ARTaLIKE MOSAIC SCULPTURE FOR McDONALD HOUSE
ARTaLIKE and team thank Network Stadium for the opportunity to work with the residents of McDonald House. In fulfilling the residents’ vision of the sculpture they have chosen, designed and worked on, we hope to have provided a lasting legacy for the residents’ community garden.
ARTaLIKE congratulates the team of artists and sculptors who lent their skills and further congratulate the volunteers for their tireless and diligent work. All have brought to fruition and success the McDonald House Garden Sculpture.
It has been a long journey since Andrew Coulson first approached ARTaLIKE in the summer of 2011 and we began planning for the garden sculpture and how to engage the residents.
From initial concept to completion of the sculpture, ARTaLIKE consider they have worked and communicated successfully with the McDonald House residents as both a team and individuals.
The feedback from the workshop participants has been very positive.
As the project progressed, a core team of residents from McDonald House and residents from nearby buildings evolved. Throughout the project many other residents and non-residents attended and contributed to the making of the mosaic. Some attended once, while others came to workshops as and when they could.
A full breakdown of numbers/residency, disclaimer forms and register kept at each session, are included along with this overview.
For the first and introductory session, we were keen to help the residents meet new people from around South Kilburn, make friends, learn design principles and the potential of what could be possible with a mosaic sculpture.
The session got off to a slow start as it entailed us knocking on doors to remind people that the workshops began that morning. This resulted in 10 participants turning up for our first workshop.
Whilst enjoying light refreshments and partaking in a get to know you exercise, the participants were introduced to each other, the ARTaLIKE team and the project.
A colourful presentation, screened on to the wall in the darkened room, laid the foundations for the ensuing discussion which would encompass all the pros and cons of ‘mosaic sculpture’. The presentation featured examples of mosaic sculptures in their given locations. We looked at mosaic sculptures which are well known internationally, those in UK and mosaic sculptures on display locally.
After a brief summary on how to make mosaic patterns, we then had a further exercise using cut-out paper squares and triangles to produce a first mosaic picture. Following refreshments, the participants then made sample mosaics, using small tiles and p.v.a. glue.
We followed this with a question and answer session, asking the participants what subjects they would like to include in their community mosaic. The response to this was lively and varied. Suggested subjects included paths, roots, community cohesion, cultural representation, angels, trees, nature, home and local area.
Points to be considered while choosing the design and the installation of the sculpture were governed by Health and Safety.
By the second session, Brian Stanman, our sculptor, had taken on board these suggestions and designed several sculpture models for the residents to make a final choice.
The workshop participants then voted for their favourite, the one which reminded them of ‘Rusty Rita’, Angel of the North. These images were sent to Network Stadium along with the progress report for that week and marked the commencement of the work on the sculpture. This was the model that is now the full size installed sculpture. The McDonald House resident attendees suggested it looked like a hug. We have, unofficially, named the sculpture ‘The Hug’.
During this second session, we continued to help participants learn more about and gain experience in creating mosaic artwork. Participants felt strongly that their experience of living in McDonald House with neighbours from diverse backgrounds and cultures should be represented somewhere in the design. Elements of this were then included in their personal mosaic artworks. Most of them completed their sample mosaic during this session and work was started on designing the panels for the chosen sculpture
Sessions three, four, five, six and seven were all dedicated to the completion of the mosaic panels. These sessions incorporated children’s workshops, themed on making your mark footprints, allowing each child to produce a unique foot/shoe/animal print which they could identify as theirs on the surface of the mosaic sculpture. These shapes were incorporated into the design with a pathways pattern that linked the individual shapes together. Children showed enthusiasm in making their own work and learning new art skills. This also afforded them the opportunity to make creative decisions which we hoped worked toward increasing their self- confidence.
As the workshops progressed, all of the residents who attended from McDonald House and those who came from other buildings, showed much dedication. All the participants worked diligently and were thoroughly committed to the making of the sculpture.
We overstayed our allocated time in The Vale Community Centre on most of these sessions; the participants showing enthusiasm to work over the allocated time. Sharon Baah, the manager at The Vale, was very helpful and accommodating to us and allowed us to continue without charge.
Several of the feedback comments were indicative of the effect the workshops were having on some of the participants; for example:
‘It gets me out the house, stops me sitting indoors thinking too much’
‘I made a new friend today’.
We made an extra session to complete the mosaic panels at Kingsgate Workshops, Kilburn. This made a welcome change for the volunteers as they experienced working in an ‘artist’s’ environment and learned more about what was going on in their neighbourhood. Three participants turned up to this at their own expense and said they had enjoyed the day. They also remarked on how interesting it was to visit an artist’s studio which they had not done before.
The mosaic panels were then ready to be installed on to the sculpture, on site, in the garden at McDonald House.
We had one further Sunday session, in the garden at McDonald House, on the 9th of March. This was attended by three volunteers and the ARTaLIKE team. It was a wonderfully sunny day and many of the residents, adults and children, of McDonald House came out of their flats to watch the activity, several taking an active part in the activity. Participants learnt how to adhere the tiles onto the sculpture body and base; others added mirror tiles to the head area. All enjoyed working on site in a communal atmosphere and were keen to contribute to the decision making. An area was also set up for the children to do some painting with many of the them not having previously, used paints
The residents of one of the ground floor flats brought out trays of tea and cakes to those who were working on the sculpture. This spontaneous gesture, we felt, further indicated how the making of the sculpture was playing a part in bringing the community together; and that the support of the residents for the project was again confirmed.
The day ended with much discussion about how and when to hold the opening party. It was decided to hold a ‘bring a dish of food’ event, and to consult further with the residents on a suitable day and time. Again, we thought, the interest in the launch indicated a developed community spirit among the residents and team.
Having carried out the above consultation, we have organised the launch party; to be held on Sunday 15th April from 3 to 5pm.
The ARTaLIKE team are looking forward to celebrating this official opening of the sculpture along with Network Stadium, the residents of McDonald House and all who volunteered their time and efforts; and anticipate a fun afternoon for all.
Lead Mosaic Artist – Debra Collis
Sculptor Brian – Stanman
Mosaic Assistant Artist and co-ordinator – Fiona Campbell
Founder Director, Wilda Woods