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 email@example.com.
Not long now and our Green Man will be rising from the Spring earth of Central park to brighten up your weekend.
Join us this Saturday 20th May for our biennial Spring Arts Fayre in association with Dartford Borough Council:
MUSIC / DANCING / ART COMPETITION / ARTS / CRAFTS / BUY / MAKE / WATCH / PARTICIPATE / OBSERVE / FOOD / DRINK / FOLK BAND / SEA SHANTIES / UNIQUE GREEN MAN CRAFT BEER / POPCORN / JEWELLERY / LAND ART / SCULPTURE / JESTER / BRASS BAND / BHANGRA / KIDS ACTIVITIES / FACE PAINTING and much more…
11AM – 4PM / CENTRAL PARK BANDSTAND
We had our first Silk River workshop last week. It was a a bit last minute, so we didn’t have huge numbers turn up, but it was a really interesting and enjoyable evening and some lovely sketches came out of it.
The next workshop will be on 31st May 7-9.30pm at the What If Gallery in Dartford – it would be lovely to see as many of you there as possible but I know not everyone will be able to do the date.
If you are interested in contributing to the project, but can’t make the workshops, then you’re more than welcome to produce some sketches at home. You can then either drop your works into the What If gallery, give to us at a meeting, or email them over.
You can use whatever medium you like, but we’re focusing mainly on providing the Kinetika artists with fairly simple forms which they can translate onto silk, so don’t spend too much time on small details – bold and graphic is ideal.
We want to represent a selection of Dartford-relevant:
Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any clarification or want to ask a question
Our first Silk River workshop is taking place on Tuesday 11th April 7-9.30pm at the What If Gallery in Dartford.
Please bring with you any images you might want to use as inspiration, we will have some there for reference. We will provide materials but feel free to bring anything which you would specifically like to work with. We will be focusing on sketch concepts and the images need to be fairly simple line drawings for the banner, rather than worked up paintings or detailed drawings.
Here is a starter list of some Dartford places & ‘things’ which have been mooted as possible subjects for the banner. It’s not exclusive:
Brooklands Lake / Gunpowder / Tunnel in park / Fish / Brewery / Len Goodman / Daren Bread / Beach huts / Mill / Bandstand / River darent / Holy Trinity Church & St George Mural / Library / Peter Blake / Henry VII / Henry VIII / Museum / Market / Watt Tyler / Duke of York (East Hill) / Anne of Cleeves / Dartford Creek / Glaxo / Warehouses / Mick Jagger Way / Bridge Community School / Medicine plants on hospital site / Road to smallpox hospital / Fireworks / Marshes / Animals / Aerodrome / London (Roman) Road
Here’s a reminder of what the project is about…
Kinetika, an arts organisation based in Purfleet, is undertaking a project to highlight the history of the silk trade routes from India to London, with the Thames river channel being a key route. Dartford Borough Council are leading a project to involve Dartford in this. Kinetika have invited 10 towns situated along the river Thames to take part in this project and Dartford is one of these. Each town is ‘twinned’ with a corresponding town in India – Dartford’s twin town is Howrah. The aim of the project is to create a set of large (6m long) banners – painted with wax, and made of silk (referencing the silk trade). These banners will then be walked through the town at an event in September this year. Kinetika are walking through each town involved in the project and so linking the independent events in each town to create one larger overall event. They will be doing a parallel walk along the Hooghly River in India.
Each town is asked to select some ‘lead artists’ – these artists are responsible for producing design concepts for the production of the banner. During the first week in June these lead artists will take concept designs to the Kinetika studio in Purfleet and produce together the banners which will be used in the walk in September.
The lead artists from Dartford for this project are DAN Chair Kate Withstandley and What If Gallery director & DAN Member Ruth Howard. They will be organising and hosting two design workshops at the What If Gallery on 11th April and 31st May 7 – 9.30pm, where local artists are invited to come along to produce sketch deigns to be incorporated into the final banners.
For further information please contact email@example.com
We at Dartford Arts Network (DAN) have been busy organising our newest project – a group exhibition of our work at the Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford. Although primarily a music venue, this exciting building also has a large exhibition space in its foyer and hosts a regularly changing show of art works.
As a group, we aim to hold an annual show, whereby all subscribed members are invited to show a collection of their work. This year we have chosen the theme ‘Traces’ to guide the subject matter. We chose this theme as it can be widely interpreted, and gives enough scope for all of our artists to submit their works, which will inevitably vary quite dramatically in process and style. It does, however, provide a linking thread between the images. A viewer might find connections between two pieces of work which previously wouldn’t have seemed connected. In this way, each work gains a new aspect for the viewer to discover. Traces could be ephemeral; a spiritual trace, or an emotional trace. It could be physical; marks of activity, or history. It will be fascinating to see how each artist has interpreted the theme from their own unique perspective.
Featuring a variety of mediums, sizes and styles, the exhibition will showcase a section of the huge wealth of talent which we cultivate within our group.
The show is open from 2nd November until 30th November, in the foyer at the Mick Jagger Centre. Our Free Private View is being held on 19th November 6.30pm – 9pm, where we will be giving an extra 10% off the price of all works sold on the night with the flyer. Come along and discover which ‘traces’ you can find.
To provide a soundtrack to the evening, we have teamed up with Los Endos – the best Genesis tribute band you’ll ever see – and are holding our exhibition Private View on the night of their show at the Mick Jagger Centre. The PV will begin an hour before the show, and we strongly recommend you combine visiting our show with seeing the band too. You won’t regret it! Tickets are £18 and available from the Mick Jagger Centre box office – www.themickjaggercentre.com / 01322 291100
On Saturday 17th we held our second and final Plastic Fantastic workshop. Again, public response was great, with plenty of adults and children creating beautiful works of art from our treasure trove of plastic waste.
Our first guest was an adult, Ann-Marie, who had been sent our way by the Project Dirt newsletter – it was great to meet someone who had come specifically to see us and the project. Her creation was a stunning Indian-inspired elephant, complete with jewels and hand-drawn patterns.
Throughout the day we had a variety of guests, but all were inspired by the opportunity to just get stuck in and create. One girl and her brother stayed for a couple of hours, making piece after piece and adding it to the tree. You could almost see the creative urge pouring out of them!
Drawings/elephants/yoghurt pot caterpillars and sea snakes, CD sun catchers, CD case compositions, crayon pictures and paintings were all added to our tree – both on the branches and on the base.
We also chatted to visitors who were interested in the concept and drawn in by the map sculpture and images in our ‘Ideas Workshop’.
Both the map and tree sculpture are now on display in the Priory Centre Market Place for a week. The barrier we created for safety reasons was also decorated by visitors to the workshop – some with the help of our volunteer artists. They are now adorned with paintings and drawings of sea creatures and plenty of glitter!
The sculptures were formally opened this morning by the Mayor and Mayoress of Dartford, and will be on display until Sunday 25th September.
Dartford Arts Network would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made this project possible – including:
Ellandi / Project Dirt / The Priory Centre / Wickes Dartford / Dartford Borough Council / Mayor & Mayoress of Dartford, all our workshop participants and of course, all the DAN volunteers who have worked incredibly hard to make this a success. Thank you all.
If you would like more information on how to get involved with future projects, or how to join up and become a member, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Facebook, or tweet us @dartfordarts
A huge thanks to everyone who came to our public workshop in the Priory Centre on Saturday, we had a fantastic time and our plastic wishing tree is now looking beautifully full.
We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the local shoppers, and barely had a quiet moment all day. The children loved it, and so did the adults – we even had some impromtu face painting from one dad who got stuck in!
So many beautiful and individual decorations were made for our tree – each one unique and carefully crafted by concentrated little minds. We have lots of stunning CD sun-catchers, dazzling as they spin and the light hits them, plastic elephants from milk bottles, plastic lid octopuses, plastic bottle tulips (which make great flowers for our tree branches!), yoghurt pot caterpillars, and much more. Some children went fully freestyle and one young chap created a beach scene within his yoghurt pots – very creative!
We chatted with people in our Ideas Workshop about where our plastic goes and how it can end up in the bellies of sea creatures through our mismanagement of waste. Our plastic bottle map helped us to convey this message, and was an eye-catching focal point to start a dialogue with passers by. One visitor was so moved by the images in our unit, that she immediately photographed them to share on social media in order to, as she said, ‘raise awareness’. This is exactly what we hoped for in creating this project, and being able to see the message about waste and recycling having an impact, both through art making and through discussion, was a great feeling.
We have another workshop coming up this Saturday 17th September. Same time (10am – 4pm) same place (Priory Centre Market Place).
Our first workshop was so successful that we used up most of the materials which we had collected for both workshops! We will be spending this week collecting more, but if you are planning to come along on Saturday and have any of the following at home going spare, please do bring them along – clean and dry please!.
- Unwanted CDS
- Plastic bottles (any type)
- 2pint milk bottles
The map and tree sculpture will on display in the Priory Centre for a week following the workshop on Saturday. There will be an official opening by the Mayor & Mayoress of Dartford on the morning of 19th September at 10am. Do come and see your work be admired by the Mayor, and spread the word to friends and family.
See you on Saturday!
The Plastic Fantastic team have been hard at work beginning construction of the ‘Map’ sculpture in preparation for our first workshop coming up on 10th September at the Priory Centre in Dartford. We are using a currently empty unit to construct the sculptures and this will also be the site for our Ideas Workshop on the day.
The ‘making’ part of the workshops will take place in the central market hall area – our other sculpture will be a ‘Wishing Tree’ built from polypipe and at our workshops we will work with the public to create art objects from reclaimed materials which will then hang from the tree.
We are interested in the journey our plastics embark on when we discard them without recycling them. As it stands, in certain areas our oceans have more plastic in than zooplankton and it is predicted that if waste continues at the current rate, in 30 years there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish!
Our goal is to work directly with the public in creating a beautiful artwork which will educate as well as delight.
Come and explore our Ideas Workshop and find out what you can do to help, make a seashell windchime, a beautiful yoghurt pot caterpillar or paint a picture for our CD case display boxes. Or just come and have a chat about what we’re up to!
Creative workshops: 10th & 17th September, 10am – 4pm – Priory Centre Market Hall
On 20th July we at Dartford Arts Network undertook an art workshop in preparation for our Plastic Fantastic project in September. Hosted by the Priory Centre in their Market Hall area, the workshop was attended by GCSE art students from Dartford Science and Technology College as part of their Community Day.
Our Plastic Fantastic project was originally intended to have 2 public workshops, both in September. But this was a chance for us to test the logistics of our workshop plan, employ some extra hands to help us to make the elements of our ‘map’ sculpture, and also to engage with the local community and make useful contacts.
We split the ten students in 4 groups and provided 4 separate workshop areas for varying tasks. These were as follows:
Workshop 1 – Filling CD case ‘vases’:
Sue brought along a number of pre-made plastic display cases made from old CD cases. The students were asked to either make a painting for the case, or to fill them with ‘found objects’ which they chose from a selection of plastic waste which Sue had beachcombed and collected. These cases will eventually be stacked to make a display wall behind the map.
Workshop 2 – Cardboard land contouring:
We brought along some pre-cut out areas of map and cardboard sheets with the layers marked out for creating the cardboard land contours of the map. The students were asked to carefully cut these out and being building up the layers.
Workshop 3 – Decoupage sea:
Students were taught how create sheets of beautiful blue decoupage (decorative collage) to build up the sea base of the sculpture.
Workshop 4 – Discussion / Feedback / Breakout
The students were encouraged to spend 10 minutes looking at material information and facts about the sustainable issues our project is trying to highlight. We then asked them to write/illustrate on paper how they feel about it, and to communicate thoughts and ideas they may have about it. The information we have gleaned from this can be used to inform our September workshops and perhaps be included in the final works.
There were 3 Dartford Arts Network workshop volunteers – Kate, Sue and Julie – as well as Alison Medd, the student’s art teacher. We were also lucky to be joined by Miriam Burke, an art researcher conducting her Phd on exploring sustainability through art.
Apart from being great publicity for the project and allowing us to test-run for our September workshops, the day was thoroughly enjoyable. The students were a joy to work with, getting fully involved and creating some wonderful pieces. The passing general public were very interested and enthusiastic about what we were doing, which is a positive sign going forward.
The next step is to continue putting together the elements of the map sculpture, ready for its display on 18th Sep, as well as focusing on preparing the Wishing Tree for the public workshops.
The two workshops in September will be open to all ages and abilities, and will centre around making decoration for the wishing tree (which will likely be made from waste pipe) which will be displayed somewhere in the local area after the workshops.
To find our more, or to sign up for the workshops, please email us at email@example.com
All images (c) Kate Withstandley Photography