Nicola, Sue and the team have been busy bees, progressing the project to its current halfway point. So far, we have had both a workshop for the Dartford Science and Technology (DSTC) College Community Day and a public workshop in the Priory Centre, where passing shoppers and their families joined us in constructing the Tree of Life and producing decorations for its leaves.
Coming up this weekend is the next instalment of the public workshops on Sunday 11th August, followed by the final day of creating and a public opening on 17th August.
The DTSC Community Day took place on 18th July and kicked off the project with a hive of activity. The 12 students from the college split into groups to begin working on different areas of construction. One group began formulating strategies for constructing the body of the tree, while others created bark, leaves and decorations. These themes continued through the next two workshops, with DAN artists and volunteers sparking discussion with participants about the importance of clean air and constructing branches to develop the body of the tree.
The next two workshops will continue and then complete the sculpture, with further branches added to heighten and expand the overall shape, as well as installing the bark, leaves and embellishments created by the public. Following the final workshop on 17th August, the finished sculpture will be unveiled in the Market Hall by the Mayor of Dartford, as an example of environmental education and raising awareness through art; something we at DAN feel strongly is of key importance in moving forward as a society.
The next public workshop is this Sunday 11th August 10am – 4pm…
..followed by the final workshop on 17th August 10am – 4pm and a public opening at 5pm on the same day.
If you would like to get involved please do come along on the day, or feel free to contact us for more information about getting involved or becoming a member at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have some very exciting plans for 2019, with around 5 projects in the pipeline!
We will be starting to send out information about what’s coming up very soon, but in the meantime, if you would like to sign up to our mailing list for more information you can do so here.
We would also love for you to join us as a member! You do not have to be a professional artist – a love of/interest in art and a willingness to get involved in boosting the creative aspects of the local area are the only things you need 🙂 If you are a professional artist, however, we can help you with becoming involved in/organising local exhibitions and events, making useful local contacts and engaging in professional development opportunities.
We at DAN believe everyone has an artist inside them, so if you are interested in exploring your artistic side in more depth through community projects, group exhibitions, and a whole host of other opportunities, do consider coming along to one of our monthly meetings. We invite new members along to our Creative and Social Meetings (which we alternate with our more administrative Business meetings).
Our next Creative and Social meeting will be in the first week of April, then first week of June after that. Email us at
to find our where and when to come along, and keep an eye out for what we have coming up this year.
Love DAN x
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.
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 email@example.com for copies of images.
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.
Inspired by the Silk River project, in conjunction with Dartford Borough Council and Kinetika, along with visits from traditional Indian artists, Dartford Science and Technology College students created these artworks at a recent workshop with us at the What If Gallery in Dartford.
The Silk River project culminates in Dartford tomorrow, with a walk through the town to collect the banner we created with artists from the What If Gallery and Kinetika, at their Purfleet studios. To join us on this visually engaging and culturally fascinating walk, register here and meet us at Dartford Bridge Community Primary School at 09.30am or 10.30am.
Continuing the legacy of the project, the What If Gallery will be holding two Batik silk printing workshops at the Kinetika studios in Purfleet, on 14th Oct and 18th Nov. The courses are £20pp and include all materials and teaching. Please contact Ruth at the What If to book, they are sure to be fantastic days out.
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.