Down to Earth was a 5 week a senssory 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 exploring a different sense 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 art. People chose to use words, strokes, literal images, imaginary songs and random movements to show their findings. This activity took place outdoors in front of other members of the public. Most participants were nervous to start but thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they let go of their worries and went with the flow.
Week 2: Shifting Landscapes with Vick Busfield
Vicki took us for a short stroll to see the latest urban regeneration changes. The area of St James Street had undergone a huge physical change over the past few years. Local residents were surprised when they realised they had not seen all the changes that had taken place.
We all walk past things in our everday too often, missing the changes that are happening around us. As a result, we often no longer feel connected to area. By ‘looking twice’ as Vicki called it – we tried to retain the details of what we had observed and put them into a performance. She showed us how to use our body parts to replicate the shapes, patterns and images that we had seen to create a performance of our own.
Week 3: Feeling Sculpture with Esther Neslen
Esther let everyone play with clay. Participants were encouraged to explore the various types and states of it. We discussed how they made us feel and what each one might be used 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.
Week 4: Capturing Memories with Neesha Badhan
Using the sense of smell, every participant brought in things they loved the smell of. Neesha enabled us to tell a story about the origin of that smell and others. Giving each particpant the chance to tell their favourite smell-oriented story and capture them inside a jar allowed them not only to share their memories from the past butalso to bring them back to life.
Week 5: A Self Portrait of Taste with Neesha Badhan
Taste was the final sense that was explored with pieces of art being created of food and things that participants enjoyed the taste of. All of these were then put on exhibition at The Mill for the public display.