Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Big Draw

I ended my last missive about to set out for The Big Draw. 
I arrived at Potters’ Field next to Tower Bridge with Chloe my work colleague. She has worked as a community artist for over 20 years and I began working on art projects with her a few years ago. As Community Arts London we have done lots of workshops for schools and community groups where we encourage them to find the artist within and create collages out of different fabrics which we then form into large banners which are hung in the community or school. We were discussing running a project for the Big Draw next year so volunteered to help for a day this year as part of our research.

We joined a group doing monoprinting. This consisted of painting large sheets of Perspex with acrylic paints and either scraping into it or doing direct painting with bushes, fingers, sponges or anything else that came to hand.  It was important to work fast before the paint dried.  We then laid a piece of paper over it and smoothed it down to make a print. There were some wonderful images and it was exciting to see groups working together so enthusiastically - school kids, families, visitors to London, couples and older people. The prints were hung on makeshift washing lines strung between the birch trees. We had such fun and worked really hard but after a day working outside and constantly wet from all the cleaning involved, I ended up with a nasty cold.
That didn’t stop me from catching the Blockheads performing at Blackheath Halls that evening nor from going up the next day to join in the events in Southwark Cathedral on Saturday.

The cathedral was full of people sitting around with sketch books, drawing the statues, the stained glass and artefacts excavated from the Thames. There were lots of artists there to help and encourage so I had a go at drawing some of the images of water shown in the beautiful ‘creation’ window at the back of the nave.  It is so high that I had never noticed it.  There were binoculars available to study the detail.  After an hour of sketching and chatting away to others doing the same, I had to leave so I could tuck myself into bed with a hot lemon drink. 

It is a wonderful festival and there are Big Draw events going on all over the country.  Those two days by the Thames were free and an amazing experience.  I am really getting into free events now I am a poor student!  Watch out for it next October and get along – it’s great.

Now my head is less muzzy, it’s time to get my reading done ready for this for this week’s theory lecture. It’s a bit different from doing the BSc. We don’t have seminars, just two hours of theory that we read up about beforehand. We usually have at least 4 chapters or papers to read for each week and if we don’t do the readings it is hard to figure out what the lecturer is on about! I am looking forward to my counselling placement on Thursday as I am starting with my fourth client – and my first man. Most of my working life has involved working closely with women so this will be new experience for me. I wonder if he’ll realise he’s my guinea pig?

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