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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.

We were all blown into the class by strong winds today but this didn’t stop anybody from turning up to paint. The group are working on studies for the upcoming Silver Views exhibition in April, with some of the students progressing enough to be able to move onto painting on canvases.

Here are just some of the comments from the group:

“I am enjoying this – not quite worked like this before.”

“I just learnt how to filter in sky – beautiful!”

“…friendly class – Im learning…”

“…interesting but I feel I’m not getting there – keeps your mind occupied…”

“Very frustrating!”

As you can see, there is mixed feedback, this just goes to show that this workshop can be as challenging and delightful in ways you didn’t know. On top of this, they all said I make a good cup of tea!

The Art Group painting workshop is held every Monday 11am – 1pm and is open to all those over 50 living on the Aylesbury or SE17. Run in partnership with Southwark Pensioners Centre (SPC). See our website for more details: www.artinthepark.co.uk

About Silver Views

Silver Views is Southwark’s celebrated exhibition for the over 60s. In addition to this, the April 8th-24th will feature a fortnight of events and acitivities happening across the borough and beyond. Silver highlights the creativity of its older community through performance and exhibition opportunities, as well offering a whole range of creative, cultural, learning, physical and social experiences.

For more information on http://www.southwark.gov.uk/silver or for a breakdown of some of the events, see Cafe Gallery where the exhibition is to be held.

This is part one of a series of drawings of sculptures yet to be made…

All sculptors have different ways of working, I tend to do lots of drawing. The process of drawing inspire me and eventually lead onto the final design for my sculptures.

Other drawings like the sketches here just go into a pile, the ones below is the ‘like’ pile.

These drawings of mine were sketched between 1997-2004, here is a set of 10 that seems to work well together.

Look out for the next set of sculptural drawings in a few weeks time.

For more of my work, go to www.wmhudson.com or to see my community work, got to my artist’s corner on Art in the Park.

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

Over the holiday period, my partner and I went to visit her parents at their home in Galicia near La Coruńa in Spain. When it was New year’s eve, we followed a very old Spanish tradition by eating twelve grapes, one for each of the last twelve chimes of 2010 to bring you luck in 2011.

There was the procession of the three Kings in town on the 5th January (or here we know them as the three wise men), from their floats the three Kings threw sweets at the gathered crowd.

On the 6th January with it being King’s Day, we bought and ate some Roscón, which is a sweet, ring-shaped bread/ pastry covered in glacier cherries and sugar. A plastic toy is hidden inside once it’s made, whoever finds the toy gets good luck for the next year or you may find a bean and have to pay for the meal (not so lucky).

Some towns have major competitions involving Roscón to see who can make the largest ones.

In between all of these festivities, I had some time to do some drawing on the kitchen table.

More of my work on www.wmhudson.com

Hayward Gallery, London. Photograph taken by M...

Image via Wikipedia

Art in the Park recently attended the MOVE exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in Southbank Centre. The pieces in the gallery are intended to involve visitors in ways not normally expected.

…invites you to become a participant – or even a dancer – in installations and sculptures by internationally renowned visual artists and choreographers…explores the historical and current relationship between visual arts and dance…Performances are woven into an exhibition of sculptural works, set pieces and installations, which can be activated by the public and by a group of resident performers in the gallery.

excerpt from introduction of MOVE Gallery

A favourite piece of ours included Isaac Julien‘s Ten Thousand Waves (2010) which was a cinematic nine screen installation of three separate stories. One of the these riveting stories told of the tragedy that occurred in north east England in 200 when a team of Chinese cockle-pickers were drowned in Morecambe Bay. It truly does pull you, physically because of the multi-screens and mentally because of its composition. A definite must-see!

Another favourite of ours was the Christian Jankowski’s Rooftop Routine (2007), a hula hoop workout encouraging and teaching participants to try this hip-moving skill.

Others include Mike Kelley‘s playful Adaptation, Tania Bruguera‘s disturbing Untitled (Kassel) (2002), Lygia Clark‘s sensory The House in the Body (1968), William Forsythe’s gruelling The Fact of Matter (2009) and Bruce Nauman‘s unsettling Green Light Corridor (1970s).

Here are some pictures of some of our staff participating in the exhibition.

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