Down To Earth

Down to Earth was a 5 week a sensory oriented project funded by the St James Street Big Local.  It was aimed at over 50’s residents of Walthamstow, London.  Each week participants would be faced with trying a new creative challenge.  We would explore a different senes in detail; Sound, Sight, Touch, Smell and Taste.

Week 1: listening better with Liz Griffiths

We  all walked up Coppermill lane to the Wetlands. Along the way we thought about what we could hear and how that could be represented in a piece of are.  People chose to use words, strokes, literal images, imaginary songs and random movments to show their findings.  This activity took place outside in front of other public members. Most participants were nervous to start but thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they let go of their preconcieved thoughts and went with the flow.

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Week 2: Shifting Landscapes with Vick Busfield 

Vicki took us for a short stoll around the area to oberve the latest urban regeneration changes.  The area of St James Street has undergone a huge physical change over the past few years. Local residents were suprised to realise that they had not seen all the changes that took place. Too often we walk by things in our lives and miss the changes that are happening round us and it can leave us to leave no longer connnected to area.  By ‘looking twice’  as vicki called it – we tried to retain the details of what we had observed and put them in a performance.  She showed us how we could use our body parts to replicate the shapes, patterns and images and have a performance all of our own.

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Week 3: Feeling sculpture with Esther Neslen

Esther let everyone play with clay. Particpants were encouraged to explore the various types and states of clay there were. We disucssed how this made us feel and what each one might be uses best for.  Using the sense of touch alone we created our very own pinched pots with our eyes closed.  We also created some 2d artwork – all to be taken home.

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Week 4: Neesha Badhan Capturing Memories

Using the sense of smell each participant brought in things they loved the smell of.  Neesha enabled us to a tell the story about the origin of that smell and others.  Giving each person a chance to tell their favorite smell oriented story nd capture them inside a jar – it allowed the participants to not only share their memories but to bring back to life the memories of moments passed.

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Week 5: Neesha Badhan, A Self Portrait of Taste

Taste was the final sense that was exlpored with final pieces of art being created from food and things that participants enjoyed the taste of.  All of these were then put on exhibition at The Mill for the public to see.

 

All of the art work created has been exhibited at The Mill between December 2018 and January 2019

 

 

Waltham Forest Children in Care Project

In summer 2018 Waltham Forest Council’s Voice and Influence service commissioned NBAM for a project working with children in care. The brief was to creatively translate the pledge (see below) together with the young people to make it more engaging and easily understandable, especially for the youngest members or those less literate.

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Working with artist Jason Hawkridge and using the exisiting colours of the brand’s pledge, we met with 10 young people aged 8 to 21. The artwork created would then leave the service with more inclusive versions of the pledge to be on public display, while at the same time make sure the users who felt more engaged as they had had the chance to take part in the design process.

Each piece of art would contain one word chosen by the young people as well as a selection of  shapes. Jason showed the group around his studio and gave them some inspiration by demonstrating how wonderful art could be created by similar shapes that had  a special meaning to the person. We spoke about how words and shapes would together give a stronger message and with this in mind each of the  young participants got started. They were shown skills on how to measure, draw, scale up and professionally finish their A4 sketches to larger  1 meter square canvases.

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Over the 2 days the young people worked extremely hard  “I’ve not seen them so engaged in a project before”, voiced one of their regular key workers. It was clear that they were enjoying themselves, learning something and also getting to walk away with a tangible piece of change, their own piece of art.  Their commitment was clearly visible by the wonderful pieces professionally finished  completed whilst working with artist Jason Hawkridge

Messages to Myself / Survival Techniques

Message to Myself / Survival Techniques

” YAY, I thought I couldn’t write but art work brought it out of me!”

Commissioned by Waltham Forest Council as part of the Great Place Scheme ‘Messages to Myself / Survival Techniques’ was a set of art workshop led by artist Naomi Edmondson and Poet Kayo Chingonyi.

Over 6 weeks in the summer of 2018, residents living with mental health problems in Waltham Forest aged 17+ were engaged in a variety of artistic expression and thought provoking workshops. Many of the people who attended had not done any art outside of mainstream educational provision and  were not aware of the profound beneficial effect being creative could have on ones wellbeing.

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People arrived in different states of mental wellbeing.  Everyone was welcomed and joined in. Using a combination of visual expression and written activities to enable particpants to find their voice and share their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment.  They were coming up with their very own messages to themselves – simple thoughts and tips which could be helpful when they are feeling their worst and that are easily forgotten once people are mentally unwell. 

The project attracted a wide range of people from across the borough age, race and gender – showing the demand for this kind of project. There have been several positive outcomes from this intervention. One young man is now back in full time education, one lady is back in full time employment, one lady now regularly attendes art classes as a proven way to help her feel better, one young man regularly volunteers with a local arts charity.

“It’s been a life saver!” says mental health manager about a young participant

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Each week participants could take home the art they had made as a memory of the moments shared with each other.  A set of 13 postcards were created and distributed around the borough in over 80 locations.  Each postcard tells the story of a real person.

The postcards were displayed as 2 meter high reproductions as a final installation of the particpants art work and thoughts at The Mall Shopping Centre, Walthamstow during the E17 Art Trail 1st – 16th June 2019 as number 69a.

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