Threads, Tangents and TV

Both residencies – in Cowgate and Blaydon – are now at an end, although there’s still one more week to see the Creative Makings show at Gateshead Central Library.

I have really enjoyed the process of meeting and working with communities new to me, and through both, feel my own work has grown and developed too. I hope some of the links created during the process will continue into future projects. One spin-off already is appearing on Creative North (Made in Tyne and Wear TV) highlighting my work in recycled materials – the request to take part came through publicity of the exhibited work and the episode is now available on you tube.

It is remarkable how – through clever editing – I appear to know what I’m on about!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journey’s End – Blaydon

There’s so much to see in Gateshead Library at the moment, even from the car-park Kate Eccles’ work brightens the Gallery window. Inside the journey through 3 residencies worth of artwork continues.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It was lovely teaming up with Kate, Victoria, Mark and the Gateshead Arts Team, slowly figuring out where each piece needed to be. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We talk to groups about the importance of team work and then often as adults forget to do it ourselves, so HURRAH to us!

And I know the show looks stronger for it.

That process is echoed in the close team working that saw the creation of Journey Book by students from St Thomas More School. It is a fabulous piece which really requires the visitor to get up close to unravel the thread of ‘stories’ running through, please go and have a look – photos do not do it justice – the show runs though till may 9th.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Examining Shafts – Gateshead

It was the strangest thing walking the same route through the same backstreets three times in one day, each time with a different group of folk as happy as me to stop and stare at a wall.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The brickwork in question – to be fair – contained vestiges of pre-war railings, boot-scrapes, coal holes or dry middens, from a time when the night-soil man might visit more regularly than the coalman. There were also signs a plenty of the big drive towards sanitation and Water Closets: Examining Shafts, Flushing Shafts – replete with dates – even Manholes, each with their purpose proudly printed upon them.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou would think by the third walk I’d seen and said it all, but participants brought knowledge and their own stories and interests to our walks, so each time some new detail would be brought to light.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Light Switch

Both Cowgate and Blaydon residencies began with walking, trying to get a feel for place (Traces of Place indeed!). Once however, the process of engaging and creating was in full swing, each developed along its own unique path.

So it’s pleasing now – as both projects are coming to an end – that lighting: a medium so important to the Blaydon project (and developed through working with Victoria Bradbury in Gateshead) has slipped across the Tyne and into the final ‘bling’ workshop held last Saturday in Newcastle Arts Centre.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWorking with Blaydon Library the emphasis had been ‘shining a light’ on the past, Victoria (who has been working with Gateshead Central Library) helped me convert the Art Club’s work Blaydon Races from battery to mains. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then whilst participating in one of her workshops I realised how simple a light source could be: a little disc battery taped to a tiny LED. The ‘light-bulb’ moment was taking this idea and using it for making the Cowgate ‘bling things’ – medallions that not only reflect light, but literally light up too.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Imagining an alternative: Blaydoon

The year is 1828 and Blaydon is on the brink of incredible change… a turnpike is planned but will the railway arrive before it? Starting from this moment – and pooling the collective imaginations of visiting families dropping-in to Blaydon Library – we used historical photos plus found and recycled materials to re-imagine and rebuild the town as a time-warp fantasy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUsing one of the library’s historical maps for guidance, I created a road network – plus section of Tyne – scaled up to a mammoth 4 metres square as ‘skeleton’ on which to build Blaydoon.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOlder folk also dropped by to explore our vision and decry the demise of so many of the old buildings, now lost to the heart of the town.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had hoped to keep our creative vision in-situ for an artist’s talk the following day but, destruction prevailed yet again (the room had a morning booking).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Walk – Cowgate

January is a risky month to launch a new outdoor activity. That anyone turned up – with hindsight – is quite astounding. But numbers were low – even with the offer of free soup for afters. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy input on Cowgate is slowly winding up, but I do hope the dog walks – born out of a medley of residency initiatives – continue, perhaps with a re-launch when the weather is warmer?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Heart-warming for me was seeing all the participants (both human and dog) sporting some arty medallion bling.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Union Workhouse and Honeysuckle Hotel – Gateshead

What a strange and depressing view, waking in the mornings to throw open the curtains of Honeysuckle Hotel and gaze across to the Workhouse. I can’t imagine any but the hard-hearted wishing to stay there. If I’ve read the map right it is now a Tesco express and the Workhouse long gone, even Union Lane is no more.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA But in 1873, the walk from Union Workhouse to Central Library (let’s say Shipcote House – the library being a relatively late arrival) would have been through fields and along tree-lined country paths. I will be recreating the route on March 7th as a ‘hidden history’ walk if you’d like to join me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wave-ology – Cowgate

From vigorous side to side from the wrist, through whole arm swing to just a wiggling of the fingers, (depending on what ached most) our ‘wave’ styles evolved over the week.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Waving is infectious it seems, as we received a huge array of responses: the happy wave, the guilty wave (just about to use an illegal shortcut), the vague ‘I don’t know why I’m waving’ wave, the thumbs up, and best of all, the both arm cheer.

The wave-effect was brilliant, by the second day people who’d clocked us already were coming over to ask: “What’s it about?”

Our response: we’re gently reminding drivers – who use the estate as a short-cut during the road works – that this is a residential area, and also alerting children and dog walkers to be extra vigilant crossing roads just now.waveology5As nothing was written on the pop-up artwork (created by Highmoor residents), the curious needed to stop and ask. Their follow up comments were generally along the lines: “that’s really important”, “well done!”, “that’s really cool”, “excellent scheme”, “it’s really needed round here”.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore unexpected was “how can we donate?” OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But it felt good knowing that our presence was so valued.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slow Roads – Fast Art on Cowgate Estate

On a cold and snowy Monday morning, we cheered up early commuters with the first outing of our pop-up art installation.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Twice a day for the next 5 days, will find us somewhere on Cowgate with life-size road sign including children, dog and flowers; gently reminding drivers to take care around the estate and handing to passers-by our blingy medallion packs to make and wear.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blaydon Races 2

Languishing in the back of my car is the completed Blaydon Races artwork. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday it’s been ‘on tour’ (to Central Library and back) in a bid to figure out whether we can swap from battery operated to mains.

Regardless of power source we should be able to include it in the end exhibition at Gateshead Library (see new end exhibitions page).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA




There aren’t many sessions left to run now – all the big making is done – but there’s some fun sessions billed for Blaydon Library during half term, and – building and borrowing from the archaeological street walks through Blaydon – we have more planned for the streets surrounding Central Library, these (plus up and coming events in Cowgate) now feature on the new events page of the blog.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment