I delivered a Mary, Mary themed creative workshop for Engage, National Association for Gallery Education, recently. The stimulating one-day seminar was part of their Professional Development series: Craft, Makers and Making. Ian Middleton, Ofsted HMI and Specialist Advisor for Art, Craft and Design provided a fantastic overview of current education policy and set the context for the days discussions. His report “Drawing Together: Art, Craft and Design in Schools” contains some thought-provoking insights into the way the subject is being taught (or not) in schools today. Essential reading for anyone involved with Craft education whatever the level of delivery. Other presentations from Stuart Shotton of Craftspace and Katy Bevan from the Crafts Council highlighted some of the great work they are doing to engage young people in the crafts and making, ensuring the subjects’ continued relevance in an ever-changing and increasingly digital world.
My session encouraged seminar participants to engage in some creative activity around the Mary Greg project. Liz gave an enthusiastic introduction using the display in the Object Memories Showcase, in the Craft and Design Gallery and whetted everyone’s appetite for the session. The Mary Greg chatelaine was used as a starting point for creative response.
A chatelaine is a nineteenth century item, usually worn by a housekeeper, a wearable ‘tool kit’ containing all sorts of useful objects necessary for going about her everyday business. Hung from a loop usually attached at the waistband it allowed the wearer easy access to things like scissors, thimbles, needles, notebooks, pens etc. Workshop participants were asked to choose an everyday object that they had on their person. Starting with individual questioning, drawing and making, small groups then collaborated to create a ’21st Century Chatelaine’, a contemporary homage not only to the Greg chatelaine but also the objects we use and take for granted on a daily basis. During the practical activity I tried to unravel, what to me are, the fundamental aspects of craft and making, picking out the key elements and transferable skills embedded in a hands on approach to creative thinking. Some examples follow (sorry I can’t show everything).
Not bad for an hours work I think! …And I was ‘Ofsteded’ into the bargain (I hope I passed!).
I have added links to some key websites below for those who want to find out more.
Engage – www.engage.org
Ofsted – www.ofsted.gov.uk
Crafts Council – www.craftscouncil.org.uk
Craftspace – www.craftspace.co.uk
Thanks to all participants. Sharon