The final Art Tea adventure was in Essex. The Art Tea Team had grown in confidence over the course of the project, and drew on their previous experience to develop an intriguing concept:
The team had been thinking about the prominence of maps to make sense of a place; Maps are all aimed at people, and sometimes you forget about other animals that are travelling around you. So, at Langdon, where we were surrounded by nature, the Art Tea team decided to create a map that showed the paths of all the different living things they could find.’
Once at the reserve, the team walked around the beautiful trails, eating lovely, fresh, un-packaged plums and brambles straight from the trees! They saw butterflies, bees, beetles and birds, and there were signs of other creatures too.
Participants were asked to collage the creatures in, and then the Art Tea-ers sewed plastic bags to mark the different paths they might take. All ages got involved, and by the end of the day, the artwork was looking really full of colour and wildlife.
Given Art Tea is based about as far away from the sea as you can get in the UK, the team were keen for at least one event to be at the seaside! In particular, they wanted to see Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ sculptures at Crosby beach, near Liverpool.
At one Art Tea, they listened to wave music for inspiration to create a seascape for the background of the artwork. They had been given an old frame with a piece of board on the back, that they decided would be a perfect canvas.
After designing the artwork, all that was left was to visit the sculptures for themselves, and create the artwork! They collected loads of rubbish from the beach, put up the gazebo (which didn’t last long in the Merseyside wind!), and asked people to make their own ‘sculpture’ using the different rubbish to reflect their feelings about the place.
At Art Tea, participants drew out a map of central London. Using A-Z’s and the internet, they marked out places that looked particularly interesting. This formed the base of the artwork.
From this, they planned a route. It needed to include Covent Garden, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, the river Thames, Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Tate Modern, St Paul’s, and the ‘wobbly bridge’.
There was so much the group needed to fit in during their day, so it was important that the artwork was easy to transport! Each part of the artwork was attached to a tailor made (recycled) rubbish collecting bag, with various glue, scissor and pen attachments! These were made at Art Tea.
They wanted to convey how London made them feel through the artwork – there was lots of excitement and ambition amongst the group, and it was so different from Wirksworth – everywhere was so busy and everything moved so fast! At Covent Garden, two Art Tea-ers became part of the street entertainers act!
After the success of the first event, the Art Tea Team were feeling confident to work further a field. They teamed up with St Nicholas’s Fields, a fantastic environmentally friendly building and nature reserve in the centre of York …
St Nicholas’s Fields is built on top of a landfill site. The building has transformed the space; It used to be about throwing stuff away – burying it underground and forgetting about it. It is now a centre for recycling.
The artwork celebrates this transformation. People were asked to resurrect stuff that had been thrown away and give it a new lease of life. They created beautiful creatures and flowers using so called rubbish. All these creations formed part of ‘the rainbow tree of inspiration’
Loads of people took part – the building was packed all day! People used loads of different methods that suited their strengths. They seemed to enjoy helping each other out too! It was really good that all ages could contribute – there were toddlers and adults having equal contribution to a proper artwork and this will be exhibited in a real exhibition; It illustrates a fundamental concept of Art Tea; all ages can help create something that will make a real difference to the way people think about rubbish.
The Art Tea team worked with The River Stewardship Company to plan the third event. The River Stewardship Company looks after the waterways in Sheffield. Their volunteers help remove litter from the water. The Art Tea-ers teamed up with them on one of their litter picking days, to create an artwork with their rubbish!
The Art Tea Team set up underneath a tall cantilevered building, where the River Sheaf and the River Don meet. The site is really interesting in lots of ways, though if you were to take a photo, you wouldn’t automatically see why! In the same way, you often don’t SEE the interest in rubbish immediately (even though it’s definitely there!). The team wanted this artwork, to be about taking time to NOTICE and LOOK at stuff that gets overlooked. So…
They asked people to choose a piece of see-through rubbish.
Participants then looked through it until it framed something interesting to them.
Then they traced what they saw, and added colour by collaging with other found scraps.
It all started from one, out of the blue comment at one Thursday night Art Tea! ’Don’t let reality get the better of you!’ This sparked a conversation about how, the ‘reality’ of one place can vary so much for different people. It sparked a conversation about how powerful your imagination is in creating your own reality.
The Art Tea team thought this was a very empowering concept: People’s own imagination shapes how they see the world and a great theme for our first Art Tea on Tour artwork. It fit’s in perfectly with the Bower Wirks ideals: Imagination is key to getting more creative solutions to rubbish!
First of all, visitors to ‘The Bower Wirks’ drew the view of the street outside, onto perspex squares, (the perspex was re-used from a previous project) At Anthony Gell School, year 8 students helped by collecting loads of waste from businesses in the town. The year 8’s then used the waste to collage an alternative reality onto the underside of the perspex drawings. This completed the first side of the artwork.
Placed upside-down, the carefully arranged fragments of Wirksworth’s waste, that formed the underside of this artwork, sparked the imaginations of more visitors to ‘The Bower Wirks’ who saw creatures and creations in the scraps. They added another layer of drawings (again on re-used perspex) to create a very different Wirksworth on the other side of the artwork!
The artwork was so popular that the team sold prints (Recycled off course) to parents and teachers. The students will be able to choose how to spend their profits