Friday, 5 July 2013

Art and Words - a creative collaboration - my first school workshop

Two years ago if you had told that I would be taking my creativity into a school, working in collaboration with a writer and delivering my first workshop to twenty  Year 2 children I'd have laughed in your face and told you to stop being so silly!! Little, did I know what lay ahead....
Thanks to the Harley Christmas Market 2012 and the ideas which arose from a bit of reflection after the event and a bit of encouragement from my Mentor, Debbie Bryan, I decided to embark on a bit of a mission to explore the possibility of working with children in a school setting. As chance would have I then got to meet written Lisa Shipman when I was Artist in Residence at the Nottingham Festival of Words. We got chatting at the closing ceremony for the Festival and exchanged contact details with the hope we might be able to work together in the future.....

So, fast forward 4 months, to this time last week as I was frantically packing my marker pens and collage supplies and was off to my first Collaborative School Workshop at St Marys School in Bulwell, with Writer, Lisa Shipman. I'd never taken part in a workshop before and had no experience at all of working with the little people, so needless to say I was feeling a little bit hesitant. Luckily for me, Lisa has been working with the school as part of her Creative Writing degree so she knew what she was doing and she took charge and made me feel at ease straight away.

We had decided on the brief outline of our workshop and, working with two groups of ten children, we laid out the paper for our huge murals and I got to work with an initial landscape image for the children to begin working on.

One group started, with the help and guidance of Lisa, adding words to the art work, describing things they loved about the landscape, things they liked to do, conversations between the animals and birds, and lovely descriptions and poetic words to describe what they could see.

Working with me the other group got to work with collage, crayons and pens, scissors, glue and patterns, and started to get creative with the second mural. It was great to see how they got stuck in, coming up with their own ideas of how they wanted the art work to look.

In the second session Lisa and I swapped groups and worked with them to help complete the pictures

It was a fantastic day, although by the end of we were both ready for a cuppa and a sit down, feeling rather hoarse but very pleased with how our creative collaboration had turned out. The picture above is the finished murals placed next to each other for display in the school hall. Bring on the next one!!

Isn't it funny though how these things come about? Running your own creative business and being open to the many possibilities and opportunities out there can be hugely rewarding if you are prepared to step out of that comfort zone and try something new!!

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