The Tetley currently have two incredibly poignant exhibitions, from Rasheed Araeen and Kannan Arunasalam. Araeen’s ‘For Oluwale‘ presents work marking the 50th anniversary of David Oluwale’s death. Oluwale, a British-Nigerian drowned in the River Aire after being systematically harassed by the police. Arunasalam’s ‘The Tent‘ presents films reflecting on identity and the meaning of loss against the lasting impact of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 1983 – 2009.
Responding to these works in an appropriate way to engage families with young children was going to be difficult. I decided to focus on the theme of identity and what home and specifically Leeds, means to the participant.
With Leeds posters, we took images of Leeds, and thought about the area in which we lived, what we enjoyed about our home, its relationship to Leeds as a whole. When you are young and around the age of 7, the concept of Leeds is limited to home in the suburbs – the city is a place you visit rather than being intrinsic to your identity. The children told me about the places they lived, from Alwoodley and Bardsey in the north, and Farsley and Kirkstall in the west, over to Oulton in the east. Travel featured a lot, along with fun days out, and school. Walking in the wonderful green spaces that Leeds offers us across the metropolitan area, with the major parks of Roundhay, Golden Acre, Temple Newsam and Middleton Woods, was a must. Oh and of course drawing and doodling is always lots of fun.
This workshop was in response to Simeon Barclay: Bus2Move, which is the current exhibition at The Tetley. The exhibition explores the relationships between performance, installation, costume display, stage design, sculpture and props.
For my workshop the idea was to make stick people out of pipe cleaners, straws and beads, so that they were movable. Using a light to create shadow, you can trace their movements as you bend, and manipulate their position.
It was a therapeutic workshop, and adults and children alike told me that creating their stick people was calming and it was nice to sit down and do something relaxing with their family.
I have been at Kirkgate Leeds Market twice in the last week, working with children on marvellous Halloween creations. Firstly on the Saturday for Same Difference Arts making Halloween monsters out of paper, and then on Tuesday helping with Playful Anywhere with the crafts.
Saturday Halloween Monsters – the first photo are the prototypes I created, and the next three are samples of what the children created. I really love the pumpkin, that face looks wonderful.
I had a wonderful helper for an hour or so, a young boy of 8. He learnt quickly how to make the pom poms, and offered to show others. He fetched things for me, and kept me entertained with his stories, introducing me to his little sister, and telling me about his family – he can speak four languages, but only three fluently! I was so impressed with his attitude, I asked him to point out his mother, and I simply had to let her know what a lovely helpful son she had, he was an absolute star!
Above – Create a Spooky Story, using story cubes. If you don’t have any cubes with pictures on, you can create your own with standard dice and a selection sheet, this is the spooky one I made (opens as a PDF).
Pumpkin den building, pom pom spiders, and simply being creative!
This is my second drop in workshop at Kirkgate Market in Leeds (organised by Same Difference Arts), after leading one making Pop-Up Puppets in Easter earlier this year. As before, I got to work alongside Miranda Johnson, who is a fabulous face painter, really approachable and I fully recommend her.
I chose to do two simple activities, aimed at families with younger children, loosely themed around carnival – decorating hummingbirds and creating masquerade masks. The masks proved the most popular, and we went with the big reveal – the wonderful painted face underneath – not one, but two fabulous masks!
Oh, and it is Yorkshire Day on 1st August, so the White Rose of Yorkshire was flying on flags across the market, along with lots of flat cap wearing individuals, breaking the record for the most people wearing a flat cap in one place!
Below is a selection of photos showing the marvellous creations that the children made. I do think the zebra mask revealing the tiger painted face is one of my faves, simply for the animal theme. But, having said that, I think they are all equally wonderful, and I do so enjoy listening to the children’s stories and hearing how much they love creating at home.
“Joanna Piotrowska’s photographic series Shelter saw her visiting people’s homes and inviting them to create constructions, dens and habitations from the furniture within their living spaces. The resulting constructions reflect their creator’s inner life, history and state of mind, transforming space and material into something deeply personal.” The Tetley, 2018
Inspired by this, I invited participants to create their own tiny shelters. Using recycled materials, with the toilet roll tube as a base, the creations were wonderful, and I really enjoyed listening to the stories about who lived in their tiny houses – dragons, the pencil people (who were bad, allegedly), a tiny mouse, fairies (including a sign pointing the way so they could find shelter in the garden). The children really enjoyed cutting and sticking and really using their imaginations, and it was hopefully a great way for them to learn and interact creatively with their family.
The workshop was at Beeston Festival, in Cross Flatts Park, South Leeds. It was great to introduce The Tetley to the parents, and tell them all about the free workshops that the Tetley offers. I enjoy working small scale festivals like this, and meeting interesting people with creative minds. I had fabulous support from Taneesha (the Tetley’s Participation Producer), and two Springboard volunteers, Herfa and Marnie, both of whom were superb – I definitely couldn’t have done this solo (myelitis and hot weather are really not a good combination).