Artist Cath Ford is working with Bowland Explorer members, Mechanics at Home Craft Group from Burnley, on the group’s explorations and considerations of the Forest of Bowland.
Following the inspiring trip to Beacon Fell, the Mechanics at Home Craft Group returned to our usual base the following week, to create work inspired by our visit and to make those who hadn’t been able to attend extremely jealous! We were full of tales of our adventures and already planning more – ideally a return to Bowland to experience different times of year and weather, but also thinking about places in Burnley we could visit. I think the visit really changed our outlook, inspiring us to be more adventurous both in our activity and our creativity.
The many photos we took (I think we whittled it down to about 150 in the end) meant we had masses of source material for art work, and decided to use the ‘Big Draw’ as our focus, using our photos and memories as source material for drawing in different forms. The work created showed real quality as each group member drew on their own experience of the forest, creating individual visual responses that will be brought together to form one piece for the final Bowland Explorers event in the spring.
After a couple of weeks working on our own pieces, we were fortunate to be able to work with artist Ivan Liotchev on a collaborative drawing piece linked to The Big Draw. Ivan had been working with primary schools in Burnley creating large drawings on
the theme of ‘Home’ and invited the craft group to build on these using our photos of the forest and some of the drawing techniques we had developed over the previous sessions. Working on drawings on such a large scale and drawing in to the work already created by children challenged us, yet again, to look, think and work differently.
The collaborative work was exhibited at the Mechanics for the Big Draw Event at the end of October and, following the success of our last piece together, Ivan has returned to the group with a proposal that we work with him again on a collaborative piece with a group based in Doncaster and a Native American community in North America. We have, of course, said yes and this work will begin in the New Year. Our horizons continue to broaden!
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