I tested out a few new things for my Constellations of Kindness work this month. I’ve developed how the project can connect with themes within school, using a selection of prepared images to tie in with the school’s Around the World themed week. Two Y5 classes worked with me to create two globe structures that you can fit your head inside and are now installed in the school library.
We also took an opportunity to develop mass participation with the pin-pricking technique with 11(!) KS2 classes, which required a busy night for the Cricut machine that cuts out all the shapes. The whole of the juniors of this 3-form entry school heard the story of Hoshi and the legend of the lucky stars, before returning to class with instructions on how to make their own mini constellation of kindness. A selection of words about kindness and community were translated into the languages of the countries being studied, plus the languages spoken in school and each child was able to create their pin-pricked contribution to the community installation. The result is a window installation of approximately 300 circular constellations, all connected and suspended from each other.
One of the classes I worked with were studying Japan, and whilst hanging these, they felt like fortunes, blessings or hopes for the future that might be found in a Shinto shrine. I think there could be something in this process for when I hopefully expand the project into one with the wider community.
Thanks to Thatto Heath primary for the space to try this out.
Chester Contemporary is a new visual arts event curated by artist Ryan Gander. For the Contemporary, international and Chester-based artists, emerging talent, and the city’s people have been invited to make and show work for Chester’s unique places and spaces, inspired by the theme ‘Centred on the Periphery’.
I’ve been working on the schools programme as part of this new festival with Mickle Trafford Village Primary School creating ‘The City Unfolds’
Chester’s city centre is characterised by its secret passageways, hidden staircases, buildings on multiple levels and interesting places to be discovered. Year 5 pupils from Mickle Trafford Village School have shared some of their favourite places and studied the architecture of the city with artist Claire Weetman to create artist-book sculptures combining paper folding techniques, printing and poetry.
Inspired by both Claire’s artist-book practice and Unfurled, a University of Chester exhibition at the Grosvenor Museum (which ran until 2 July), the class have explored how to use the text, images and storytelling that can be found in books. They’ve combined these book-making elements to create their own sculptural artwork that reminds us of places in the city, including Chester Cathedral, the Rows, the Walls, dance and musical performances, the sound of food being served at the new market, and their top tips for the best pancakes in Chester! Their work can be seen in the display case outside Waterstones on Eastgate Row.
Thanks to the staff and pupils of Mickle Trafford Village School, Mickle Trafford, Cheshire.
Claire returned to Sutton Oak Primary School with her Constellations of Kindness workshops which explore how art can be used to express kindness and empathy.
Beginning by passing our positive actions around the class with a symbolic handful of light, we worked to create a number of art installations which take the idea of stars and how we view them collectively in constellations as a metaphor for how a community can work together. The story of Hoshi and the legend of the origami lucky stars inspires a creative activity where the classes worked together to create their own jars of paper stars.
One night while watching the stars, something happened in the sky that made her sad and she began to cry. The stars were falling out of heaven like a shower. So many of them were falling that she was afraid there would be no more.
The story of Hoshi
With magazine cuttings, found text and images pupils used compositional skills to lay out a design that created a message linked to emotions and kindness, then used drawing pins to prick holes into segments of a black card sphere along the outlines of those shapes. The sphere segments were joined together to create a suspended orb that you can duck underneath and view the pin-pricked drawings from within – the light shining in from the outside creating a universe-like experience, full of symbolic objects and positive text.
This was the first time creating these pin pricked drawings into a 3-dimensional form at such a human scale, and the hope is that more works like this can be created in other locations forming a universe of kindness.
This project is available within St Helens schools via Cultured St Helens, or contact me directly if you want to create more universes of kindness where you are.