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Sunday, 25 January 2015

5 Senses art worskhop TASTE

This week we were looking at Taste and how it might influence or enhance approaching our art work and creative process. 

Taste is of course very subjective and food has been used in art both in direct and indirect ways. We referred to Anthony Gormley and his bread sculptures, Claus Oldenburg for his pop art floor cake, burger and other food items and several artists who have looked to food as subject matter for still life - in this brief exploration of the sense of taste I was hoping to highlight some of the subtleties and associations of this sense. 

First we did a warm up in pairs identifying something small that our partner had changed in their appearance this encouraged students to take time to think and look ....this exercise is useful done several times over until you think you have run out of can help to break through blocks and push you beyond your usual thought pattern. We all notice things to a degree and then switch off relying on our memory or habit of simply sticking to what we know. To break out of this opens up new pathways which is especially helpful when trying to make art that remains interesting and challenging.   

After this we looked at a diagram of the tongue and its taste receptor areas of sweet, salty, sour and bitter including umami - a pleasant savory taste (from the Japanese) .
To get immediate experience and wake up our taste buds we tasted some large caperberries, green chili peppers and slices of lemon. Then discussed each of our experiences which rapidly led to stories of associations and childhood memories of food. 

Focussing the mind onto creating something visual and consolidating our previous discussion and experience we drew some aubergines - just straight aubergines whole or cut open. 

Cheryl with felt/sewn aubergine

Carol's lovely bold bagel with fish, aubergine arrangements and chocolate slab squares

Sadly I missed photographing Miriam's wax resist and water colour aubergines. 

These senses workshops are intellectually demanding as they involve a lot of thinking and application - however there are ways of bringing us back to the subject if we are struggling (and we can do this in our own time too to bring us back to our work if we are getting stuck) An easy on for TASTE at coffee time it was cupcake blind tasting.

Identical mini cakes made in 6 flavours; rose, orange, lemon, peppermint, cola, and strawberry. This was harder than I anticipated for two reasons 1) some people were not sweet toothed and found the sweetness too overpowering and 2) it's difficult when there are no visual clues to search your memory for identification of a taste....we were literally closing our eyes and delving deep into our minds to recall the time when we had tasted something similar

 Students created work around a food item they had brought in that held some significance for them. 

Miriam's 'real' bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon 

David's bread relief 

Cheryl's final autobiographical piece 
Aubergine with Bagel and tinned Nappolina Tomatoes. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

5 senses workshop HEAR

Naked Eye drawing group experimenting in the HEAR 5 senses workshop inspired by the story book Ish by Peter Reynolds. 

I had the pleasure of being able to facilitate a 'TOUCH' senses workshop with Naked Eye last year and they have been very kind to ask me back to complete the series. 

Being on email and mostly on Facebook has meant we could swap images and background thoughts before and after the workshop. 

Facilitating a group of very keen and talented students is a real privilege and I think I learned as much if not more from the process of doing it and from the students themselves than they did. All of them take a very different approach and are willing to try new things which is what keeps their interest alive and is in turn inspiring. I'm really looking forward to TASTE which is next week. 

The idea behind the Ish concept is that we are looking at how we approach our creative process, what do we bring to it before we make a mark or decide what materials to use? Just as other artists, text or music might influence our ideas or mark making - our own physical state of awareness is something we can draw upon to be part of the whole. Sensing our way rather than over thinking. Just being ourselves and becoming aware of how we feel or respond to certain external or internal influences can reassure us in our conscious choices further down the line and give integrity and depth to our work and experience. 

Focusing on each sense gives us the chance to see where strengths and weaknesses lie and in some cases may help students break free of a rut but trying something new or seeing something from a new perspective. 

In HEAR students were first asked to create a sound scape with their voices and secondly to make marks on paper to visualise a list of everyday sounds they had no warning and no time to think  - they had to move around the table to a new paper every new sound so they didn't get too limited by  their own previous marks. 

They then tried making a system or code for the letter sounds of their name or a chosen phrase. In the second part of the workshop they listened to music they had brought in and visualised it using 3d lo fi materials as a relief - as this is not an exercise in making 'finished' or aesthetically pleasing pieces of work it can be a frustrating and very difficult thing to do as each student is battling with their need to fulfill a need to succeed or do it 'right'. Left brain against right brain. However Ish is about getting a sense of something, its not exact and there should be a strong sense of freedom to do or try anything in any material in order to explore possibility and progress ideas conscious or unconscious. 

apologies for lack of photos here I have them saved as a Facebook album and am struggling to access them. For the full album go to