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We’re very excited about the new eco-fashion classes starting this Friday at Art in the Park! Fabba-Friday’s Eco Fashion and Textiles Club is an experimental recycling fashion and sewing club, based on the informal “Stitch and Bitch” craze. Run by artist Jill Newman, it will offer evenings of sociable, informal creativity- and refreshment.

This recession friendly workshop will be running at Art in the Park on the last Friday of the month from 6pm – 9pm, for a mere £10 or £6 for concessions.

Bring a project or just come along and try out some ideas and techniques. Guidance and help is on hand from artist Jill Newman who has been making recycled clothes, costumes, textiles and accessories since the 1980’s.

For more information and to book your place please click here!

A sunny afternoon at Art in the Park…

Friday 30th of March was a lovely warm, sunny day, with our spring bulbs in full bloom.

The Heart gardeners were busy planting seeds in their raised beds.

It was Chris’ last day with the Heart Garden as he now has a paid gardening job! We will miss him.

Back in the  studio, we mark the occasion with coffee and cake.

Perfect weather for artists to do some outdoor work: carving into bricks and sanding wood sculptures.

 

In 2011, Kitty Schuhard and I designed and delivered some very experimental workshops to an after-school club for teenagers with complex special needs.
We had 6 sessions, each one exploring one of the 5 senses: Touch, Taste, Smell, Sound and Sight- and the 6th session would be suggested by the group of young people themselves.

We focused on the experiential: An exploration of what can be felt and learned through the process of the activities, rather than working towards making competed, tangible pieces of art. In this way, we allowed each individual group member to connect in their own way and time.

A lot of the activities were about Trust: giving and receiving, gauging responses of self and others, and  learning the art of relaxation. They so enjoyed the relaxation and meditation techniques shared at the close of each session that they voted for “a chill-out party” to be the 6th and final workshop.

Each workshop was a vibrant, playful collision of art, science, therapy and play and an exploration and celebration of ourselves. We wanted the group to be stimulated, to interact, engage, relax and have fun.
We made Barefoot walks, sound mobiles and sound recordings, an improvised shadow-puppet show, clay sculptures, wore blind-folds, mixed herbs for our baths, made (non-alchoholic) healthy cocktails , U.V  and aromatherapy paintings – and lots of other things.

We received a glowing testimonial from one of the groups’ regular staff:
We would like to congratulate Jill and Kitty for their inspiring and rewarding workshops……..they have provided an excellent  approach of how to address the particular necessities of each member…enabling them to interact and to communicate with us….., revealing changes in behavior and helping to be calm….. a fantastic opportunity to see  the success of such workshops

I recently gave a talk At the Art in the Park studio about the project to students from Birkbeck College and I have been encouraged to write a Research Paper which I am currently doing. I would love to be able to further develop this kind of work with Kitty. We both feel that we can progress far with our ideas. Everybody got so much from this project.

Received some amazing pictures last week from one of our artists, Jill Newman. The images are of the largest  ‘urban forest’ in the country, inside the Heygate Estate, Elephant and Castle.

It needs protecting from Southwark Council and property developers Lend-Leese who plan to demolish the old estate and build “luxury flats.” (Jill Newman)

Click here to see the rest of the images. I particularly like the black and white ones as it gives it a more magical quality, like a well-kept secret.

St. Albans exhibition flyerIn 1977/78 I was 18/19 yrs old and at Herts College of Art and Design in St. Albans doing a foundation course in art. During this time, it was at the height of the Punk scene. I was a punkette and was already experimenting with deconstruction and recycling of clothes. The” Sex Pistols” had just played at the Art college and a local record company started up:” Waldo’s Record”s, calling all  teens to go out and form a band! So began a strong vibrant local  scene. Punks, skinheads, hippies, teddy-boys and the old Jamaican community all mingled together at “The Horn Of Plenty” pub to watch bands play every week.

A few of my drawings circa 1978 are being shown at the” Satellite” exhibition at the museum of St. Albans. They are fragments from a cartoon diary I made for the amusement of myself and my friends. They were never originally intended for public consumption, and not all of the material was suitable for the museum’s family clientele. However, to my delight, some pieces are included.

Details of the exhibition are found below.
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St Albans Punk & New Wave ’76 – 81′ is an exhibition focusing on the explosion of creativity that followed the appearance of the Sex Pistols at St Albans College of Art and Design.

The exhibition will be linked to a number of complementary events during St Albans musicCity.

Exhibition Details
The Museum of St Albans
Hatfield Road, St Albans AL1 3RR

www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk

Exhibition Dates
March 8 – April 2 2011
Monday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm, Sunday 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Admission Free

Acoustic New Wave Special hosted by Bill Johnson with Nick Stephenson, Gary Sear, Mark Lee and special guests

A collection will be made for Grove House
Satellite Exhibition
St. Albans ‘Music City’ Festival

Here at Art in the Park we regularly have lunch thrown together from what is brought in on the day as well as whatever’s growing in our garden. You may have seen this from our previous posts such as ‘Ready, Steady, Cook!‘, ‘Winter Planting‘ and ‘Happy Harvesting.’

One of our most regularly (and the easiest) recipes we put together are soups. Today we had AitP artist Jill Newman‘s Cold-buster soup. It’s great for those days when you want to fight off colds or just want to strengthen your body’s natural defenses. Since we loved it so much, here is the recipe!

Ingredients:Onion, Ginger and Lemon Soup

  • 2 lbs red onions or shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated or dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of sherry or wine
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or whole lemon (if you want that extra sourness and kick)
  • 1 bay leaf (fresh if possible) and (optional) borage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds and cumin seeds mixed and crushed
  • 1 star aniseed
  • teaspoon of butter or olive oil
  • stock/ bouillon
  • 1 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley and mint

Method:

  1. Chop onions and garlic finely and “sweat” in a saucepan over a very low heat in the butter/ oil (this must be minimum heat for maximum time (30 minutes) in order to extract a sweet, caramelized flavour).
  2. Add the crushed spices for the last 5 minutes and the star aniseed.
  3. After 30 minutes, turn up the heat to medium and add the sherry/ wine. Allow the alcohol to evaporate then add  pints of water.
  4. Add vegetarian stock/ bouillon and bay leaf then simmer on a low heat with lid on for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and hob and add in the lemon juice and finely chopped parsley.
  6. Serve into bowls with pinch of black pepper and mint.

Serving suggestions: Great with croutons thrown in and alongside cheese on toast.

(Note: For those who haven’t got much time, a lighter and quicker version of this recipe involves only the essential ingredients which are lemon, ginger, black pepper, mint/ parsley, onion or garlic or both and stock/ bouillon.)

In November, I released some portrait sketches of local SE17 characters (particular to the Pullens Estate) from their hiding places within my sketch books. They are presented as prints at the Electric Elephant Cafe, Crampton St. SE17 until the 28th January 2011. Below are some examples to peak your interest if it isn’t already peaked! (click thumbmail for larger image and brief character bio)

Some things about me and the Pullens Estate

I lived on The Pullens for about 15 years.

I had my two babies here and it’s the back-drop to their childhood. There were a lot of like-minded mums so bringing up our kids mostly  was fun and sociable and inter-actively creative.

The estate had a high number of squats. Tenants and squatters united to fight and win a massive, televised eviction in the 1980’s. Battles were fought between putting on Pantomimes, Opera’s, festivals, Busking and numerous gigs.

Art and music really helped bring everyone together and raise morale.

Squatters went on to be given tenancies on their flats!

I used to work in Fair Shares food co-op and am delighted that it is still going strong.

There has been a more than generous proliferation of vivid characters living here – some who have ended up in my sketch books.

I now wish I had documented more people than did….. It was just something I did when a visitor called – in  between cups of tea and cigarettes!

My collaborations with Art in the Park