We held a box-making workshop on 29th October. Five folk turned out to help after a the-day-before notice on the Tiree facebay page. It was fun and many hands made light work. People enjoyed themselves so much they offered to return to paint the houses! There were options to make something a different shape or style from the house boxes but people opted to be directed and preferred to stick to the house style. Maybe as these were already part made. People enjoyed themselves so much they volunteered to return and paint the houses. They look beautiful and so do the cards. Was fun putting it all together.
The conversation went well. A big thanks to Sophie, Sam, Pat and Fiona for coming along. Sophie and Sam work as Youth Workers for the Tiree Trust and Pat is a voluntary Director. Fiona is a fellow student on the Art and Social Practice course. The group was positive about the idea of ‘something big made by Tiree people’. Something to visit. Something that spans the age barrier between parents and children. Something that blends old and new traditions.
We talked about the difficulties in getting people involved. Although there are 51 different community groups on Tiree! Ideas that came up:
- Knitting - a traditional art
- Hynish Teas as an ‘exhibition space’
- Mental wellness and the need to make as a protective space
- Mending as a possible theme
- An Turas for display – could we change it?
- There are lots of opportunities around the pier area – empty buildings, the pier ‘waiting room’
- The Skate Park plans incorporating a giant something…. accordion?
- A sculpture of what groups think Tiree is
- Reflecting on what Tiree means to you and the idea of asking everyone on Tiree for 5 words on ‘what Tiree means to you'
This last suggestion seemed to capture the group’s attention. Ideas for how the words could be used flowed. A book, audio, visual art?
Some of the things I planned for were included. My plan helped me remember some pics of projects to help set a context. I was pleased that I managed to keep my gob shut quite a lot and provide a space for others to speak. Allowing pauses is effective.
The glass making went smoothly. The making was with no direction on content apart from each person having a smaller piece of a bigger thing. I think this was okay given time constraints and caution of some participants. But was a bit of a cop out too. The process may have benefited from more direction, like some of the ideas discussed in the plan, to try to create a piece with ‘meaning’. Everyone learned to cut glass and overall it was a good ‘taster’ with some experimentation thrown in.
It might have been good to go outside for 2 mins before we got into the making – or to have sent them and I could have got more prepared. But mainly to give a sense of stillness before starting to make.
I am planning to hold a conversation around public art with staff and a director from Tiree Trust, so am thinking around the subject. Why does public art interest me?
- It can add to a sense of place
- It can make connections and provide creative outlets
- I would like to work with people to create something with meaning that they are proud of. (And is beautiful and maybe functional).
What do I want to get out of conversation?
- Engagement in the concept of what public art is
- Ideas for a possible community art project or issue
- Practicing skills eg listening, openness to ideas, recording, contributing clearly and succinctly, providing a framework that invites participation and provides openness and clarity.
- Get feedback on my project idea? ‘Passing Places, Conversation Spaces’
“The expertise of the artist lies in being a non-expert, a provider of frameworks on which experiences can form and sometimes be directed and channeled to generate new insights around a particular issue.”
Pablo Helguera p54 Education for Socially Engaged Art
- explain why holding meeting
- meeting is in two halves. talking and making (as an element of exchange)
- look up Roxane's Mirrie Dancers project and show as an example
- Benefits of public art
- What is needed for a good art participation project/key elements of public art
- How to establish objectives
- How do you chose who is involved
- What is the role of artist
- How to involve people who don't consider themselves to be creative (and why seek this?)
- brainstorming - ideas where this could happen on Tiree and who with?
Making glass points to communicate
- Not much time so something simple.
- Technical constraints are no single piece bigger than 2 cm square:
- Something that represents or reflects on what you bring to the Trust, what you find have gained, has it changed how you view Tiree?
- Suggest it is joint piece but can be individual elements of a triptych. If its a three they should hang together somewhere 'public'.
- Define level of imput/what you are asking them to do eg
- I would like you to be responsible for deciding the theme of the piece. I would like you to sketch for 2 mins. Then come back to me to help out with next stage.
Homework was to hold a conversation for at least 15 mins with at least two other people. The idea is to begin to work with in the social context. Fiona got folk together to discuss the assertion "Access to art and art making is vital to sustain a compassionate, resilient and attractive community" Highlights of being involved in the process for me were:
- having a chat with others about a subject that interests me
- moments in the conversation that felt 'alive'; people were talking frankly about creativity and mental health
- the thin line between mindfulness and mindlessness and how we judge how people chose to relax/be creative
- realisation that the importance of product vs process is subjective
- sensing that the argument about Art vs Craft is a distraction
- people value public art (like the tiles in the small hall on Tiree)
- Fiona is thinking about a wind festival. Cool!
- the craft group needs space to make a mess
- A benefit of an art project in small community is that it allows space for differences and individuality to be expressed so allows appreciation of others views.
- the importance of the intention in setting up discussions like this.