We're Stronger Together!
We were grateful to City of Wolverhampton Council and Department for Education, for funding our 2 week Summer HAF(Holidays Activities and Food) activity.
8-16 year olds (25 with an EHCP) participated in a wide variety of art activities and we included some BSL (British Sign Language) teaching too.
We also worked with our friends at Stratton Street Community Centre for 2 days of sessions. We made woodland creatures out of pine cones, deisgned ceramic tiles, totes bags and performed our original song ‘We Shine Together’ – in sign language! The children learnt all the signs to the song in one morning, and then performed in front of an audience – amazing. You can watch the video on YouTube (or scroll down to see it).
Feedback from our sessions was very positive. We've included young people's feedback and results of online surveys for the 2 weeks below.
Here is a snapshot of what they did in Week 1….
Giant Newsprint Mosaics
This is an effective and accessible way to make art very quickly. Instead of using paint we use magazines and newspapers to gather a palette of colours. Normally these are A4 size but we decided it would make a great day 1 activity to encourage team building and getting the young people to meet new people. The 2 designs with hands are from original artworks by our Deaf director Gary O'Dowd. The other 2 images are synonymous with Wolverhampton: the Man On The Horse and the Wolf face.
BSL (British Sign Language) and Ceramic tile art
Our Deaf role model and company director taught the young people some basic sign language and then played some games including BSL bingo. The afternoon session was a ceramic tile design session.
Superheroes and Affirmations
Our newest team member, the wonderful and vivacious Jen, led a fantastic session which encouraged the young people to channel their inner superhero! They made boxes in which they could place 'treasure' - reminders of why they are so fantastic on those days when they don't.
Drawing day incl Still Life studies
The young people did a range of drawings, using a variety of media to create superb artworks. In the afternoon they made still life drawings of fresh fruit and vegetables which they then took home.
Bark board art inspired by British Art Show 9
Michael Armitage, one of the British Art Show 9 exhibitors in Wolverhampton last year was the inspiration for this session. Our volunteer Wayne then led some drawings in a circle, with the assistance of one of the young people.
Here's what they did in Week 2
"Who do you think you are - Van Gogh?"
Yes! We used acrylic paints mixed with cornflour to replicate Vincent's impasto style. We love how these are all unique, despite being the same subject.
Clay print making and Negative drawings
This was done in the same way as linocut printing but instead of using lino we used clay because it's a softer material and you don't need dangerous sharp tools.
WE HAD A CARNIVAL!!
The lovely Jen led another session for us - this time she taught the young people (and us staff!) about the history of carnival and the various cultures that celebrate carnivals around the world. Then they crated fabulous masks, fans and headpieces. See our Facebook page for a video of their conga dance!
Qigong and dot drawings
Sue, a registered Qigong tutor, led a fabulous session of this gentle Chinese martial art movement technique. Then The children made wonderful dot paintings inspired by African / Aboriginal indigenous art.
RAW started originally as a final year project by Alex Vann. He wrote a book called 'Joseph The useful Cardboard Box' all about the uses of a discarded cardboard box. So...we had a cardboard ox day, why? Because children absolutely LOVE cardboard!!
Healthy Eating Activities
Part of the funding for HAF is about educating young people on healthy eating choices. We integrated this into our art activities, as well as the fresh fruit and veg still life drawings we did these....
RAW at Stratton Street Community Centre HAF 2023
We love working with our colleagues at Stratton Street Community Centre. We delivered 2 days of arts and BSL experiences. See their creations below and watch the video of our own song: 'We Shine Together' which includes some lyrics written by Gail, the manager of the Community Centre.
Views of the Young People
'THOUGHT OF THE DAY' slips
Survey Results - Week 1
Survey Results - Week 2
Quotes from the Young People
It was very amazing
A Wave of Creativity!
We were delighted to receive HAF (Holidays Activities and Food) funding from City of Wolverhampton Council and Department for Education, to deliver 2 weeks of activities over the Easter Holidays. There were many other providers in and around the city too.
We worked with 8-16 year olds (18 with an EHCP) on a wide variety of creative projects and included some BSL (British Sign Language) teaching too and delivered our sessions from All Saints Action Network.
Feedback from the sessions was very positive. We've included young people's feedback and results of online surveys below.
Here is a snapshot of what they got up to:
Optical Illusion Drawings
Our volunteer Wayne led some 'Howard Lee' style optical illusion drawings on grid paper which the young people really loved. We connected a phone camera to a projector so that they could follow Wayne's drawing on screen.
Nature Art with Gary
Using leaves found outside, the young people made cards with acrylic paints
JMW Turner landscapes
Turner was the inspiration for this watercolour landscapes session. We think they look brilliant and atmospheric.
Hokusai meets Van Gogh!
This was our most ambitious ever large sectioned artwork. Each person had a square on which to create a section of a specially made reference image. The image is Hokusai's famous 'Great Wave of Kanagawa' print mixed with the background from Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'. The first painting influenced the second so it all made sense. We think the end result is spectacular.
Some amazing sculptures shown here. It's always nice to see new versions of our logo!
Elizabeth Catlett style 'negative' drawings
We looked at the work of African American artist Elizabeth Catlett and the young people created art in a new way: drawing white on black (instead of traditional black on white). Here are just a few examples:
Our volunteer Sarah led an Easter Card making session. The YP made a variety of brilliant designs, some shown here:
British Sign Language (BSL)
Our very own Deaf role model Gary taught the young people some conversational sign language so that if they ever meet a Deaf person they will know how to communicate and not run away!!
Tin Can Planters
We encouraged some healthy eating by decorating tin cans and filling them with soil and seeds. The YP took these away to look after and see the herbs growing at home!
The fabulous Lucy visited the from Custom Junkies and got the YP to create personalised caps and T-shirts. Amazing!
Cardboard Hogwarts Castle and Express
Everyone loves cardboard! On the final day of our project we took a load of cardboard and paints and some asked them to create the castle and locomotive from the Harry Potter stories. So much fun!
Some other artworks created by the YP, including some colour theory led by our volunteer Donna, graffiti lettering, jar designs and grid and dot drawings.
Results of Online Survey
“I think it was very cool to learn a new language that will help me communicate with others in the future and I hope I will learn more.”
Welcome to the latest newsletter of RAW (Real Arts Workshops).
We showcase all the work we did over a very busy Summer, some recycled arts projects, our involvement in Wolverhampton Learning Platforms 'Covid Champions' project and a poster for our newest project funded by Arts Council Englands #ThrivingCommunitiesFund. We still have places available for 13-17 year olds in Wolverhampton so please spread the word!
If you view the attached PDF version of the newsletter in Adobe Reader, you will be able to click relevant web links - and our own website has many resources and information too. The preview image is below.
Please do get in touch with any queries / feedback on any of the articles or if you think we can work with your organisation on some uplifting and engaging creative projects.
Thank you and stay safe,
Alex, Gary and the team.
High Quality Art Materials gifted to RAW
Leigh 'Finlee Russell' Saunders was an extraordinarily talented Birmingham based artist, sculptor, musician and film maker. He was a good friend of Alex Vann, founder of RAW and the pair worked together on music and video projects and met through mutual friend, Birmingham singer song writer Rich McMahon, who passed away in 2015.
Leigh created an army of plasticine characters called 'The Smiley Dudes' which spread a message of fun and positivity around the globe. Below is a video of him delivering a hundred Smiley Dudes to children at the Rare Disease Summer Party in 2017.
Unfortunately Leigh lost his battle with cancer in March 2021. We were overwhelmed when heard from the family that they'd like to pass on his art materials so that we can use them with our groups and in that way keep his creative legacy alive.
We'd like to publicly thank the family and will continue to post examples of work on our social media channels using his materials using the hash tag #FinleesLegacy
Above are just a few examples of work Alex has created, either as examples on virtual art sessions with various groups including British Deaf Association, Deaf Plus, Mossley Community Arts Club, or face to face at Percy Shurmer Academy, Birmingham or commissioned work. The Pop Art painting of The Man On The Horse is on show at The Chindit pub in Wolverhampton until August 2021.
Real Arts Workshops is an independent arts company based in the Black Country, providing bespoke workshops for various organisations and groups.