On a balmy May morning a group from Taunton Centre Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) travelled to Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, a beautiful historic house nestled at the foot of the Quantock Hills. There they met artist in residence Andrea Oke for a workshop as part of the Shadowland project.
On arrival at Halsway Manor Andrea shared examples of her papercutting with the group, and then armed with small sketchbooks and a camera she led a walk around the building and grounds, gathering imagery for later development.
There was no shortage of inspiration, from the gargoyles over the doorways, the witches’ marks in the wood panelled hallway to the brilliant coloured may pole framed by ancient woodland.
On returning to the Manor we discussed our project imagery and spent time drawing designs that could be cut from paper. Halsway is in the most enchanting setting and so the stylised tree motif was developed by pupil Chantelle. Andrea then shared her skills in simple lighting technique and within the setting of the Manor we created shadow play on the walls, through the windows and in the old mottled mirrors.
It was an invaluable morning to see our talented students working with an experienced artist, the kind of experience that can allow you to see your own potential future.
The creativity did not end with the workshop! On returning to the centre Chantelle continued to work with her stencil by using it on a silk screen to create some beautiful prints, echoing the shadow play created with Andrea, and she is rightly proud of her achievements.
We are looking forward to the next stage of the ProspectUs project with great enthusiasm and are following Andrea’s blog at Halsway too, we will return to see the exhibition! Lisa Robertson