The paper made by children at ECS was dry today and and so I was able to put it all together to see if it had done as we intended. The plan was to make individual colourful elements which would go together to make one large piece of work.
Today was the first of two workshops with Year 6 students from Esher Church School. We looked at the work of artists and makers for inspiration and also some of my work this year and then everyone had a go themselves. I was aiming that everyone should understand the basic principles of papermaking but could also enjoy playing with colour and the materials. A good amount of discussion and investigation followed. The second session is on Thursday.
On the 15th there were two papermaking workshops which went very well. it was a very pleasant day. I have met so many lovely people through this project. In each workshop we looked at basic papermaking techniques and then made some pages for a book I am making with the help of local people. Then people experimentied with embossing and casting freeform sheets of paper. There were some lovely pieces of work. I am aiming to run some more classes in the next few weeks because these were so oversubscribed.
The exhibiion has been up for a while and has been well visited in that time. There are also a number of workshops associated with the exhibition. Today I went to Walton to work with the Wednesday art group at Elmbridge Community Link. This is an organisation supporting adults with learning difficulties in the community. This was a great afternoon. I was made to feel very welcome and the group made full use of their time making some pages for a book and also making some fabulous colourful pieces. Everyone (including me) had a good time. Later their work came to the exhibition temporarily(below).
The private view went well. Lots of people and lots of interest in the project. The remaining places on the papermaking day on June 15th were booked and now there is a reserve list. So I am organizing a day in September.
The event was useful to me as it made me stand back and see what I had done so far. Often it is difficult while you are working to see how it is going. People were very encouraging and it was lovely to see the the building full of life and activity, which I suppose is part of the remit of the residency. I printed out my blog from the project website and made a timeline of it to show the development of work and ideas (not necessarily in that order!). One of my aims in embarking on this project was to open up this process and move the emphasis from the end result.
What an incredibly busy week it has been! I feel as if I havent had time to draw breath let alone write anything. The trouble with doing a project like this is that as well as 'being' the artist you are also everything else as well. I am learning so much about the whole process but sometimes I just long to be able to get on with the main core work. However if I had had the choice I would have got someone else to do things like the education work and I would really have lost out on a valuable and uplifting experience. It does make putting up an exhibition difficult though. An exhibition of a project like Papertrails which has a fairly large outreach and community aspect is incomplete without reflecting that work. I have sometimes envied other bloggers who are engaged on projects where they can focus on one aspect and develop it thoroughly wheras I sometimes feel as if I am being pulled in all directions. But when I look at the whole project rather than just my 'work' I feel rather differently. In the first three months of Papertrails I worked with 355 people and had over 125 visitors to my studio. So those elements have to be reflected in the exhibition as well as what might be more narrowly described as my 'work'.