It's been a fun and busy June here in Hebden Bridge. There's been so much going on including: Handmade Parade, Alternative Christmas, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, Hebden Bridge Open Studios plus lots more besides!
I had a lovely time exhibiting my drawings in The Shed Gallery during the Arts Festival and having a 'pop-up studio' at The Egg Factory. It was great to spend the Open Studios weekend making mini stick take-away drawings to give to visitors.
How did it go? First huge 'thank-yous!' to everyone that encouraged me & came to visit, it was a really positive experience.
I was really satisfied with the way the work hung in The Shed Gallery (I used battens and magnets to display the drawings which gave the work a sense of floating). The shed created an intimate space which could be viewed from inside the shed or outside it. It was interesting to see some people get up close and others keep their distance. Also the mirth most children displayed at seeing the drawings was entertaining.
Marmite Work? My drawings do seem to create a bit of a Marmite effect but I noticed that most people became quite engaged in my stick drawing process. I set up my Pop-Up Studio just outside the shed and spent three days creating small stick drawings. I even encouraged some people to have a go at creating their own stick drawing (although the ink I was using had severe staining properties so I did end up reining that in a bit).
Take-Away? People were invited to take a drawing away and this in itself became a wonderful experiment. Which drawing would you choose? Some people were shy about taking the one they really wanted because they weren't sure 'what that says about me' others 'felt sorry' for certain drawings so took home a particularly forlorn looking character. While some found the one they wanted immediately, others spent five minutes quietly musing which one to 'take-away'. Most people were genuinely excited and surprised to be able to take-away a drawing.
Artist/Audience Relationship I personally found the act of creating and sharing to be a positive one. It created another dimension to my work. It helped the viewer understand and engage with my process and became participatory on various levels. I felt more engaged and I think the audience did too. On the most basic level it acted as an ice-breaker and gave a focus and created a conversation.
Most frequently asked Q & A?
Q: 'Do you always draw with the same stick?'
A: "Yes! I have two sticks, a large one and a mini one. I have been drawing with them both for 16 years!"
Development? I would love to develop what I have discovered about my practice in the future to create more participatory or/and performance based work, let's see what happens!