Feel Good in the Forest - Access
We are working in collaboration with Safe, Well, Happy to enable adults with learning disabilities to access nature themed creative activities and for them to help us understand how to make Charnwood Forest a more accessible place for people with different access needs.
From February 2022 onwards, we will be meeting with the Safe, Well, Happy group members once a month to be creative, discuss opportunities and to learn together.
With generous support from the Intelligent Energy Charitable Trust, Charnwood Arts will work alongside Lucy Stevens, a local artist who work explores our relationship with the natural world, will act as an Artist in Residence and will be working with the group to create a sensory audio experience to provide an introduction to a visit into the forest as well as an accessible trail, with new, co-created way finding and narration, within Charnwood Forest.
Images 1,3 and 4 credit: Lucy Stevens
Session 1: Exploring natural resources and creating colourful rubbings
In our first session with artist Lucy Stevens, the group explored some natural resources and made rubbings of their various textured surfaces with charcoal and coloured pastels. We then had a stroll round the park to find some more interesting surfaces to take rubbings from. Some fantastic work was created and we are looking forward to getting together again next month to create some more work and begin to explore our ideas for creating an accessible trail in Charnwood Forest.
Session 2: Responding to sounds and rhythm through mark making
In this session, the group were exploring mark making in response to the sound and rhythm of their own breath and their names. Working again with artist Lucy Stevens, they were explored a range of art materials, including foam rollers, inks, paints and a variety of papers. We also used sticks to draw and make marks with. As background music, we listened to bird song.
Session 3: Experimenting with printmaking
Artist in Residence, Lucy Stevens, supported the group in an exploration of the mono printing technique, etching images inspired by nature into the surface of styrofoam and using paints and rollers to print them by hand onto different papers. They explored colour, texture and natural forms in their work and produced some beautiful prints.
Session 4: Exploring trails at Lower Beacon Hill
We had a wonderful time exploring the sights, sounds and smells of the woodland at Lower Beacon Hill and did some important work exploring the existing trails and signage. The group then decided to create their own maps of the trail we had followed and started to suggest ways in which signposting could be clearer in order to help then feel more confident to explore the trail independently. We aim to work towards the development of an accessible trail in Charnwood Forest and the group are really leading the way with some fantastic ideas, supported by artist Lucy Stevens.
Session 5: Working large scale with mark making from sounds and maps
We were delighted to welcome members from the Safe, Well, Happy group to work from our art workshop at Charnwood Arts new premises - it was the first session to take place in our new home and it was wonderful to fill the room with colour and creativity. Working alongside artist Lucy Stevens, the group explored mark making on large rolls of paper, using a variety of brushes, sponges, sticks and wet and dry art materials to create their work. We worked on the table tops and also up on the walls.
Session 6: Exploring the wildlife native to Beacon Hill with Park Ranger Amy
For this session we visited Beacon Hill and met Amy, one of the Park Rangers, to learn more about the wildlife native to the area. Amy showed the group a selection of animal skulls and footprints, which we explored to identify which animals they belonged to. We then learnt more about the wildlife that lives in the forest and were shown how to build a fire... and enjoyed toasting marshmallows on it! It is important to note that fires are forbidden at Beacon Hill and this experience was only possible with special permission and for educational purposes.
Session 7: Exploring complimentary / contrasting colours and painting onto 3D objects
We held this session in Charnwood Arts' Art Room and welcomed some new members to our group, which was wonderful. Lead artist Lucy Stevens showed the group how to use a colour wheel to identify colours which complemented or contrasted with each other. We then used our chosen colour palettes to create patterns and images, first on paper and then on 3D shapes.
Session 8: Sound recording at Beacon Hill
We visited Lower Beacon Hill and were joined by Head Park Ranger, Chris, to further explore our proposed accessible trail. Along the way, artist Lucy Stevens showed the group how to use a range of sound recording equipment to capture the sounds of the forest. It was amazing to see how absorbed and tuned in we became to the ambient sounds around us when we had the headset on to record.
We are very grateful to The Intelligent Energy Charitable Trust for their support for this project