Sunday, September 12, 2010

Escape to the Hidden Gardens: Recce

Kate Lynch and I are working with Urban Vision and will be doing the Big Draw this year.
We are really excited as I have always wanted to do something with the Big Draw - and Kate actually did a training day with the Big Draw. This came from a conversation with Fiona Waddle from Urban Vision, where I talked about the Garden Festival site, and how amazing it is, and how keen I am to get people up there, as it is such a beautiful resource for the City. Fiona suggested why not hold the Big Draw up there, and we now have St Modwen's (company who manage the site) permission.

The day is set for October 27th, and we have made some other fantastic connections.
I am part of the delivery for Conjunction (Stoke-on-Trent's contemporary art biennial) and through a conversation with Ian Vines, curator at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery (also on the delivery team for Conjunction) where we discussed the site, and its importance to the city, and how the site is an amazing escape and so surprising for such an urban area. Through this conversation Ian is now showing Mike Berry's photographic visual essay of the garden festival as part of Conjunction 2010 - which really fits with this years theme - Escape.
I am really pleased that we have made that connection - and Brian Holdcroft (one of the AirSpace studio artists) is going to bring a tour from the exhibition, up to the site. Journeys and walks form an important part of Bri's work.
This walk will hopefully show more people that the site is there, and Bri will get people to draw their journeys.Kate and I went up to the site two weeks ago with Fiona from Urban Vision to have a look, and choose a spot to base ourselves.We are going to base ourselves in this circular area - which we believe was the compass. The coordinates are 53° 1'47.63"N and 2°11'46.02"WThe workshops will be where the red dot is above.
We went back again yesterday to start collecting material.Kate will be doing a drawing workshop using materials gathered from the site (flowers, leaves etc). She will be creating Green man faces - which fits very well - as the green Man is a symbol for Regeneration, and of course the site was a major regeneration project. We will also be making seed bombs - the idea of drawing with plants a bit of a guerrilla gardening activity.I will be leading tours around the site - thinking about mapping as a form of drawing - we will talk to people about the site as it was 25 years ago, and look at the changes that there are today. The final drawing activity will be a group one, we will create a large scale map of the site, and get people to think about what the site could look like in 25 years from now, imagining that we could add to it, and improve it.We returned to the gallery with our hoard - to press flowers and leaves for Kate's workshop.One of the sad things for me is that since we have been visiting the site one of the surviving art works - which we believe to be by Peter Randall-Page, which was still intact on the site (though slightly moss covered) - has started to be dismantled and stolen by someone.
Kate and I have had a long conversation about whether it is right for someone to do this. I feel that the sculpture (a stone carving) should remain on the site for everyone to discover - but Kate felt she could understand someone perhaps feeling that they wish to take it and preserve it. It is a funny feeling, but it has made me really cross that someone would take this piece from the site. Each time we go another piece has been removed...soon there will be nothing left.


Unknown said...

Where is the sculpture that is being taken apart? I have only found the one by Druhva Mistry.


Anna Francis said...

It is still on the site - close to the compass point. If you come to the workshop on 21st October with Behjat - you will be able to discover it with us.