Council to work with the local community to consider how the building at Mint Street Adventure Playground could be redeveloped. They asked me to work with the children and young people who use the space to seek their voice and ideas for this redevelopment.

The children/young people play outside in a marvelous adventure playground and I wanted to bring this sense of play indoors. By introducing lengths of colourful fabric into the interior space the participants were given free rein to temporarily alter space, change proportions, build dens, hide away, layer spaces, move and act differently. We interviewed the creators about their spaces, what they liked about them and what they could be used for. Written and drawn responses to the intervention were created and displayed as we worked. I'll be at Mint Street tomorrow between 1pm-4pm for another afternoon of invention and play.

 Games were invented, movement initiated 

Pegs and joins

  Carefully pegging the fabric

 A den

 Looking out from inside the den

 Working as a team

 Boys den

 A space created by a mum and her 5 year old daughter. Mum 
felt comfortable and breast fed her baby daughter here.