Connecting Communities the story so far!
Over the last few months we have been busy with our Connecting Communities project that has been funded by the A14 Community Fund through Cambridgeshire Community Foundation. Working alongside Milton County Park and Hinchingbrooke Country Park our student artists and the surrounding communities have been working collaboratively with Rowan’s ceramic art tutor Sarah Nibbs to create two public art installations.
After visiting both parks to get inspiration for the installations we decided to build two huge dragonflies, due to them being present at both parks! Sarah got to work with the student artists back at Rowan: ‘We had a really good session in the studio discussing the design and made some maquettes to show how it would work. The completed installations will nestle along the water’s edge at each park providing a link between the two parks and the communities surrounding them.’
Due to all the current work taking place on the A14 we were able to enquire about using some of the clay from the site. On receiving the clay it was time for a test. With our student artists it was about to get messy to make sure the clay would be good to work with and fire. You can see Nicky and Christine getting stuck in here!
The clay was fired to different temperatures to determine the firing range. The tests showed that the clay would be suitable to fire at earthenware temperatures (1080 degrees) but would melt if taken any higher!
We ran workshops for the general public at both country parks and at Rowan and people of all ages turned up from both communities.
Working as a team the sections were completed and it was time for firing…then disaster struck! When opening the kiln the dragonflies’ heads had exploded taking with them other sections, including the thorax, abdomen and pieces of both tails. This was a tough blow but Sarah was undeterred and set to work to re-make the dragonflies, with the support of our student artists, using a different clay for the construction elements, that we know will hold strong in the kiln.
In the meantime other work for the dragonflies has continued. Sarah organised a day for a group of Rowan student artists to work with Debbie Hall, a willow artist based in Cambridge. You can find out more about Debbie and the work she does on her website Salix Arts. They had a wonderful time learning different techniques needed to create the wings of the dragonflies. Once student artist Luke got the hang of it he said it was ‘A piece of cake!’ More news will be coming soon on the progress of our dragonflies including the metal work and dates for the installation – watch this space!