As part of an ongoing project based in Runcorn, we have gotten to know Breaking Ground who are a community led housing organisation. They in turn have been working with New Ferry CLT who are working together to improve New Ferry and we were invited to be part of project they were currently working on.
Hazlehurst Artists involved: Claire Pitt and Rachael Prime, along with Toni Louise Carter who was invited onto to the brief as part of our ongoing effort to provide opportunities to other local artists (Halton based).
Map by Rachael Prime 2022
Our brief was to do some creative consultation around the possibility of some new murals for the New Ferry High Street, with the central theme around celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. This was in conjunction with New Ferry CLT bringing back their popular 'Party in the Park' event, where we would be engaging with the local community by inviting them to participate in free art activities.
After a successful mural project in New Ferry with the artist Paul Curtis, this led to discussions with local residents and the people behind New Ferry CLT about further murals, what and where they could be. We were asked to bring together some of those ideas that could lead to a further bid, to get new murals painted.
Getting to know the area
As well as some initial research to familiarise ourselves with New Ferry, we did two site visits in advance of our first community consultation.
Site Visit 1 - Mark from New Ferry CLT provided us with a brilliant walkabout, giving us some background on the project, the current murals and then introduced us to some people to talk to. New Ferry CLT and Breaking Ground had indicated that a local pub was willing to be a venue for a new mural, and this led to a brilliant chat with the owner of The Cleveland Arms and some of their locals, we knew immediately that we would be back (more on that).
Mark also mentioned that the next day was the New Ferry CLT Monthly Community Litter Pick, which we decided was a brilliant way to get to know the area more and along with talking to the people participating. We spent the rest of that afternoon wandering around New Ferry, taking some reference images and getting to know the area a little better. New Ferry is full of interesting buildings and history, and has a lot of similarities with our location on Runcorn High Street.
Site Visit 2 - Litter Pick Day
Our second site visit was New Ferry CLT's monthly litter pick day, which is something we are very familiar with, because of our ongoing community garden project 'Old Town Bloom' . Doing a litter pick not only allows you to speak to people already actively involved in the community, you get to see a more comprehensive view of the area. After the litter pick we spent the afternoon exploring, enjoying a visit to the New Ferry Butterfly Park, which we found inspirational, especially after seeing hints of butterflies all around the New Ferry area ( all of which would influence our design ideas).
Community Consultation 1 - Party in the Park
Activities Planned for the day: Cyanotypes and Collaborative Visual minutes (Doodling with purpose).
Cyanotypes: Cyanotypes are one of the oldest photographic printing processes in the history of photography. The distinctive feature of the print is its shade of cyan blue, which results from its exposure to ultraviolet light.
We pre prepared images for people to use that included archive photographs of New Ferry (people and buildings), current images of New Ferry, as well as encouraging people to use simple items such as grass and flowers.
Why do we use this method? Cyanotypes not only allow us to teach a technique that is very accessible, it also gives us time to talk to people, as you have to wait for the prints to develop and it's a great activity to do outdoors.
During these conversations, Toni was making notes over on our collaborative visual minutes roll (doodling with purpose).
Collaborative Visual Minutes: Whilst Rachael and Claire were kept busy with the Cyanotypes, Toni was very busy over at the doodle station. Alongside recording images and words from the day, Toni was joined by lots of interested people (young and old) and ended up with 7 metres of doodling! (that record was beaten at our Old Town Blooming Jubilee event by another 3 metres!)
Community Consultation 2 The Cleveland Arms
Activities Planned for the day: Cyanotypes and Visual minutes
Collaborative Visual Minutes: Doodling with purpose
Although the locals at The Cleveland Arms didn't get as actively involved with the activities, they were very generous with their time and local knowledge, which was just as valuable. You will see how their ideas and conversations have shaped our designs.
Tools: A few things that help with our workshops
Best crayons/pencils ever (amazon link) - Stabilo Woody Three in One Colouring pencils are a staple item for our workshop box now. They are brilliant on paper (for big and little hands), they also work on windows and cardboard boxes (other ideas for creative consultation).
Large roll of paper - lining paper works for us
Cyanotype toolkit - we will have to do a further blog post on our travelling cyanotype kit - happy to answer questions if you have any.
In the second blog post we will share the initial designs and final design for one mural - New Ferry pt2
This project was funded by Arts Council The Arts Council England Let’s Create Jubilee Fund supported voluntary and community groups to develop creative and cultural activities as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022. The Fund was been created by Art's Council England with funds from the National Lottery.
Image above is a hint of what is to come from Toni TLC Illustration which you will be able to read about in the next post (coming soon).