Saturday 30 June 2012


Artists Kate Dyer, Sophie Cullinan, Jo Dacombe and I worked on various parts of the Corby project to animate the route of the Torch Relay, the project was dubbed 'Torchtastic' by Sophie, in honour of her fabulous Torch inspired rattles. I spent a day at The Old Village Primary School with Sophie creating rattles and flags for the children to shake and wave when the Torch Bearers make their way through the Old Village and towards Corby town centre on July 2nd.

Sophie wealding the glue gun



Springs and flames attached

I had preprinted torch pennants for the children to embellish

After an initial feeling of "Bah Humbug" about the Torch Relay, I found myself swept up in the crowd waiting for the relay to arrive in Kettering and strangely moved by the waving and cheering which brightened the greyish, rainy day. I then felt compelled to watch the Corby leg on the internet and the next day was in Asfordby making paper flags with the children as they waited for the relay to come through on it's way to Melton Mowbray. Once again there were smiles, laughter and unexpected patience, perhaps we all need a reason to stand together and cheer, especially when many aspects of life seem increasingly grim. 

Portrait of the artist with actual Torch Relay Torch which was carried by Nicola Kenton during the Wellingborough leg of the relay. Many thanks to her Mum, Yvonne for letting me touch a little piece of Olympic history!

Friday 29 June 2012

Olympic Values Created in Silk, Plaster & Paint

In June 2012 I was delighted to return to work with Year 4 children at Barry Road Primary School in Northampton on a project to explore and express the Olympic Values in a visual format. The children created a set of silk paintings to hang in their school, a personal 'gold' medal for each participant and 6 plaques to present to their paired school. The project took place over the course of two days.

The first task was to work in groups make a drawing each of one Olympic value, the drawings were then enlarged and the children used gold gutta to outline their designs on to silk panels. While the gutta was drying, the children made their individual clay medals and group plaques which were then cast in plaster. Once the gutta was dry they added the colours to their panels and once the plaster was set the clay was pulled away to reveal their designs which were painted with gold, bronze and verdigris acrylic paint.

"The Olympic and Paralympic Games are about much more than sporting excellence. Underpinning the Games is the philosophy of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Modern Olympic Movement. He saw in the Games an ideal opportunity to develop a set of universal principles – or Values – that could be applied to education and to society as a whole, as well as to sport itself.
These Values are:

respect – fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and the environment
 excellence – how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life; taking part; and progressing 
according to one’s own objectives
friendship – how, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences

The Paralympic Values are based on the history of the Paralympic Games and the tradition of fair play and honourable sports competition.
They are:
               equality" quote from Get Set page.

The children came up with some lovely ideas to illustrate quite complex concepts and their use of colour was beautifully vibrant.








Monday 18 June 2012

Draw a Flower to Present to the Queen

Draw a Flower to Present to the Queen was a huge project which was devised and completed within a very short space of time. Artists Kate Dyer, Jo Dacombe, Sophie Cullinan and I met to discuss what could be made to delight The Queen as she passed a very large expanse of concrete wall during Her  Majesty's Diamond Jubilee visit to Corby in the 14th of June. The initial proposal was to have a drawing competition and to reproduce three of the best drawings. I thought it a shame that only three children's work would be used if this idea was adopted. My recent involvement with a Jubilee Woods Tree Planting and the Royal interest in gardens and gardening made me suggest that children in Corby could be invited to draw or paint a flower to become part of a series of digital print silk wall hangings. This format would ensure that many more images made by the children could be incorporated. We wanted schools to encourage their pupils to look at real flowers or photographs of real flowers. To help with this I created a set of images on Flickr incorporating lots of different types of flowers captured in my garden and on my travels. A template and set of instructions was created and circulated to all the schools and within a very short space of time flowers of all kinds came flooding in to Corby Community Arts HQ! Jo and I used some of our allocated Beanfield time to work with children in the Nursery and Kate and I visited Year 6 pupils at Cottingham Primary School. We were delighted with the volume and quality of the work submitted and hugely grateful to the participating schools who made sure that as many children as possible took part. Kate and team of amazing volunteers scanned the images and then Kate laid them out in a huge grid - a long process but the end results were beautiful. Not every image could be incorporated on the hangings but every child's name was entered into a draw to choose two people to present a bouquet to the Queen and every child has been credited in the information board. My photographs don't really do justice to the work but give a flavour of the end results but the hangings are currently on display inside the Core.

Kate Dyer

View from above during installation

Friday 8 June 2012

Sure Start Felting Project in Melton Mowbray Begins

I have finally started my Let's Celebrate felting project to make bunting and wall hangings to celebrate all that The Edge, The Cove and Fairmead Sure Start Centres mean to their community. Participants will be creating bunting and wall hangings out of wool - using un-spun wool, soap, very hot water, friction and rolling. 

The themes for the bunting are :- the Jubilee, sports, Olympics, celebrations, history etc and can be a pattern or a picture. These will add a festive feel to the entrances of the Sure Start Centres.

The themes for the Wall Hangings - possibly taken from a child's drawing, or an image about friendship, support, advice, growing, nature, healthy eating, fitness, play or featuring a local landmark!

Hopefully participants will also make something to take home too! The photos below are from the first sessions in May.

Dates and times for the future sessions at the following Sure Start Centres for local parents 

June 25th,
July 16th
July 23rh–

Contact  (01664) 502479 to book

June 26th
July 17th,
July 24th –

Contact  (01664) 502345 to book

June 26th
July 17th
July 24th – 

 Contact  (01664) 502429 to book

Sessions are free but booking is advised.

Monday 4 June 2012

Jubilee Trees Update

I recently went back to the Old Water Tower to see how the Jubilee trees were doing, Ros has made a lovely entrance to the field with these specially designed gates.

The Royal Oak Sapling, grown from seeds gathered from Royal Estates, for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee  is thriving, as are the rest of the trees,

 which are now in grouped protective enclosures. 

During the hard to remember dry spell earlier this year Ros kept the trees well watered and they have repaid her efforts with plenty of new leaves. I'll be back to report on them as they grow, but they are in good hands and ready for all to share in their future beauty. The field is also starting it's new life as a creative space!

The first workshops to take place in the field will be run by artist Emma Davies, who also helped on the planting day, follow the link below for full details

‘The Water Tower’
Brigstock, NN14 3JA

Family Art Workshops - “Land as Material” 
For ages 7 years and upwards

Saturday 23rd June 2012

‘Upcycled Sketchbooks and a spot of Plein Air Sketching’  
10am – 12pm