Basque children in Salford – Update 4

Basque Children 001It’s been a while since I last talked about the Basque children in Salford, because I’ve had to put my research on hold while I do other stuff. However three exciting things have happened this year, two of them this week, so here goes!

Exciting thing 1) In February I was invited to the opening of an exhibition by the Basque Children of ’37 Association at the Peace Museum in Bradford, and met Carmen Kilner from the Association. We have spoken by e-mail on many occasions, but this was the first time we had met. It was a great exhibition, followed by a viewing of the DVD “The Guernica Children”. In the question and answer section afterwards, I asked if anyone had any information on the children at the Sheffield Colony in Froggat/Grindleford, which is where the Salford children moved on to. Afterwards, Simon Martinez spoke to me, curious that he hadn’t known about this move. He has since researched it and written about the Sheffield Colony, which you can read on the Basque children’s website here .

Exciting thing 2) In January, I took part in a Masterclass through the Ideas4Ordsall project for emerging artists in Salford. We were filmed by Cheryl Twomey as we talked to Amy Goodwin – the curator at Salford Museum and Art Gallery – about geting work into public galleries. (The film can be viewed here.) Anyway – and this is the really exciting bit – I followed all the advice, applied for an exhibition and was accepted!  So from July 18th to 24th Sepember 2017 next year, I will have an art exhibition at Ordsall Hall based on the story of the Basque Children in Salford. Whoo hoo…

So thanks to Dr.Jessica Symons, from the Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures at Salford University for organising the masterclass and to Amy for her good advice.

Exciting thing 3) Spurred on by getting this exhibition, I decided I had to find out about the Basque children who, according to the Salford Reporter, went to St. Joseph’s Home in Eccles. So, I spent 5 hours yesterday at the Salford Local History Library staring at the microfilm of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal for 1937, and eventually found some information on them, which I will tell you about in a later post as you must be bored by now!

Yarn Bombing on The Valley Estate

Yarn Bombing in SwintonHave just finished a six week project with a lovely group of women on the Valley Estate in Swinton. This project was aimed at those who are isolated and lonely in the area. The aim was to cover a security camera pole directly in front of the housing resource centre to brighten the place up!

Bed Quilt for the Radcliffe Bed at Ordsall Hall

Radclyffe Bed Over the last few years I’ve done various work at Ordsall Hall. It’s a really special and interesting place. I think I’m drawn back to it again and again because so much of its history and story is visible and my practice is very much based on the traces we leave behind and the things we choose to keep.The house has had an interesting history and a variety of uses and shows the scars of all its reincarnations. You could look at these as spoiling the original, but without these  it would have been destroyed many years ago. In December 2014 a small miracle happened, and an original piece of furniture from the Hall was returned on loan, The Radclyffe Bed which had been lost from history. As a fundraiser for the Hall people were encouraged to have their names embroidered onto a bed cover so I made sure mine was on the list! Today I’ve been to the unveiling and its delightful. The embroidery was done by The Embroideres Guild, including the Manchester Branch which I belong to.Radclyffe Bed Quilt

DIY’s Three Year Plan

DIY CollageThis is the fourth time I’ve helped facilitate DIY Theatre Companys Three Year Plan, that’s twelve years that have gone very fast! We ran three sessions, one for the full company, one for the board of directors and one for the friday group who undertake the educational activities for the company. As usual they were really welcoming and very forthcoming with ideas and suggestions for the future and practical solutions to problems.

It has been fantastic watching this theatre company grow over the years, how the members have taken on more responsibility for themselves and the development of the company. I was particularly iimpressedby how much evaluation of projects and activities is part of the DNA of the company.

DIY is an established Theatre Company of learning disabled performers who have been creating entertaining, accessible and thought-provoking theatre since 1994. I’ve known them since 1995. In 2013 I was involved in a Heritage Lottery project with them called Picking up the threads to celebrate their history

IMAA Warehouse Residency 7

DSCF6863On the 10th November I took part in a joint crit between the Islington Mill Art Academy and Artists based at the Mill. Steve Hockett from the Mill and I both presented. I found it quite a difficult crit but very useful. We have put up a post on the Art Academy website about our experience. Click here to read post.


Felt appliqué for Bronze Arts Award

felt objects collageHave just finished working with a group of children at Oasis Academy in Salford. This was part of an Arts Council funded project run through Salford Community Leisure. Based around a retrospective exhibition of the art work of Colin Burrows at Salford Museum and Art gallery this project was to work with year 9 and10’s to look at everyday objects in a different way. Organised by Alison Burrows, Colin’s widow, 5 different artists are running sessions in different art forms and the children are using their work to complete their Bronze Arts Award.

In my sessions, we drew every day objects with thick charcoal lines, then reproduced these drawings in stitch on layers of felt which we then cut away to create a reverse appliqué, and then we made a more traditional appliqué. The results were amazing as you can see from the images.

IMAA Warehouse Residency 6

DSCF6864When we started the residency we asked ourselves three qustions..

What have I made? What do I plan to make? What kind of artist do I want to be?

I brought in the dress hanging on the gibbet coathanger that I made for Part 1 of my City and Guilds in Embroidery years ago, as this is what I consider to be the first piece of art rather than decoration I ever made. It’s the first thing I tried to make to invoke a feeling, a feeling of discomfort in this case. Based on the design sheet you can just see in the background of the picture, with the title “The media”, it was based around two articles from Marie Claire magazines, one about children at war and one about baby beauty queens.

I’ve now brought my talkie walkie doll into the studio, still in the bag she has been living in the loft in. I was going to take her out of the bag, but at the moment the bag is symbolic of protection, and somehow the doll is getting muddled with the little boy on the beach from my previous post, who just looked like a doll…

I’m in a real muddle creatively about what is going on here, but I suppose that is what a residency is all about?