Really excited! I am now underway with my latest commission for the Chapel Gallery in Ormskirk, Lancashire, where I have been asked to design and produce 6 new windows for the front and side facades of the building. A significant part of the project involves me working closely with various groups of students from Tarleton Academy, in Lancashire. Through a series of workshops and visits to the gallery, the students will create exciting and varied visual imagery which will form the basis of my window designs.
Last week a group of 12 year 10 students met me at the gallery for a site visit. Most had never set foot inside a gallery before and it was interesting to hear their preconceptions of what they would find. Most associated a gallery with historic works of art, a place you had to be silent, to look and not touch. There was a sense of fear and slight boredom!
We set foot into the gallery space and were met by the colourful and interactive exhibition of Nick Sharratt. This quickly dispelled most of their apprehensions as they got stuck in. Lots of chat and excitement at the interactive displays. So what was the highlight? Getting dressed up of course! (Staff and students alike!)
The group then carried out primary research recording the internal spaces and architectural features of the building. Alongside photography, we worked on a small scale so the drawings could be supported on a clipboard giving the students flexibility to explore the spaces freely. Pencils and graphite were used and the students were encouraged to fill the paper with interesting recordings. As you can see, the existing internal stained glass windows offered interesting forms to sketch, alongside staircases, arches and signage. I am already planning to integrate these features into the final windows as much will change and disappear with the galleries new extension and renovation programme.
We then moved into the workshop area of the gallery for the second part of the session to process and develop these sketches into larger, bold, collaged pieces. I limited the materials to subtle coloured papers, envelopes, parcel and masking tapes, black and white paint. Students were encouraged to consider composition and scale to make the collages as dynamic and bold as possible.
The results were brilliant and already offer me such a fantastic range of imagery, bold, dynamic forms and shapes to work with. Here is a selection to whet your appetite.
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