Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gorey Family Play Day and access to arts

Car packed and all items on my list checked I set off into Gorey and picked up a few last things; plastic cups and paper plates for painting, a ream of good value A4 paper for making paper planes and some pom-poms which were great value in the €2 shop, 3 packs for €2.
I was delighted that I had time to go to the new civic square and see the Gorey Market House Craft and Design Festival Showcase and AIB Photojournalism Exhibition. A great start to showcasing world class quality craft in Gorey. Notable piece for me were Becky Knights Stone Swimming Costume, Terry Dunnes Wexford Tide, Louis Mulcahys Cockerels, Ceadogán Rugs and Roísín de Buitléirs Yarn Blue Glass. That is not to say I did n't like the other pieces Evelyn Grants Cabbage Teapots were charming, Peadar Lambs stained glass intense and Diarmuids Murphys Smaoineamh Study desk fluid and superbly crafted. The success of work is for me is how engaged I am in looking at it, if it prompts me to look closer or go back a second time, if the piece of work stays with with me and has piqued my interest, whether mind wonders back to a piece, the quality of the thought and making. I also have strict assessment of work that after I have looked at the work and enjoyed it that looks a bit like

  • would live with a piece in my home or studio, 
  • purchase it for a corporate client, 
  • include it or the artist maker in a show I curate
or not. Well done to Gorey Town Council for bringing such good quality work to the area, I hope this is the start of a new tradition.
We had a change of  venue from the new civic square to the Gorey Community School three days before the event which was a shame. However there was a spot of rain on the day so the indoor venue worked fine - it is one of the challenges for holding outdoor events in Ireland as you really can never be guaranteed of the weather. So this is the hall shortly after I arrived
 and this is the event in full swing
I mentioned some of the activities in my last blog post so I started the set up with putting the easiest ones in place first.
Both of these activities are to based around building and raising awareness of community for people living in Gorey and its environs. They also create spatial and visual awareness of the area and its geographical context.
The next thing to do was construct the cooper pipe 3D cube, the frame for building our Underwater Scene the center piece of community arts section at the Gorey Play day. One of the guys (thanks Clinton!) at the Enterprise and Community Department of Wexford County Council had made the frame.
Funky Junk Area. This consisted of 40 or so cleaned bottles from the recycling Center in Wexford; the contents of my art kit from the studio which includes tissue and crepe paper, coloured card, bubble wrap,  matchsticks and lollypop sticks, pipe clearners, pom-poms, glitter, rolls of metallic pattered ribbon, rolls of wool, swatches of material and anything you can possibly think of that you could use inventively or traditionally to decorate something!
Painting area HQ
Artist Collette Mulready whom I asked to come and facilitate the painting section. She did a great job. Last year she came and did fantastic face painting. The painting and crayon area had it's very own gallery space.
Unfortunately lots of the artists forgot to come back and take their work home.
We also had a designated Glitter Station. For those of you who have worked with children (and adults) you will have experienced the fascination with glitter, plus the cost, waste and tidy up of glitter so in an attempt to contain glitter mania
The idea was that if all the glitter was sprinkled in the boxes provided we could reuse the excess sprinkles and it worked.
I did some felt making, fleece hand rolled to felt with soapy water. The idea was to show children how to make bracelets out of fleece but to use them as bubbles in the Underwater Scene.  None of the items made it to the intended destination but hey you gotta go with the flow and the important thing was a group of children and adults got introduced to felt making, had some hands on experience and enjoyed it. I love the way childrens curiosity brings them to a table to watch an activity, once you smile at them and ask them if they want to join in they respond and engage with enthusiasm. It is so important at events like this to be encouraging, engaging, inviting and super nice to children and whom ever is with them. How you greet a child could be significant to how they experience the art materials. In my experience ensuring access to arts materials for all is a lot to how the access happens and how open the invitation is.
Thanks to all the facilitators and volunteers that came worked really hard making sure the kids had a good arts based experience. I love that several of them commented that they "got just as much fun out of it as the children did".
Sherry Nugent of Irish Quilting Magazine came with her six and eight year olds to showcase quilting postcards they were busy and did a great job.
Thanks also to the chess club that came and played chess for the afternoon I saw some serious games going on with adults and children, great to see.

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