Tag Archives: sustainability

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

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!

First Plastic Fantastic Workshop Success!

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 hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com

All images (c) Kate Withstandley Photography

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