Tag Archives: community art

Lights, Camera, MELA !

Find my Mela Workshops HERE

A couple of years ago I was asked by Middlesbrough Council to work with another artist and with loads of groups, making 100 (I kid you not) hula hoop sized textile Mandalas to be displayed around the park at Middlesbrough Mela. No mean feat.

 

This year the amazing Middlesbrough Mela  – this celebration of Asian culture, of music, taste, colour  and sound could not happen in its normal home of Albert Park- at the centre of the town – because of Covid restrictions… so what is a group of creatives to do? Take the Mela online!

 

Making films isn’t entirely new to me, but making films in my workroom at the back of the house in between the dog barking, people delivering and an assortment of DIY going on outside certainly was a new experience.

We began our journey with a meeting of the fellow artists on the project .. Leader Lisa and JR from the council had assembled a fantastic group of creatives both local and from further afield.

The project sits around an online and physical children’s book, which in the tradition of the Mela would bring in a story that picks up on Asian tales, written by Umar Butt, who also translated  it into a range of languages, and beautifully illustrated by Becki Harper. It tells the saga of Sara the Tortoise who loses her home and all her friends, picking up on themes of migration and asylum but in a totally child-friendly way.

After some great Zoom meetings (who knew Zoom would be such a thing) and loads of watsapp discussions between all the artists and project leaders we came up with a range of activities;  Dance , mask making,  printmaking, windsock creating, yoga and banjo making on the website, alongside my two workshops (see the workshops at the end..)

And off we went – Filming our little instructions as we went – I bought a tiny light rig and phone holder to stand above my table to do mine, attached to a wooden box. A real Heath Robinson affair. After lots of head-scratching download / upload fun, all the film clips went to film-maker Paul to create his magic. Meanwhile we artists and a willing small socially distanced gang of helpers were making 100 free kits to go with each film – that’s A LOT of free kits!

On top of this, I’ve started making my own films, the first one can be found here: 

So here they are .. I’m really chuffed with my films and amazed by the others, the story and Umar’s storytelling too.  Get yourself to the Mela website and fill your own world with colour and magic…

Wrapped Mandala ( using the basis of god-s eye wrapped sticks)

https://youtu.be/53OhjN9zbcQMela Granny Mandala (a mandala based on granny squares)

 

insta: @boromela website : https://middlesbroughmela.co.uk/lets-create/

 

Tattoo Time, a New Job and an Old Name

Hello all…

Before I start, check out our latest workshops at Leven crafts here, which have just been announced.

I realise it’s been longer than normal between posts, but not without good reason. You’ll see that this is a longer post to make up for it though, so you still get your money’s worth.

A new job…

In May, I took up a post part-time in our nearest big town, as a Projects Officer for the main community arts company. I now have the responsibility for setting up some of the creative intervention projects which benefit many of the most vulnerable members of our society, something I’m absolutely passionate about.

The work we do involves everyone from refugees to probationers to the homeless. Looking back at previous projects it’s clear the difference the creative work makes to those involved. I’ll keep you updated with how I get on.

A tattoo …

OK, I admit it, I love tattoos, tattoo designs old and new, and all things tattooey. I helped out at a tattooists when at Art College and even did my thesis on tattoos in the fashion industry.

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My work is often inspired by tattoos and I love the vibrant colours and illustrative designs, and how personal they are.

There was bound to come a time when the voice in my head telling me to get a new one would shout too loudly, so after many many months of deciding, designing, and with lots of pain, I went for it, but it was certainly worth it!
I spent a lot of time researching tattooists, talking to people who had been tattooed at my chosen venue, and deciding which tattooist’s style most suited what I wanted. I went for Miss Purple at Guisborough Tattoo Emporium, as I loved the illustrative style of a rabbit design she had done which looked like a Beatrix Potter drawing, with a real watercolour feel.

I wanted something which didn’t have a typical tattoo black outline, in particular colours and depicting two of my most loved themes. Now I have something permanent, bright, happy and completely me; tea and birds, my two favourite things.

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An old name…

You may have noticed the name ‘SkyBlueRed’ on the Community Art page on this site, and wondered what it’s all about.

I set up SkyBlueRed in 2010 and worked in schools and on my own art projects from there on, with over 800 children taking part in one or more of my art events and classes. When I was a founder member of the team of a new community not for profit art studio and tearoom benefiting adults with special needs, we decided to cash in on the popularity of the name and used it for the shop.

Three years down the line I am no longer part of the project and the team that now run the shop have decided to change the name, so SkyBlueRed is back , where it belongs. You’ll see it loud and proud on our posters, and if you want to know what it means, it’s blue eyes, red hair (so, me then! ) reminds you of this site? You can see there’s a theme!

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