This project has been developed by The Burton Art Gallery & Museum, with thanks to Torridge District Council and The Friends of The Burton

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Getting our hands dirty at last!

Bideford Black School Workshops and Exhibition

A very important aspect of the Story of Bideford Black Project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund All Our Stories Grant, has been the sharing of stories across generations, or more simply put - the old miners sharing their stories with the kids. So, having gathered a great deal of information we asked two local schools, both situated at significant places along the Bideford Black seam, to take part in a series of workshops. East the Water Community Primary School on Mines Road and St Helen’s C of E Primary School, Abbotsham most kindly agreed.

Getting our hands dirty at last - East the Water Primary School Workshop 1 (photos Mike Hedges 2013)
Getting our hands dirty at last - East the Water Primary School Workshop 1 (photos Mike Hedges 2013)
A walk along Mines Road with Ron Pither and St Helen's Primary School (photos Sadie Green 2013)

The 4 daylong workshops engaged the children (aged between 9-12 years old) and teachers (ages unknown) with their local history, that is Bideford Black Mining, through a simple presentation, a Q&A session with ex-miner Ron Pither and a short walk along Mines Road across Manteo Way to the old mine site at Chapel Park, looking at any evidence of the industry along the way. The children were then given a simple demonstration of how to make paint using raw Bideford Black pigment and then asked to create illustrations of the stories they had heard earlier using Bideford Black itself. While some children chose to illustrate of the stories, others simply enjoyed and learnt about the feel of this very different paint. Some of the pictures would then be used as part of the final display and shown in a special exhibition of work at the Burton Gallery.

As was hoped the children got thoroughly covered in the sooty black pigment and enjoyed a great day of stories, outdoor activity and painting. Everyone was surprised at the quality and richness of the paint, how it often didn’t do quite what they wanted it to, and worked very hard to make some great pictures. Nearly 400 paintings were made over the four days, East the Water School continuing the project during the week with further studies – we were utterly spoilt for choice. Thank you all for working so hard. We hope you all learnt something too!? The exhibition of paintings will be open to the public for a month in the CafĂ© du Parc at the Burton Art Gallery from 24th September.

Mining, painting courtesy St Helen's Primary School
Paintings courtesy East the Water Primary School
Paintings courtesy St Helen's Primary School
 Paintings courtesy St Helen's Primary School 2
Black Boat, painting courtesy St Helen's Primary School

The workshops were led by artist Peter Ward and co-ordinated by Sadie Green with help from Burton Art Gallery volunteers Ros Ford, Mike Hedges and Nicole Hickin. They were enthusiastically supported by the teachers and teaching assistants at both schools – many thanks to all. Learning Coordinators Sadie Green and Julian Vayne have developed further educational material resulting from the project in the form of a Learning Pack for schools to accompany the display.

No comments:

Post a Comment