Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Mosaic Work Started.

I have followed the route with the highways department and agreed the sites for the mosaic markers. Plans have changed since the original proposal was agreed and most of these mosaic markers will now be embeded into granite kerb stones. These have been lying idle in a council depot for yonks and now will be re-claimed and stood upright at the agreed places. These making rather nice trail markers, one of my next tasks is to modify my designs to fit a tall thin shape, the other is to start mosaic work on two rocks.

kerbs in the council depot
a rock before working on it.

I have finished one rock but my workshop is so cold the quick drying cement I used is still wet the following day!....making handling these things very difficult, I have been bringing the rock into my home at night time (a bit like putting a child to bed) where it is warmer so as to speed up the drying time.

Portrait of Anne Pratt. She was a Victorian Botanist as I explained in an earlier post.
(work in progress) adapted drom a drawing by a primary school pupil.
My next rock will be wild flowers and I will start that tomorrow.

Here is a link to photographs taken by Peter Fry walking along on the Strood Safari

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Strood Safari

A very visual event with two main characters standing out amongst the Crowds.

The eccentric explorer Mr C.


The elegant Ms. Ann Pratt.

Stories and facts about Strood and its history were relived and shared with the people on the  walk.

telling stories en route

negotiating traffic on the bridge

including a primary school
pupils portrait of Ann
ideas and sketches for the trail markers
were displayed, inspired by community groups

Lots of people braved the weather and were rewarded with a chilly, but almost sunny December day. This guided tour covered about a quarter of the entire trail and finished with a look around medieval Temple Manor, which was kindly opened especially for the tour by friendly staff. Thanks to everyone who came along and walked with us, I came away feeling the good people of Strood had celebrated where they lived and showed it off to an 'out of towner' like me.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

This Week End.

The Safari is this weekend. Lets hope the weather holds up and the snow melts a bit more.
A reminder then of the times: 10.30 and 1.30 and Sat 11th and Sun 12th Dec. Meet at the park on Church Green.

You've never seen anything like this before

See the posters below for a little more detail:

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Inner Worlds

This was my last day of workshops and these children were the youngest I will have worked with on this project. Some told me they were 5 others were 4, they told me all about their pets, their toys and their families. Its been a few years since I worked with children quite so young  and they surprised and charmed me. They recognised some of the places along the trail which led onto a few stories that I felt might have been a little exaggerated. These involved quad bikes, mermaids, a family with 7 dogs and relatives from somewhere like Ethiopia, Utrecht or was it Erith, I never quite got to the bottom of it, as it appeared they had lived in all these places. The class carried out my rather grown up suggestions about history, botanical accuracy and even map making to the best of their abilities. The books I took in were largely disregarded.....too spontaneity.....copy that....WHY I can do this instead? The result was usually Mums Dads and Brothers and Sisters and some much loved pets. A few drawings ventured outside from home or school.

I loved the their care free approaches, no one asked for a rubber, no problems about have I started in the wrong place? I need a ruler, how do you draw a bird, endless searching for the right thing to copy. None of that, just straight in and make it up!

As these children explained their drawings to me I was really blown away by how easily they dipped in and out of fiction while making these drawings. I could see sometimes their whole body involved in doing the drawing. This was achieved by walking round it as you draw it, then suddenly dive into a shading bonanza with intense concentration, but a felt tip pen blow out would suddenly halt the flow.

This is a map of strood.

botanical accuracy

I tried to encourage team work by getting each table to work together on a map of Strood. This was quite interesting as each child drew as if they had their own sheet of paper in front them...on separate drawings but, a little link drawing sometimes appeared down in the corner crossing two sheets of paper.

Another Strood map drawing (the dots are significant places, which included Russia)

I enjoyed stories between drawings and wished my imagination was able to jump from topic to topic in the same way with equal enthusiasm. The drawings are inner worlds and are real to the makers of them.