Sunday, 12 February 2017

Prism Arts Gallery Trail at Tullie House

The start of our Gallery Trail...

One of my 'proper jobs' is as Lead Artist on Prism Arts Studio Arts programme, a visual arts programme for adults with disabilities. The programme developed from the Studio Theatre programme (which I also worked on) when we recognised that there was a really strong developing interest in the visual arts amongst our participants but no opportunity to explore and develop that interest. Studio Arts provides that opportunity and over the past couple of years the group have learnt a huge amount and are really developing as individual artists.

Objects from Tullie house Collections

Work in progress...

Work in progress...

Work in progress...

Following on from other projects with Tullie House (such as the response work to Cumbrian Art: Picturing Places and Richard Slee) the Studio Arts group have been working on a big project related to the Craftspace and Outside In touring exhibition Radical Craft: Alternative Ways of Making which is showing at Tullie House from now until 26th March. This is a fascinating show featuring the work of 34 artists who, for various reasons, are considered to be 'outsider' artists.

Drawing from the objects

Developing designs

Work in progress...

We felt this was a great opportunity for us to work with Tullie House and to give our artists the chance to exhibit work there. After talking to Tullie House we decided that it would be really interesting to create a gallery trail through the Border Galleries with work inspired by Tullie's collections as well as the Radical Craft exhibition.

The Hound Creation: Harvey Tye

Flags: Andrew Evans

Stitched Coins: Rosie Thompson

Obviously, our participants couldn't respond to an exhibition they hadn't seen so  instead we researched some of the artists featured in the exhibition; their stories, ways of working and inspirations. We then had access to a selection of objects from the Tullie House collections which we used as starting points. We also made visits to the galleries, with each artist finding inspiration in different objects.

Dragon: Michael Morley

Sheep, Cat, Dog: Michael Morley

Bowl: Caroline Stanley

Over the course of the last four months the artists have developed their ideas and work through a range of techniques and media, including drawing, textiles, sculpture and collage and have created a series of pieces that sit within the Border Galleries. As well as being beautiful and interesting objects in themselves part of the idea is that by juxtaposing them with the artefacts in the museum viewers will be prompted to look more closely and hopefully make new connections and stories around the museum's objects.

Rome: Jonathan Harkins

The Knights Crest: John Lake

Amber's Dresses: Amber Bloxham

I think the gallery trail works really well, the pieces that the participants have made work well in their settings and I think it provides a new and exciting way to explore the galleries. Although it has been quite a stressful process it has also been a lot of fun and I think it has stretched the artists and shown them what they can achieve when they really commit to something.

Martha and Friends: Michelle Watson

Drawing: Andy Wright

Sampler (detail) Claire Harper

There are two starting points for the trail; one in the art gallery (where Radical Craft is on show) and one in the lift lobby. At these starting points you can pick up a gallery trail and go and explore!

Embroidery: Andy Wright

Buttons: Cheryl Hickman

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