Thanks to everyone who came, saw and bought at the DAN Christmas Art Fair.
It was great fun to chat to people, show our work and sell some pieces to the lovely Dartford public. A huge thank you to the Priory Centre for hosting us and for being such a great continued supporter and collaborator.
Every DAN member with a stall sold something at the fair, with Pete and Mihaela selling a full painting each and Pete getting a portrait commission! Sam’s balloon animals were a hit with the kids, Sue and Nicola’s crafts went down a storm and Kate’s abstract works gathered some interested visitors.
We had a number of people who asked when we would be back, so we’re hoping we can do another Priory fair before next Christmas…watch this space..
This summer we are supporting DAN Lead Artist Nicola Claxton in her Tree of life project, with art workshops at the Priory Centre across the coming months to create a sustainable sculpture raising public awareness of environmental concerns.
These events follow on from previous DAN projects, including last year’s Drastic Plastic Action which was also run by Nicola. This utilised free public workshops in the centre to facilitate the community build of 3 large hanging bird, fish and jellyfish sculptures which were hung from the roof of the Market Hall area in the Priory Centre in September last year.
This year, Nicola will be hosting 4 workshops in order to build a ‘tree of life’; members of the public can make bark ‘scales’ and decorations for the tree, which will be on display after completion. The workshop building and subsequent exhibition aims to highlight the plight of our natural world and raise awareness of the importance of sustainable behaviour in everyday life.
The first workshop will be on 18th July and is for Dartford Science and Technology College students to help begin building the ‘tree’ on their annual community day. We work with the college each year, making the most of their volunteering offer to help us get our projects off the ground.
The next 3 workshops will be open to the public and will take place in the Priory Market Hall area. Do come along on the following dates, where adults and children can join us in bringing our Tree to life!
FREE workshops, no artistic skill needed!
10am – 4pm on…
Saturday 27th July
Sunday 11th August
Saturday 17th August
Saturday 17th August
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.
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.
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 email@example.com or find us on social media for more information…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for copies of images.
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!.
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.
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