Parkhead Residency Open Day!

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29th of October was the official Open Day of the Parkhead Artist-in-Residence project! It was a great day with lots of friends, family and supporters all visiting, eating, drinking and taking part in activities and competitions! We were also privileged to have artist Adrian Wiszniewski officially open the Parkhead Residency- speaking so encouragingly of art in the community and the need to ensure access to the arts is available to all. The day was documented by photographer Ashleigh Smith and I’m so excited to share her photos with you!

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Wave of Light

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The first event at the new Parkhead Art Studio was on the 15th of October on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It is a campaign close to my heart so even though I had just got the keys days before I was determined that this event would christen the Artist-in-Residence programme. It seemed perfect timing that a project (and space) which from its outset aimed to be community focused, culturally aware and inclusive would firstly dedicate time and resources to a section of the community often forgotten- the 1 in 4 pregnancies lost and parents left behind.

As the date drew closer I thought of all the women effected in Parkhead and what opportunities they had available to them to explore this difficult type of loss. The confusion, the disappointment, the anger, the heartbreak, the hopelessness, the failure, the judgement, the loneliness. I wanted to provide a time and space where they could turn to for support, contemplation- where they could let themselves just be- in their identity post-loss. Wave of Light was a place for quiet reflection, the lighting of candles to acknowledge life and loss, sharing experiences in conversation, and providing creative activities to explore the subject of pregnancy loss. Our Parkhead ‘Wave of Light’ joining with others across the globe as candles were lit at 7pm as part of remembrance day.

Wave of Light

As part-remembrance, part-creative collaboration I encouraged women to light a group of candles- one for each of their pregnancies. At the end of the night I asked the women to bring the candles representing their lost pregnancies together to the centre of the room. Illustrating as we gathered in this activity that not only us, but also our babies, were part of a community.

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Light in the darkness

Women were encouraged to share a piece of ‘light’ for those struggling in the darkness of grief. A message of support, a piece of advice or an encouragement for the days ahead.

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Darkness vs Light

Darkness vs Light could also be called Lies vs Truth, or Curses vs Blessings. Women were asked to write a lie they had believed about themselves or their loss in dark crayon, they were then asked to write a truth they clung to to counteract this lie in white crayon. It was heartbreaking to read the lies the women believed in their darkest hours. However, we next took black ink and blocked out the text. As the ink dried our lies faded away and our truths were revealed, shining out to the room as we pinned them up.

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Candle holders

As a small gift to take home from the evening the women were invited to make a tealight holder so they had the opportunity to light another candle once they got home. They were each given a class tealight holder, glass paints and pens, and stickers and encouraged to reflect on the identity of the pregnancy they lost. Many pregnancies end before the baby has a name so a word which described their short life or the effect it had on the mother was often chosen instead of a name.

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Life Changing

 

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Important and Miracle

Colouring and Chat

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I would like to thank Ashleigh Smith for her wonderful and sensitive photography on the night and for all the support behind the scenes especially Debs Craig and Shelley Kenny.

 

Parkhead Toddlers- Logo Painting

Before and after!

First workshop in the new studio and I was so happy it was Parkhead Toddlers as I’ve been running Messy Art sessions for them for about two years so they’re my oldest running group! It was such a pleasure to welcome the families into the studio and see them having so much fun in the studio.

Little hands painting ‘leaves’ on my logo

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Pinata Heads @ ROC Cafe

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For my October ROC Cafe sessions- keeping with the aim of it being about fun, mess, and harking back to the early school days of making stuff- I decided papier mache would fit the bill perfectly! There was also had the added attraction that the papier mache, floating, pinata heads would double as party decorations for the studio Open Day later in the month!

Week 1: Papier Mache

Papier mache fun (using son’s leftover first birthday balloons!) with obligatory peeling PVA off our hands like zombies (was nearly Halloween after all!)

Week 2: Painting

The young people created a great variety of ‘portrait pinatas’ from lifelike humans, scary halloween ghouls, cartoon characters and, of course, the cast of the Pixar movie Inside Out. This activity was purely for fun but in hindsight the natural way the kids linked the activity to Inside Out could be the inspiration behind a more focused workshop on emotions- something to keep up my sleeve for next time I’m asked to do a schools workshop.

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Starcatchers 10th Birthday Party

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The first weekend of October saw Starcatchers reaching its 10th Birthday in perfect Starcatchers style in Platform Easterhouse. Starcatchers is a fabulous arts company which merges performance art, live music with the visual arts and early years education into truly magical experiences for pre-school children. Travelling around Scotland (and further afield- they tour globally) they bring truly accessible arts experiences to communities and families which are always worth a visit. As a mum of a music mad toddler who is also a busy bee their projects are perfect often combining music, dance and visuals with plenty for little ones to do. Their ‘Family Day’ at Platform delivered just that. Between perfomances of Starcatchers ‘The Shape of Things’ and Platform’s resident artist Holly Willoughby’s ‘Sink or Swim’ there was live music, art workshops, the Bookbug bus and of course cake. We weren’t able to stay for cake as naptime was calling but we did have a great morning and of course wherever there’s a band, there’s a Davie drummer!

Sitting drumsticks in hand edging as close to the band as possible!

Having a car it was great to just nip home in 10 minutes after a fun creative morning out- it is so vital to have events like this locally in the Eastend of Glasgow. Easterhouse is a bit of a trek to get to on public transport (even if you live relatively locally in places like Tollcross or Baillieston) which is the one downside so a lot of Parkhead families I encouraged to go felt they couldn’t make it. But this just creates a bigger incentive to make the Parkhead Residency as varied and accessible as possible- giving the wider Eastend community the opportunity to see great creative projects like Starcatchers.