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 🙂
See the Matterport link for a 3D rendition: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=AoP6iKhNciQ
Many thanks to the amazing staff involved who are so supportive :
Jason Eason was the Bay Create artist working alongside me exploring photography and collage. Helen and Sarah, who managed the project & are all around amazing human beings.
Thanks to all the amazing groups involved:
Whitley Bay Big Local
Barnardos The BASE Young People’s Center
Marden Bridge Middle School Art Club
1st Forest Hall Guides
North Tyneside Carers Centre
Unity group at the BASE
Funday Friday group at The BASE
Caitlains programme group at the BASE
4TH Monkseaton Guides
Eothen Residential care home
Eastbourne Residential care home
Whitley Bay Big Local drop-in participants
The project was funded by spiritof2012hq and carries on to another year with new artists in 2022.