Tag Archives: design

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.

Join us for upcoming Silk River workshops

We at DAN are part of Kinetika’s Silk River Project, in collaboration with Dartford Borough Council & the What If Gallery. The project is part of a year-long programme marking the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the cultural relationship with the UK.

Local artists and creatives are invited to attend the workshops detailed in the attached flyer – to produce sketches which will be used to build the design for the final silk banners. The batik-printed silk banners will be walked through Dartford in September and culminate in a celebratory community event.

We would love you to be involved in this exciting project with us, so please do join us at the What If Gallery workshops and on the test walk.

RSVP hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com

Silk River Design Workshop

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:
-People/figures/faces
-Buildings/places/things
-Patterns/decorative style

Check out the website for more info, or have a look at our project page

Feel free to contact hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com if you need any clarification or want to ask a question

1st Silk River Design Workshop – Tues 11th April at 7-9.30pm at the What If Gallery

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 hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com