Tuesday 30 December 2014

we drew

Its been hectic staring my new job at Drew Primary School in Newham. Amazing that I get to work with every child and teacher in the school, so far I've created with years 1, 3, 5 and 6, two classes per year group, thats about 240 children! I'm currently planning for years 2 and 4 and will meet these classes on the 5th and 6th of January 2015. Drew is a creative place with music and physical education a central part of the curriculum. Each art project is based on whatever book the class is currently reading and my knowledge of children's literature is blossoming through Skellig, Ice Trap, Emily Brown and The Thing and Tales of Wisdom and Wonder. I've just read A Necklace of Raindrops and Varjak Paw in preparation for the spring term and ideas are flowing.

I've not taken one photograph this past term, the intention exists .. but there is no time! So, I've been thinking over my memorable moments at Drew and this one stands out. In a year 6 class we were considering why an artist would make sculpture out of a temporary material like ice, I asked the class, why? What is the value of this? One of the pupils raised her hand and said, 'because nothing stays the same, everything is always changing'. I've not remembered the exact words used but the hairs on my arms stood up at this wise and profound statement coming from an 11 year old, showing her innate understanding and emotional intelligence. Watch out, I think this girl will take over the world!

Also, there are a couple of boys in year 3 who found it almost impossible to start a drawing, scared maybe that they would do it 'wrong', I never quite got to the bottom of it... Each week after encouraging them to try I began their drawing for them and they happily coloured in my work, at times there would be tears as I wouldn't draw straight away, giving them a chance to begin for themselves. On the last day of our seven week project they both (the boys are in different classes
) quietly drew and coloured their work, one showing me and telling me he was proud, the other working at his desk and me discovering him. I praised them both and wondered at their perfectly timed turn around and felt pleased that a small/big step had been made. 

It's nice that Drew is called drew, because that is what we've done.

Art Portfolios, year 3

Wednesday 3 September 2014

ways of looking

This quote is so wonderful, from Kasper, a young person on my Ways of Looking: Future Youth Inspired Project at Pitzhanger Manor last month. He shared with us that he had experienced bullying at school and didn't feel he was a popular pupil. 

'It was a calm course with no pressure and I made friends.'


Oh my! I've had a REALLY busy summer. The Hepworth have kept me on my toes with the Out & About project coming to a close in June, I also developed a celebratory activity for the start of The Grand Depart in Leeds, delivering that on a sunny weekend at the beginning of July. As well as supporting family activities at the gallery I co-delivered the Summer Arts College for young offenders in August. In July I exhibited my work for the first time in The Leytonstone Arts Trail, and another first was creating and delivering a project for young people at Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing. 

I'm now on the brink of a year of creativity at Drew Primary School in Newham, working with every class and teacher inventing bespoke art projects - amazing!

Currently on the search for a studio share as the regular work at Drew means I can take on a space! Its time for my practice and to manifest the ideas buzzing around in my head.

Friday 25 July 2014

out & about - june

Out and About is over - boo hoo! See my previous post for an overview of this fantastic project. The images below show our visits to Yorkshire Sculpture ParkLeeds Art Gallery and The Hepworth Wakefield, part of The Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle

What I've enjoyed most about Out and About is the depth and breadth of art and sculpture the participants were able to engage with. Each visit building on what had been seen and considered before, gently developing a comprehensive knowledge of contemporary sculpture. Its been a tactile first hand experience engaging hearts and minds as we've shared personal viewpoints, ideas and feelings in relation to the work.

The Hepworth Wakefield was the venue for our final sessions with the three schools involved and with cake and squash we celebrated the achievements of children, parents, teaching assistants and teachers. We hope to see the children again and gave out gallery guides detailing our free family workshops this summer. In the last few days I've met a couple of the children at these workshops and we were really happy to see each other!

 Exploring YSP

 Large Owl (for B), Thomas Houseago at YSP

 Yet to be titled (Large Walking Figure), Thomas Houseago at Leeds Art Gallery

 Drawing outside Leeds Art Gallery

 Talking with the children outside The Hepworth Wakefield

Working in gallery 5 - Franz West and Barbara Hepworth

Sunday 20 July 2014

giant sculpture

Had fun this weekend supporting sculptor Gillian Brent building giant furniture outside the Hepworth Wakefield. Families were inspired by Franz West and his interactive works that are activated and only become art when gallery visitors sit on sofas within the exhibition. 

 Table with fruit bowl

 Table and cup

 A giant bed, carefully wrapped with wool

Detail of a wool wrapped chair and table

Sunday 6 July 2014

the grand depart

Much excitement in Yorkshire this weekend as the Tour de France set off from Leeds. We got into the spirit at The Hepworth Wakefield inviting families to work together to build a giant cyclist viewable from the sky. Our cyclist was drawn by a very talented 6 year old and scaled up to 15 x 9 meters, families used sports and play equipment, including skipping ropes, bean bags, colourful parachutes and swimming noodles to create our drawing on the grass outside the gallery.

A really wonderful weekend with so many fantastic ideas from the children. With thanks to volunteers Ann, Hilary, Partick and Sophie. Thanks also to Alex who took the first photo below.

Saturday 5th July
Stage 1: Leeds to Harrogate

Sunday 6th July
Stage 2: York to Sheffield
With thanks to volunteers Hilary and Rebecca

Thursday 3 July 2014

over and under

Thrilled to be exhibiting with Lucy Williams during the Leytonstone Arts Trail which began today in various venues in E11, London. Over and Under is showing at The Stone Space until the 13th of July. We both haven't exhibited for a couple of years so the trail provides a perfect opportunity to tentatively open up practice and meet local folk.

This is our joint statement:

We met at an Arts Trail meeting earlier this year and found a connection with our practices, the cross overs are the materials we use and thought processes and concepts behind the work. We use time consuming methods, working by hand to stitch and knit exploring issues such as belonging, absence and place. We also shared that finding time for our practices was a challenge and hoped that setting this goal could provide a springboard into making more work.

We decided to use the Leytonstone Arts Trail to begin a conversation between selected works. We wonder how meanings may alter and new ideas emerge from this staging and the possibilities of future conversations together. 

Over and Under at The Stone Space

Selection of works from my Close Knit project

Lucy WilliamsWorn Jackets (detail), 2014. Jackets, wool and buttons


Friday 30 May 2014

out & about - may

Out and About is an exciting project at The Hepworth Wakefield working with local school children and their parents exploring sculpture at venues on their doorstep. Firstly, we went further afield to North Yorkshire, visiting the breathtaking landscape of Brimham Rocks and wondering if the rock formations were created by nature or human hands. Our next visit was to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, looking at and touching works by Barbara Hepworth and Thomas Houseago, we also viewed the delicate works of Ursula Von Rydingsvard and the children were transfixed. In June we are off to Leeds Art Gallery and Henry Moore Institute and our final destination will be The Hepworth Wakefield. 

During our project we are considering natural sculptural forms, sculpture in the landscape, sculpture in the cityscape and sculpture in a purpose built gallery. My intention is that the families will gain confidence in looking at art and continue their questioning and exploring together beyond the Out and About project.

With all good intentions I never get a chance to photograph my workshops while working, so here are a couple to whet your appetite, I’ll post more about the project in June.

Explorer backpacks for visits to Brimham Rocks and The Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Coach activity packs for the long journey to Brimham Rocks!

all aboard

Family fun at The Hepworth Wakefield using grass as a surface for drawing.

Monday 14 April 2014


movement in space - 3

Our Movement in Space project at The Hepworth Wakefield came to a finale during the Wakefield Artwalk at the end of March. Our group of young people led an activity they designed and developed called Crazy Sculpture Web and invited members of the public to get involved. A wide range of people participated and had fun inventing sculpture with pound shop tat, playing and laughing over their creations and transforming the studio spaces with sculpture and colour. 

Sign by Kayleigh

A young participant enjoys the space

Inventing with everyday stuff

An inviting space

Wednesday 19 March 2014

movement in space - 2

Our project with young people at The Hepworth Wakefield is flying by. Yesterday we took a trip to Leeds Art Gallery and viewed two exhibitions, Polychromies: Surface, Light and Colour and Bruce McLean: Another Condition of Sculpture. The group made responses to the artworks through drawing, imagining, discussing ideas and writing poems. After viewing McLean's photograph titled Disposable Sculpture Work the group made work out of paper and as we walked to the train station deposited these works in the city.

A challenging discussion was initiated by McLeans ideas of disposable artwork and I told the group about Michael Landy's Break Down, in which the artist took a year to catalogue all his belongings then destroyed them in the former C&A store on Oxford street. We talked about value and whether money and possessions can bring happiness.

Today the young people began planning their activity for gallery visitors during the Wakefield Artwalk next week. It's going to be brilliant!

Monday 10 March 2014

movement in space - 1

At The Hepworth Wakefield today we began our three week project with young people inspired by the current exhibitions by artists Erika Vogt and Philip-Lorca diCorcia. Movement in Space includes drawing, sculpture, print, installation, photography and stop frame animation. The young people are working towards an Arts Award qualification and the creation and delivery of activities for the Wakefield Artwalk later this month.  

Monday 3 March 2014


Close Knit is a project I conjured up in 2009, a way of working with family graves, landscape and textile process. The sixth gravestone cosy has been problematic and led to a pause in the project that I'm picking up again after three years. This work involves the practical: researching and finding graves, traveling to them, measuring, photographing, creating a knitting pattern, knitting the pattern and then returning to photograph the work in situ. This part of the process simply requires a desire to make the work and action. The less tangible is tuning into what would be the 'right' colour for a relative, many of whom I knew only vaguely, some who were dead before I was born. With Violet I've had my biggest struggle to date, odd really when she is my only relative who's name is a colour.

I began to make Violet's cosy while living in Sheffield. In a department store I bought six balls of lilac wool, my first hunch on her colour. I knitted the whole front panel of the cosy and didn't enjoy it one bit. The wool was poor quality, knotted in places and I had to cut away knots and create joins in the knitting, easy to hide but irritating. When I'd knitted the panel I found my colour choice too obvious for a lady who died in her early 80's. I unravelled the knit and gave the wool away. Next I bought six balls of purple wool, didn't knit too much of this and quickly realised this was wrong too. It didn't 'feel' right and this project is as much about feeling and intuition as it is about practical choices.

This week I've begun again, and am sure this time. I've booked tickets to Bristol for early April, giving myself a challenging deadline to finish the work which I'll site three years since my last visit to her grave on a beautiful spring day.

Aunty Vi was shy, beautiful and gentle. My mum's favourite sister.