Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The First Design Workshops

I visited a local Junior School to work on the initial design ideas for this project, the first group to start.

So do you want the good news or the bad news?

The good news is I took photos of the pupils enthusiastically showing me their drawings they had done, with  happy smiles, as they were proud of their work. They had followed the route on a slide show I had prepared and they knew all the aspects of Strood already. At the end of the session some stood at the front of the classroom and eloquently described to whole group what their drawing represented and why they had done them.

The bad news is the photos showed very well their beaming faces, but the drawings they were displaying came out a bit rubbish. So I felt I had to fuzz out the best bits of these photographs to be on the safe side........... and use the computer to show that there was actually something on the paper they were holding up.

As an initial start to this project where things are still very fluid the class produced a range of work on the topics of wild flowers and medieval knights. The concept of drawing for something to be created in another material (mosaic) was something I thought would be hard to digest....I wanted to avoid very small over detailed work...... no problem with that, big strong drawings came out.

Monday, 25 October 2010

A Bit of Background and Research

When I rode round the trail on my bike I took a some photos.

Before I left I googled the Knights Templar as I knew they were big in Strood and Temple Manor is actually on the trail. They were knights who guarded pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem during the time of the crusades.

                                                They had a Great Logo                                                   

I liked the idea of having a guard as you travel along the route. The next place that seemed significant was Rede Common, a green oasis in a built up urban town, I think you could say Strood was part of a Medway conurbation, so an important haven for wildlife and leisure activities such as dog walking  and falling off your bike.

Strood was home to a well respected Victorian botanical illustrator called Anne Pratt. She had a bad knee as a child and was encouraged to draw. Her drawings of wild flowers will inspire parts of this trail, particularly the wilder natural parts of the route.

I was really surprised at the panoramic views from the top of the hill, looking down onto the river.

Then down the hill and through some amazing rusty lock gates and past the missing Russian submarine captured while spying around Chatham Dockyard at the height of the cold war (in my imagination anyway) I have also heard it is for sale for one pound? 

So now as I am riding back into town I am thinking how to present all this material to primary schools and youth groups, as I will be working them to design the mosaics for this trail. I think I wil focus on the wild flowers and the knights templars.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Discovering the Route

As I am making the mosaic markers on this trail I thought I would walk along it!

It was much longer than I thought and I kept getting lost and only found two of the points of interest indicated by the red squares. I bought my bike the second time and rode all the way round. Fantastic view at the top in between the Bell Pub (is it?) and All saints Church. I went down the hill and along the river front and saw the submarine there. That has been there as long as I can remember!

A very general map indicating the route.

I did walk round a second time with some friends who will be involved later. I saw a fox in a front garden and have never been so close to a fox before.