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Masterclass – the workshop

January 4, 2010 Workshops No Comments
Bygones handling session

Bygones handling session

As part of the awareness raising and dissemination of the Mary, Mary project I ran two one day masterclasses at Manchester Art Gallery in Dec 09.  The day included a handling session of some of the Mary Greg Bygones, a talk about Mary and our project and a clay workshop that explored the value and narrative of ordinary and everyday objects, the sort that if Mary were collecting today, she might have acquired for her bygones.

Participants were asked to choose an object from their pocket or bag as a starting point.  Each person was given a luggage tag on which to write the answers to five simple questions: What is the object? How often do you use it?  What do you use it for?  If you didn’t have it what would be the consequence?  Out of a scale of 0 – 10 (10 being high), how important is this object to you? This activity focused attention on the value of familiar artefacts and the role they play in our daily lives (and perhaps gave some insight into Mary’s reasons for collecting the kind of objects she did).  It also provided information and key words for use later in the session.

Further interrogation of the objects came through working directly from them via a series of short exercises.  These included drawing with stick and ink (with eyes shut, with wrong hand etc) and making wire drawings and cloth templates.  The changes in drawing styles and media provided a range of translations.  In each, reference to the original object can be traced if not immediately apparent offering an abstract vision rather than a literal copy.

The cloth templates and wire drawings were then rolled into clay leaving a permanent record of the object.  Further mark making through letter and number stamps and direct drawing  into the clay with sticks allowed the inclusion of some of the key words identified at the outset.  The sheets of clay were then cut, formed and pressed into and over simple moulds and formers making bowls, dishes, plaques or tiles, a personal tribute from owner to object.

Mobile phone

Mobile phone

A final display of the original objects with labels and tributes provided  a forum for discussion and the sharing of ideas.  A good (albeit tiring) day was had by all and thanks go to the Art Gallery (particularly Jas Sohel) for organising the sessions and the schools (Biddulph High and Highfields School) for being such keen participants.  The fruits of their labours can be seen in separate posts!  Sharon

Final curation and group discussion

Final display and group discussion

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