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ever changing swansea project

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The workshops were run by Kara Seaman, assisted by Adele Vye and photographically documented by Lee Falconer.

During August 2008 the Ever Changing Swansea project took place at Swansea Print Workshop. The project, funded by Communities First, invited those living in the Castle Ward area of Swansea to participate in a series of workshops, exploring an aspect of Swansea’s changing landscape through the medium of printmaking.

Participants

We had 14 people on the project, successfully targeting an age range from 7yrs old to 78. There was a lot of group interaction on both a social and artistic level.

Participants in the project were able to come together through this project and work alongside one another in a creative way. The project attracted, retired individuals, families, and professional artists alike all of whom would probably not have met if they had not taken part in this project. It has given individuals the opportunity to not only become involved in an artistic way when thinking about their city, but they have also been learning about its history and background and have swapped stories and given different viewpoints of their own experiences of living in Swansea.


Research and introduction / sources of information

Research for the project included field trips to the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Swansea Museum, introductory drawing from a range of source material and photography sessions using simple cameras.  Participants were shown how to use their collected research material through two printmaking processes, collagraph and cyanotype techniques.

Source material was gathered from library sources looking at key areas within Swansea within a historical setting including the Railway Station, the old Weavers Warehouse site, the beach, Kingsway and the market to name but a few. This was supplemented by a trip to the museum where we gained access to the archive collection with the help of the museum staff and then there was also the Cambrian Index, where information can be accessed via street names. The museum staff led us through and showed us how to access www.swanseaheritage.net where you can access images of Swansea through the years, street by street.

Participants were initially supplied with all the materials they needed to take part including a sketch book, a disposable camera, some good quality drawing pens and pencils and other pieces of stationary. All other equipment and materials were supplied as needed with no expense to the participants.

As well as gaining skills in researching, visiting art galleries and museums in Swansea all participants were involved in activities such as drawing, photography, and printmaking.

The processes

Collagraph involves a ‘collage’ technique initially when a printing block is made by sticking down ‘found’ and shaped items onto the card. This is then varnished to protect the surface before inking up the surface. When passed through a press with a piece of clean paper on top, the result is a deeply impressed collagraph print.

The cyanotype process can incorporate both drawn and photographic material and is particularly suited to the subject matter because archive photographs and texts can be incorporated into the prints.

Outcomes

By the end of the project participants were able to work unsupervised in both and all received free ordinary membership for one year enabling them to keep up their printmaking skills through the weekly open access sessions we offer.

The work produced on the project will be exhibited at The Grand Theatre Swansea, from November 25th to November 27th with the opening night on Wednesday November 26th. A workshop will be held nearer to that date when participants will be encouraged to share in the work required to put on an exhibition which will provide individuals with administrative, event management and other transferable skills.

By having an exhibition of their work this will hopefully give Swansea Print Workshop’s newest members the confidence to go on and produce more prints in the future as well as being able to become involved with future projects and exhibitions that we have.

Benefits of funding

The funding benefited the participants by allowing them to come in and use Swansea print workshop’s facilities to produce high quality prints and learn the processes of Cyanotype and collagraph. Other benefits include having a year’s free membership to the workshop, free sketchbooks for ideas and drawings and their own artistic development and disposable cameras to record their changing city. They have also had training from two paid professional artists, in all aspects of the printmaking and development of their ideas and the benefit of having the project documented by a trained photographer. Without the funding the project would not have benefited so many people to take part in learning new skills, making new friends and learning about the city they live in.

Feedback

We have had some very positive comments from the participants, collected through project completion forms.

  • It was fantastic’ Afshin Tarat

  • ‘I have loved Ever Changing Swansea because it can help me in art class in Olchfa and helped me learn different art ways’ ‘ We have done a lot of art things like sianatype and colagraph, I have enjoyed so much, and I like meeting new people!’ Helia Tarat

  • ‘Made me more aware of historical surroundings all around us, going unnoticed’ Cherie Marshe

  • ‘I have produced work that i can be proud of’ ‘It has given me a net of skills which i can build on. It has introduced me to a wide variety of people who have been fun and informative.’ Melvyn Williams

  • ‘Caught up on old skills and learned new’ ‘Bettered my ability to work closely with a group of diverse people’ Terry O’Brian