With the past couple of years being different due to the pandemic I hadn’t been trading at markets so was delighted when the opportunity arose to get a table at Fenwick’s Local Maker’s Market. It’s been a fantastic incentive for local business’s to trade at the reputable department store and I’m grateful to be one of them. I signed up for 4 weeks until the 22nd December- perfect for the run up to Christmas.
Selling at Fenwick’s are three variants of magnets (Newcastle, You’re Amazing and Shy Bairns Get Nowt). Sets of white Framed Giclee prints from A6-A3, Frameless Giclee prints, Tiger mugs, a brand new 2022 calendar, Sustainable screen printed tote bags and various greeting cards.
My Etsy shop is now closed until January, which makes this location ideal for anyone wanting any artwork or gifts for Christmas this year. Set on the ground floor it’s easy to get to, and has had an interesting mix of local businesses.
Since August I’ve been lucky enough to work with Whitley Bay Big Local and Barnardos the Base in delivering workshops around the mindfulness of mandalas. After a ‘dragons den’ style interview where the participants interviewed me in June I started work on planning this participatory art project straight away.
Working with age groups from 12-90 years of age, and introducing co-creation amongst them has been a worthwhile experience. To many of the participants this was an opportunity to emerge from isolation, and the negative effects of Covid-19 on their mental health. To be able to speak to them and provide a safe environment to create was key with Whitley Bay Big Local and Barnardo’s The Base.
The variants of experience and personal stories has been profound. They all contributed to the final outcome of artwork, constructed together like their many narratives in the Whitley Bay community. This cross generational team all blossomed week after week, with different ideas and experimentation of techniques.
Dependent on what the group wanted to do we explored themes like : sustainability, recycled materials, natural inks (we looked at blackberry picking and using spices), mandala making, geometric symmetry, using leaves and flowers, stencils, Stamp making, designed post cards, used acrylics and watercolour pens in our sessions. On taking feedback from what the groups wanted I would create worksheets and bring materials in for them to explore the following session. As it was a drop in session too the groups evolved with different dynamics as time went on.
August- December flew by. At the end of the project I had four large canvases 1m by 1m ready to display at Whitley Bay Library. One solely by Marsden Bridge Middle School Art Club. Alongside the group work with Jason Eason and the documentary photos in the middle – it makes a great exhibition. On view now in Whitley Bay Library for a month 🙂