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Making a Difference: Celebrating 10 years of outreach projects

Making a Difference: Celebrating 10 years of outreach projects / Saturday 25th January 2020 - Saturday 7th March 2020

In 2020 the Bluecoat Display Centre will celebrate our 10-year anniversary as a registered charity. To mark the occasion, we have curated a special exhibition that highlights our outreach programme of artist workshops and residencies with local health and social care partners over the past decade.

The Display Centre’s outreach projects aim to demonstrate the benefits of craft for health and wellbeing, as well as its importance in education and learning. Partners have included the Royal Liverpool University and Broadgreen Hospitals, The Walton Centre, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool Hope University, The Life Rooms, Clock View Hospital, Person Shaped Support (PSS), The Brain Charity and local schools in Liverpool.  The residencies and workshops have also provided valuable professional development opportunities for 25 makers across a range of disciplines, including ceramics, textiles and printmaking.

Selected makers for the exhibition include Mike Badger, Kirsti Hannah Brown, Gill Curry, Caroline Gregson, Rachael Howard, Attila Olah, Verity Pulford and Christine Toh.

Preview: Saturday 25 January, 2 – 4 pm

Image: Verity Pulford’s public artwork, commissioned for The Walton Centre’s permanent collection following her 8-week residency.

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Gill studied Art and Contemporary Dance, pursuing a career teaching Art & Design. Now a full time practicing artist, specialising in a variety of print methods, she teaches in universities, print studios, health centres and exhibits nationally and internationally.

In the summer of 2019 Gill was Artist in Residence at the Neurological Unit at the Walton Centre, working in the Outpatients Department and the Complex Rehabilitation Unit for eight weeks. Using a variety of print methods, paint and clay, the theme of natural forms, birds, plants, shells and flowers were explored to produce mounted cards, paintings and relief prints.

Gill’s own artwork will respond to the theme of birdlife and contrasting environments, very much influenced by the work of patients during her time at the Walton Centre.

Gill has also led residencies with the Leeson Centre as part of the PSS Workshops in 2016/17, and at the Life Rooms and Clock View Hospital for the ‘Make for Life’ workshops in 2018/19.

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Inspired by a love of Western Celtic shorelines and the sea, I hand build ceramic vessels. Shapes are figurative featuring vivid turquoise glaze that reflects the influence of the sea and landscape; or tactile, washed pebble forms.

Since 2012 I have worked with The Bluecoat Display Centre delivering ceramic workshop sessions as part of their outreach program. It’s been fabulous to work with people who wouldn’t always get the chance to work in clay. One aspect that fascinates me is how a group of people can be busy chatting away and then as a whole become silent as the process captivates them.

Kirsti has led residencies with the Avenue Project and the Siblings Group, as part of the ‘Making an Impact’ programme in 2012/13, and at the Umbrella Centre as part of the PSS Workshops in 2015/16.

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I am a Hungarian-born ceramicist whose practice and research revolves around the vessel, its formal qualities and the rich symbolism surrounding it. My practice increasingly gravitates towards simplicity, both in style and execution, and is informed by an intimate engagement with raw materials and the repetitive semi-automatic process of throwing. In recent years I have focused my energies on establishing Altar Pottery, a progressive workshop that enables ceramics enthusiasts of all levels to explore the creative and healing energies latent within clay as a raw material, the making process of choice and ultimately the maker themselves.

The Bluecoat Display Centre’s outreach program, which I was privileged to play a small part in, is carrying out pioneering research and work to highlight and champion the multitude of benefits making has, not only on the individual but also on a grander scale; as a form of action capable of enriching and moving our society.

Attila led a residency at the Life Rooms and Clock View Hospital as part of the ‘Make for Life’ outreach programme in 2018/19. Subsequently, he has also provided workshops for teachers and pupils in local schools as part of the Cultural Education Research Initiative (CERI), a collaborative research project which aims to support research-informed practice in creative education.

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Christine Toh is a multi disciplinary artist based in the creative Baltic Triangle. She works with paper and fabric, exploring and combining a range of printing, drawing and collage techniques. Her work tries to capture the fragility within the elements surrounding us and the traces and marks left behind with the passage of time.

Christine has been involved in a diverse range of community workshops and she recently spent time as artist in residence at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Over a period of 10 weeks, she delivered creative activities with patients living with dementia. This was her first time working directly with patients by the bedside in the hospital environment.

The techniques used were very simple, patients were able to look at and touch fresh leaves and flowers before painting them and pressing them onto paper or fabric to create cards and lavender bags. Those activities allowed them to be engaged, connected and stimulated. Listening to them, encouraging them to make decisions and choices, giving them time has been helping them to feel happier, also valued and less isolated.

Christine has led residencies with the Women’s Turnaround Centre, as part of the PSS Workshops in 2016/17, and at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital as part of the 2019 artist residencies programme.

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Verity’s work is inspired by the structures within nature. She is fascinated by light, the magic it creates in the natural environment and the way it moves through glass, reflects, and creates shadows. She uses a variety of warm and architectural glass techniques to create work for galleries across the UK, architectural commissions and exhibitions.

During her residency at The Walton Centre, Verity facilitated sixteen sessions working with patients, staff and family members on a variety of art activities in the CRU and Outpatients waiting room.
 She also created a legacy glass piece inspired by microbiology and plant structures which is installed permanently in the main corridor. Verity’s experience during the residency has been transformational to her practice and has led her to apply and gain two Arts Council of Wales grants for her latest project ‘Gardens of the Mind’.

Verity led her residency at the Walton Centre as part of the ‘Making a Bigger Difference’ programme in 2017/18. She also led a workshop with local secondary school teachers as part of the Creative Education Research Initiative (CERI) in 2019, a collaborative research project with Liverpool Hope University and Curious Minds.

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From the very first moment I wove a basket using willow rods I knew I was going to be inspired by the material. Willow is a fascinating tree and the process of coppicing is one which keeps me very much tied to the land and the seasons. My baskets are rooted in tradition using weaving methods than can be seen throughout history. My practise is driven by texture and form rather than colour, with the material often being the driving force behind the design.

I was honoured to be selected to be resident artist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in 2017/18. I feel in many ways I gained as much from this experience as the children and families I met there. The power of distraction, making children forget where they are and all the frightening things that are happening is so obviously a real benefit to not only the children but their parents too. Art and craft is a powerful thing.

Caroline has led residencies with the Umbrella Centre, as part of the PSS Workshops in 2016/17, and at Alder Hay Children’s Hospital for the ‘Making a Bigger Difference’ programme in 2017/18.

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Rachael Howard was one of the first postgraduate students of Embroidery at the Royal College of Art and received the Fleur Cowles Award for Excellence for her RCA Degree Show in 1992.

The body of work she made following a trip to India after her studies proved to be pivotal in developing the way she works. Her pioneering mix of embroidery and screen-printing techniques, using image, text and object to tell stories of the everyday started here, sparking critical acclaim.

The essence of my work is to draw what is going on around me; my intention is to capture the energy of a subject in a celebratory portrayal of life communicated through textiles. Working on the BDC outreach program has been a privilege and joy, I have shared drawing and printing skills with a wide range of people delivering workshops in community centres, hospital wards and even had the challenge of aiding patients to screen print in bed.

Rachael has led residencies with the Umbrella Centre as part of the ‘Making an Impact’ programme in 2012/13, with Enable as part of ‘Making a Mark’ in 2014/15 and with the Royal Liverpool Hospital as part of ‘Making a Difference’ in 2016. Additionally, she provided a workshop for teachers from local schools as part of the Cultural Education Research Initiative (CERI), a collaborative research project with Liverpool Hope University and Curious Minds.

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I work instinctively and intuitively – you have to when using found and reclaimed materials because you don’t know what you’re going to come across. This makes for a lively practice and in some ways you could say I give license to the objects to create themselves through play.

In my workshops we make sculpture from user friendly, recycled and reclaimed materials to be reinterpreted and made into small ornamental artworks that can be displayed or taken home to enjoy. Clothes pegs, bottle caps, beads, corks, wire, small plastic bottles, bits and bobs from the bottom of draws are placed on a table and participants rummage about to create – for example: insects, animals, or robots. The workshops are very inclusive in that people of all ages and abilities always make at least one sculpture. There is an important ‘fun’ element that is important too, play is a great way to learn with the participants inadvertently ‘problem solving’ and reinterpreting, whilst recycling and showing resourcefulness.

Mike has led residencies with Person-Shaped Support (PSS) and Family Impact, as part of the ‘Making a Mark’ programme in 2015, with the Umbrella Centre as part of the PSS Workshops in 2015/16, and with the Walton Life Rooms and Clock View Hospital as part of ‘Make for Life’ in 2018/19.

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