The involve event was a fantastic success and inspiring for everyone involved. Last night we met at the conference rooms to set up for the workshops in the evening. We decided on which space the different groups would have, had a brief talk on health and safety and then arranged our spaces. The sculpture group had one of the larger spaces and we spent a couple of hours arranging tables, setting out materials and deciding on exactly how we would deliver the workshops. We decided that myself and Kelly would open the workshop by giving the short presentation I had prepared, followed by an overview of the materials and methods and a reminder of health and safety considerations from Hannah. Amber would then take the students though the method step by step and the rest of us would work with the students on the trickier bits of the workshop.
The next day we arrived at the conference centre early to run through the workshop and to arrange materials. The five groups of students we had all engaged well with the workshop, producing shell cast moulds with alginate that we then filled with plaster. We also got the chance to chat with the students about other casting and sculpture techniques and to answer some questions from them. The teachers that accompanies the students were also very interested in the techniques we taught the students and some said they would like to use them again in school. One challenge was the quick change over in the workshops, ensuring that we were ready for the next group straight after the last one had left could be tricky but the workshop was well structured and this helped to ensure that it ran smoothly.
After a short break for lunch, during which we filled all the moulds that the children had made with plaster, the mural making began. The sculpture room then became the mural room with all 65 students crowding into work on two large mural pieces. The process of bringing the digital and sculpture mural together began with painting the background and covering the bottom of the mural with a mixture of sand and paint to create the background for the beach scene. At this point the plaster shells were dry enough for the students to paint and they used neon colours to decorate them. Meanwhile the digital group were busy creating a collage of their ‘firework’ images which would form the top of the mural. When the neon shells and firework collage was in place the wooden silhouettes of people (which some of the group had cut out the day before) were placed on top and the whole piece looked really impressive. I think the kids were really impressed to see the murals come together.
The involve day was a great opportunity for both us and the young people involved. Everyone that was involved was left with a real feeling of achievement which was reinforced by the positive feedback we got from Jo from involve and the staff and students that attended the event. I think we provided a really diverse and exiting program for the kids. They also got the chance to gain a sense of what it might be like to study art at university though visiting the studios and the Peter Scott Gallery.
The day was also a great opportunity for us to pass on our skills. For those who are interested in going into teaching this experience could be particularly useful. For the rest of us it was really inspiring to see what could be achieved through working in a team
Admiring the work - the finished beach mural. Photo by Natalie