Having attended a Creative Journal course at Metal@Southend, we were given the opportunity to display our journals and altered books at the Village Green Festival on 11 July 2015 in Chalkwell Park. We jumped at the chance.
Metal had recently renovated an old stable block in Chalkwell Park into an art school. Located in the centre of the park, with views of the gardens and the estuary beyond is where our exhibition was to be held. We visited the venue a few days earlier to drop off our sketchbooks and to check out the space. Each artist was allocated a one or two hour slot in which to invigilate the exhibition and explain the project and work to visitors.
On the morning of the event, we set out the sketchbooks and altered books on tables that would encourage visitors to handle them. The work is very tactile and we wanted this to be a fundamental part of the user experience.
The festival only opened at 11am and the exhibition was quiet to begin with, but as the park began to fill with people we soon had a regular flow of visitors wandering in to have a look. The festival is a family event and we had visitors of all ages dropping in…
We all thought the exhibition was a huge success and everyone who took part really enjoyed the experience.
In Leigh-on-sea, there is a local Meetup group called Trawler, that supports small businesses and self-employed people. They meet on a regular basis and its a great opportunity to share ideas or to get advice from like-minded people.
Having been inspired by a couple of recent courses Jo was invited to run a creative workshop at one of the sessions.
The task she set the group was to make their own mandala that would represent happiness to them. The word mandala can be translated to mean ‘circle’ and it has been used for centuries as a meditation tool. Jo chose the theme of happiness as we can sometimes forget to be happy and yet it has many benefits which can lead us to be more productive and effective in our lives.
Using magazines, she asked the group to quickly pick images that they liked, it was important that they used their gut instinct, therefore not allowing themselves to overthink or question their choice. Once they had selected a few images they cut them out and glued them onto their paper plate. The process involved starting in the centre and working outwards, making sure the images overlapped the edges of the circle. Once complete, the edges were then trimmed to make the circular mandala.
These are some of the lovely creations…
Having created their own piece of happiness everyone was asked to take their mandala home and display it where they could see it everyday, giving them a gentle reminder to be happy.