Tag Archives: art

Drastic Plastic Action – Public Workshop #2

Last Saturday we held our second and final Drastic Plastic Action workshop in the Priory Centre, where lots of lovely kids and grown-ups joined us to help put the final decorative touches to our Big Fish sculpture.

The workshop tables were full, with imaginative little fingers busily creating colourful paper scales for the body of the fish, which they then applied with watered down PVA glue. The designs are beautiful, and all the participants were excited about coming along next week to spot their own handmade scales when the fish is up and hanging from the ceiling of the market hall.

Meanwhile, aside from this hive of activity, DAN artists and some brave members of the public applied wet, torn tissue to the body using a technique called Decoupage. The effect of this is striking, and the fish soon began to really come to life.

The final touches were added when the body was turned over and local discarded plastics collected by Dartford Litterpickers were threaded onto the underbelly of the fish and shown coming from its mouth. These will be visible from below when the fish is hung, and explicitly convey the message about the impact plastic waste has on our sea creatures – how it ends up being mistaken for food, or caught around their bodies, often killing or maiming them irreparably.

The sculptures are now ready to hang, and will be installed on Friday evening in the Priory Centre. There will be an official opening by the Mayor of Dartford on Sat 15th Sep at 2.30pm in the Market Hall. Do join us to see the realisation of a fun and rewarding project and of course a lot of hard work by DAN artists! Particular thanks to lead artist Nicola Claxton, for her innovative and stunning work on the fish and puffin sculptures and to Sue Holmes for her beautiful sewing techniques in creating the Giant Jellyfish.

Also thanks for the Priory Centre for the commission and to KCC Councillor Jan Ozog for his kind funding support.

First Drastic Plastic Action Workshop!

On Saturday 1st Sep we held the first of our two public workshops for the Drastic Plastic Action project in the Priory Centre. We had 4 tables of activity going on:

– Sewing the Giant Jellyfish, with Sue
– Creating the Puffin sculpture from wire & willow, with Nicola
– Making and decorating scales using printing, painting and drawing, across two tables with Kate & Kasia

Nicola’s beautiful cane and paper fish sculpture laid in the centre of the tables and provided a stunning, eye-catching centrepiece to the workshop, causing lots of people to stop and talk to us about what we were doing.

We had lots of fabulous kids and grown ups getting involved and making some beautiful scales, as well as helping out Sue with her sewing, and watching Nicola demonstrate the how to manipulate wire and willow into a puffin shape and making it look far easier than it is!

At the end of the day we had a whole bunch of beautiful scales ready to attach to our fish next weekend, and a brand new Puffin sculpture ready to fly from the ceiling of the market place.

Join us next weekend at the Priory Centre Market Hall 10am – 4pm, where we will be finalising the decoration of all three of the sculptures, adding the scales to our giant fish, and filling its belly with lots of collected plastics (thanks to Dartford Litterpickers) to highlight how our used plastics end up destroying wildlife.

Join us this Sat 1st Sep for our first Drastic Plastic Action FREE ART workshop!

This September, Dartford Arts Network is running an exciting new project at the Priory Centre in Dartford, which includes a series of public workshops and the construction/display of large hanging sculptures to highlight the damaging effect of plastics in our oceans.

Through our Plastic Fantastic project at the Centre back in 2016, we were able to discover what happens to our plastics when they end up in the sea. Tragically, they very often end up in the stomachs of marine life and birds, who mistake the plastics for small creatures. Our project aims to highlight this issue and convey an action through message – recycle, re-use and look after your environment locally and nationally!

Over the next few weeks, we aim to make 2-3 large-scale sculptures which will hang from the ceiling of the Priory Centre Market Hall and raise the issue of plastics in an explicit and bold way. The largest of these, the fish, is being designed and built by local commissioned artist Nicola Claxton and is part-way through construction and you can see some in–progress photos here. The fish will be decorated with fabric scales which members of the public will help us make at the weekend workshops and the cane skeleton will display a stomach filled with locally collected plastics.

We will be holding free art workshops across the first two weekends in September – on Sat 1st & Sat 8th / 10am-4pm in the central market hall area of the Priory Centre. These are open to all, no booking required, and there will something to do for all ages – from toddlers to great-grannies!

There will be opportunities for the public to contribute to the making of the sculptures, and to learn new and exciting art skills, such as building sculptures using willow and chicken wire, as well as traditional art forms which are perhaps often undervalued, such as sewing. There will of course be plenty of painting, drawing and block printing too, so do come along and join in on the day.

This project has been kindly supported by Kent County Council Councillor Jan Ozog.

Contact hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com or find us on social media for more information…
Facebook: @dartfordartsnetwork
Twitter: @DartfordArts

Land Art at the Bridge Community Day

Situated under the trees, amongst the natural materials of nature, we felt right at home at the Bridge Community Day as we welcomed local residents to the event and helped them to express themselves through some land art sculpting.

As we have found at all the land art events so far, people are initially a little reluctant to get involved, preferring to observe from afar and work out what we are offering. It doesn’t take long though, for the first inquisitive soul to step forward and have a go and before long the site is a frenzy of activity. Mandalas and rock piles begin to cover the floor, and people intuitively start working together to build a set of beautiful sculptures.

We had another great day running our pop-up stall and extend our thanks to the organisers for inviting us, as well as to Dave Butler from KCC for his kind support of the event.

Thank you to everyone who got involved, and please do come and join us for some more Land Art at…

Wilmington Fete on bank holiday Monday / 29th Aug / Wilmington Common

All photographs (c) Kate Withstandley Photography. Contact hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com for copies of images.

DSTC help us get Drastic with Plastic

On Weds 18th July we worked with students from Dartford Science & Technology College to kickstart our new summer public art project.

This summer, Dartford Arts Network will be delivering a public art project both to delight the eyes and to raise important issues about the role of plastics in our environment.

Working in and with the Priory Centre, we will be holding 2 x public workshops in September to create three hanging sculptures which will hang from the ceiling of the market place area. These will highlight how our use of plastics affects marine life and our waterways and will aim to convey an action through message – recycle, re-use and look after your environment locally and nationally.

We need the residents of Dartford to help us create these sculptures through printing, painting, sticking, sewing and being generally creative!

Come along on 1st & 8th Sep to the central market hall area of the Priory Centre and get involved in a collaborative art project – all ages and abilities welcome!

DAN group exhibition at Dartford’s Mick Jagger Centre open throughout December

Don’t miss our next Dartford Arts Network members’ group exhibition, opening at the Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford on the 1st December and running through Christmas to the 3rd Jan.

The exhibition will feature works by 12 local artists, varying sometimes drastically in medium, theme and imagery. We decided as a group that enforcing a theme would restrict our artists, and that an open show this year would give people the chance to submit a range of art works which convey the topics and issues which inspire them each individually.

The majority of original works in the show will be for sale, as well as limited edition art prints, postcards and notecards also available – Christmas is just around the corner and original, local art makes a wonderfully unique present!

Our Private View takes place on Sat 2nd December 6-8pm in the Mick Jagger Centre foyer; please do come and join us, meet the artists and get a sneak peek of the works before the exhibition really gets going. We often sell a lot of works at the private view, so come along to avoid missing out on your favourite!

Until then… catch the current show at the Mick Jagger Centre, held by our fabulous DAN member Kemi Adeyeme-Wilson (Art4Happiness) and running until our show goes up on 1st Dec.

Silk River finale comes to Dartford!

Last Wednesday, 20th September, DAN members joined What If Gallery, Dartford Borough Council, Kinetika, and other Silk River participants on the Dartford leg of the Silk River journey.

We assembled at 09.30 at the Bridge Community School, with the Dartford banner flowing beautifully in the morning breeze. Old, young, and those in between then set off on the long walk up the old tramway which leads to the Long Reach river bank. There we greeted the arrival of the travelling banners from the other towns along the Thames, and added our banner to their number. Setting off back along the tramway, we led the visiting travellers into our town. As we approached, the sounds of song travelled on the wind; we soon came upon a wandering minstrel in the form of a guitar-playing musician, serenading us with songs by Dartford’s famous Rolling Stones. Reaching the entrance to the Bridge Development, we were met by Dartford Bridge Community Primary School, who performed a fabulous rendition of Ruby Tuesday (appropriately near to the entrance to Ruby Tuesday Drive!).

Next stop was the What If Gallery, where Ruth Howard and the What If crew had put on a wonderful Indian exhibition, with images showing the process of making the banners as well as showcasing traditional Indian artefacts. We headed back to the war memorial outside Dartford Library, where a large group of local residents had gathered to witness the ceremonial raising of the flags. Before the flag raising began, we were treatedby the Council to a delicious spread in the ever-wonderful Peter Blake Gallery within the library. Homemade samosas and spring rolls filled our hungry tummies after a long, if enjoyable, walk down from the riverside.

Crowds of children from local schools had gathered outside for the flag raising, proudly carrying their own excellent flags they had made as part of the project. Our final stop was the outdoor theatre (via a little intro to the lakes for those not from the area) where children and teachers were gathered and received certificates from Jeremy Kite, from Dartford Borough Council for their work. The explosive finale then featured a magnificent bhangra performance which it was impossible not to join in with!

All in all it was a great day out – celebrating and exploring Dartford, meeting new people, showing off those beautiful banners and recognising the unbelievable amount of work which has gone into making this a success. Thanks go particularly to Kinetika for giving us the opportunity to be involved in such an inspiring project, the What If Gallery, Ruth Howard and Tanya Outen for all their hard work on Dartford’s banner and event, to Dartford Borough Council, and to everyone else who participated in some way.

What a wonderful experience, which we hope is not over yet. Watch this space for more Silk River related events coming up which we may feature in 😉

Photographs (c) Kate Withstandley

Bridge Community Day Land Art

Following the success of our Land Art sculpting at our recent Spring Fayre, we were invited to deliver a similar event at the Bridge Development Community Day on 19th August.

Tim and Amanda kindly volunteered to host the experience and the results were amazing! The local community visitors threw themselves into the designs and came up with some beautiful sculptures, ranging from mandala patterns, to faces and dancer figures.

A great community engagement tool, as well as art workshop, we’ll certainly be using this model in future events.

Final Silk River workshop tomorrow @ What If Gallery 7pm – JOIN US!

Tomorrow is the final workshop in our Silk River design process. We really want as many of you to be involved as possible, so please come along if you can. It will be lots of fun and really interesting.

The workshop begins at 7pm:
– Artists will need to create line drawings (scaled up if necessary) in order for these to be transferred easily onto the silk at the studios.
– The group started working out an overall design for the banner, with Dartford Bridge at the bottom. They made a final decision on which elements will be featured in the final banner:

SMALLPOX HOSPITAL
SILK PRODUCTION/ENGINEERING
ROLLING STONES
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
PETER BLAKE
DARTFORD LIBRARY/MUSEUM
CENTRAL PARK – BANDSTAND ETC
DARTFORD BRIDGE AND THAMES RIVER
– Feel free to bring source material but there will be some images provided as a guide too.

Monday 5th June is the beginning of a week of workshops at the Kinetika studios in Purfleet. I can only make a few days, so Tanya from the What If Gallery has agreed to be lead artist in my place, along with Ruth – however, we are still looking for more people to go along to these workshops as assistant artists and help in the creation of the banners. It sounds like a fabulous opportunity to learn new skills:

Two lead artists and assistant artists will interpret and develop the ideas of your community and, working with other artists under the artistic direction of Ali Pretty and lead artist Jacci Todd, design and make a 6 metre silk batik scroll telling the story of your place as referenced by your community.

Participants will learn new or develop existing skills in:
· Drawing, upscaling, laying out.
· Managing the handmade silk.
· Hot waxing.
· Colour mixing and the use of cold water dyes.
· Artistic decision making in the painting of the silks to this large scale.
· The process of double waxing.
Artists will gain an understanding of the necessary procedures needed for the fixing of the dyes and the removal of the wax as well as the necessary sewing and equipment required for the safe public display of the scrolls as flags.

If you would like to come along to the artist residencies, please let Ruth or I know – timings are 11am – 7pm each day. I will be driving there on Monday 5th & Tuesday 6th so am happy for up to 3 people to jump in with me.

There is also a premiere screening next week of a film which has been made about the project – in London 1st June 6.30pm – if you would like to go along to this, please let Ruth know and she will try to arrange tickets.

Dartford’s Marvellous Spring Arts Fayre

Making masks (c)Karen Withstandley Photography

Thank you so much to everyone who came along to our Spring Fayre at the weekend. It was a fantastic day and enjoyed by all. As our jester pranced around the stalls making children and adults alike giggle with his hilarious mime, folk duo Swan & Dyer provided a lovely soundtrack as the fayre got started. Morris group the Screaming Banshees started the dancing off, inviting audience members to get involved in the performance too. Our Land Art sculpture started to take shape and attract the attention of the passing crowds who joined in the construction and design, creating beautiful mandala and linear patterns using natural materials. The beer was flowing, provided by the brilliant Caveman Brewery, and soaked up by delicious handmade pizzas and popcorn. We felt the presence of the Green Man all around the Fayre – from his wonderful sculptural embodiment created by DAN member Nicola Claxton, to appearing in various forms in the street art paint jam artworks which developed throughout the day. Visitors perused the intricate handmade crafts, artworks and jewellery at the stalls, and many sat on the grass and produced pieces of art for the What If Gallery art competition. The art workshop run by the What If Gallery was packed full of kids and adults all day long, as was the face painting stall. Interspersed with all this we had acapella sea shanties performed by local group Swinging the Lead, with the day finished off by the extraordinary 4×4 Bhangra, who had everyone up dancing enthusiastically – even the Mayor was up on the stage! All in all it was a great day, and everyone who was involved in the organisation and management of the project should be very proud of themselves. Thank you to everyone who helped and came along, we hope you all enjoyed it. Feedback from chatting to visitors was that the event had a charming ‘village fayre’ ethos to it, intimate, relaxed and friendly – everything we hoped it would be. If you have any comments about the event, or want to get involved in our projects, please email us at hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com.

What If Gallery art activities (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
What If Gallery art activities (c)Karen Withstandley Photography (2)
The Jester (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
Spring Arts Fayre (c)Karen Withstandley Photography (3)
Spring Arts Fayre (c)Karen Withstandley Photography (2)
Screaming Banshees (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
Richard Slater Portraits (c)Greg Shrubsole Photography
Paint Jam – Rachel Girvan (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
Paint Jam – Colin Metcalfe (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
Paint Jam – CizeOne (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
NJC Crafts (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
Land Art Sculpture (c)Kate Withstandley Photography
Land Art Sculpture (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
Land Art Sculpture (c)Greg Shrubsole Photography
Face Painting (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
Green Man Sculpture by Nicola Claxton (c)Greg Shrubsole Photography
Eleanor McEnery crafts (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
Craft stall (c)Greg Shrubsole Photography
Caveman Brewery (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
Cake and craft stalls (c)Greg Shrubsole Photography
Art Competition entries (c)Greg Shrubsole Photography
4x4Bhangra (c)Karen Withstandley Photography
4x4Bhangra (c)Karen Withstandley Photography (3)
4x4Bhangra (c)Karen Withstandley Photography (2)