Tag Archives: what if gallery

DSTC Community Day – Singing Scrolls Workshop for Silk River Project

Murshidabad artists demonstrating their singing scrolls at a recent Silk River meeting

As part of the Silk River project, we are collaborating with Dartford Science & Technology College on their community day on 19th July to create singing scroll artworks which will be displayed and performed at an event in September this year.

We have recently been working on a project called Silk River, which brings together 10 towns along the Thames in an art collaboration to celebrate 70-years of India’s independence. The What If Gallery and DAN artists have designed and produced a 6m long silk Batik banner to represent Dartford, with the help of Kinetika, the arts organisation who are running the project. The banners from each town (and from twinned towns in India) will be walked along the Thames and through each town on a 5 day walk in September this year – Dartford’s day walk will be on 20th September.

As part of the project, we had a visit from some artists from Murshidabad. They gave us a demonstration of their own traditional folk art form – singing scrolls. The artists paint a scroll of paper with images depicting a story or event. They then compose a song to accompany the scroll, and as the song and story progresses, the scroll is unravelled vertically to reveal the next stage of the story. It was a beautiful experience to watch these artworks in action; part visual art, part music, part performance art, they are incredibly engaging and moving.

Our aim for the community day workshop is for the students from DSTC to create some of these types of artworks in groups composed of art and music students. They will then be asked to perform their works as part of the final walk celebrations in Dartford in September when the silk banners are paraded through the town.

We worked with the students last year on our Plastic Fantastic project when they came along to a preparatory event we had set up as a precursor to our public workshops. They were a cheerful and polite group with lots of creativity and it will be great to work with them again and of course the dynamic and inspiring Alison Medd, Director of Learning, Creative Arts & Performance at the college.

Final Silk River workshop tomorrow @ What If Gallery 7pm – JOIN US!

Tomorrow is the final workshop in our Silk River design process. We really want as many of you to be involved as possible, so please come along if you can. It will be lots of fun and really interesting.

The workshop begins at 7pm:
– Artists will need to create line drawings (scaled up if necessary) in order for these to be transferred easily onto the silk at the studios.
– The group started working out an overall design for the banner, with Dartford Bridge at the bottom. They made a final decision on which elements will be featured in the final banner:

SMALLPOX HOSPITAL
SILK PRODUCTION/ENGINEERING
ROLLING STONES
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
PETER BLAKE
DARTFORD LIBRARY/MUSEUM
CENTRAL PARK – BANDSTAND ETC
DARTFORD BRIDGE AND THAMES RIVER
– Feel free to bring source material but there will be some images provided as a guide too.

Monday 5th June is the beginning of a week of workshops at the Kinetika studios in Purfleet. I can only make a few days, so Tanya from the What If Gallery has agreed to be lead artist in my place, along with Ruth – however, we are still looking for more people to go along to these workshops as assistant artists and help in the creation of the banners. It sounds like a fabulous opportunity to learn new skills:

Two lead artists and assistant artists will interpret and develop the ideas of your community and, working with other artists under the artistic direction of Ali Pretty and lead artist Jacci Todd, design and make a 6 metre silk batik scroll telling the story of your place as referenced by your community.

Participants will learn new or develop existing skills in:
· Drawing, upscaling, laying out.
· Managing the handmade silk.
· Hot waxing.
· Colour mixing and the use of cold water dyes.
· Artistic decision making in the painting of the silks to this large scale.
· The process of double waxing.
Artists will gain an understanding of the necessary procedures needed for the fixing of the dyes and the removal of the wax as well as the necessary sewing and equipment required for the safe public display of the scrolls as flags.

If you would like to come along to the artist residencies, please let Ruth or I know – timings are 11am – 7pm each day. I will be driving there on Monday 5th & Tuesday 6th so am happy for up to 3 people to jump in with me.

There is also a premiere screening next week of a film which has been made about the project – in London 1st June 6.30pm – if you would like to go along to this, please let Ruth know and she will try to arrange tickets.

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