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  • Amanda Farrar

Volunteer Perspective (ardwick art walk III)

TLC Art Walks in Ardwick: Drawing - 10th March 2020

Tuesday 10th March was the third art walk focusing on drawing led by Naomi, we were each given a set of materials, graphite, charcoal, oil pastel, crayons, different types of paper, such as tracing paper and tissue paper and two seed bombs to plant.

The theme of the drawing walk was focusing on the five steps to wellbeing, which are to Connect, Learn, Be Active, Take Notice and Give. We connected with the people around us, being together on a group walk and building connections will support and enrich us every day. Whilst taking notice of the world around us we were also connecting with nature, taking in what we could see. We learnt by sharing knowledge of our surroundings, such as, the names of plants and trees, houses and flats that had been demolished, cemeteries that no longer exist, the different surface textures for rubbings, the best materials to use for the rubbings as well as our own interests. We were physically active by walking, in total we walked 6,729 steps. On our walk I was taking notice of our surroundings, looking for inspiration for our rubbings, thinking about the best places to plant the seed bombs and taking photos, capturing what I found interesting. I observed the colours, textures and shapes found within the urban environment, focusing on the detail, noticing things I would not normally notice. Andy also stated, “I have lived in Ardwick for many years now and it’s nice to focus on things I don’t normally notice.” Even the smallest acts can count, whether it is a smile or a thank you or holding the paper in the wind whilst the other person does their rubbings. Planting our seed bombs gave us the opportunity to give back to nature and give back to the community as I chose to plant it in Ardwick Green Community Park.

I chose to plant my seed bomb in Ardwick Green Community Park as I liked the fact that I was giving back to nature and the community. Growing wildflower seed bombs can increase the garden wildlife population, such as butterflies and bees. A member of the group stated, “I enjoyed planting the seeds.”

During the walk I found nature in many different places, from weeds creeping through the railings, to plants growing through the cracks in the pavement, overflowing from plant pots and in the tree trunks that have been cut down.

On our walk, I noticed bracket mushrooms growing in clusters on tree stumps that had been cut down. After heavy weather conditions, such as rain, windstorms and lightning strikes, mushrooms form in the dead or decaying tree stumps and grow rapidly under wet weather conditions, showing that nature is resilient and mushrooms thrive no matter the climatic conditions. The mushrooms will feed on dead wood and the tree roots for nutrients.

On our walk we went to the gardens at the Elizabeth Gaskell House, there was inspiration everywhere, from the brightly coloured flowers to the beautiful inscriptions of quotes. This is a rubbing I created from a quote by Charlotte Bronte using a red crayon. I chose the word flower as it represented my thoughts of our surroundings as it was a prominent thing I could see.

As a group the rubbings we created were a mixture of natural, such as, leaves and tree bark and man-made textures, such as, inscriptions, railings and grids.

I enjoyed creating the rubbings, choosing from a variety of materials and papers, looking for different surfaces and textures to create different images. I created the leaf rubbing using a brown crayon, tissue paper and a maple leaf. I particularly like the intricate detail of the veins running through the leaf. I created the log rubbing using a graphite pencil, tracing paper and a log from a cut down tree. I also like the detail of the log rubbing as you can see the tree rings showing the age of the tree, suggesting the tree is about twenty years old as it grows a ring each year.

Andy particularly liked creating rubbings from man-made textures, such as, inscriptions from the Elizabeth Gaskell Gardens, words and logos from grids, lamp posts and electrical boxes.

On our walk, we saw a wooden sculpture of a bee in Ardwick Green Community Park. It was created by Karl Macauley and carved using a chainsaw. It was a tribute, a symbol of remembrance to honour the victims of the Manchester Arena Attack. We stopped to create rubbings and take photographs.

The wooden sculpture had different textures, for example, the wings had carved lines, the honeycomb shaped hexagons had a bumpy effect and the leaves were carved as a leaf shape and with the indent around it meant you could get an actual leaf shape rubbing. A member of the group stated, “the rubbings and discovering different textures was the highlight for me.”

This is the rubbing I created using a red crayon and paper on to the hexagon shapes. Bernie opted for the wings to create a linear rubbing, using a graphite pencil on to tracing paper whilst another member of the group created a rubbing of a leaf carving using a green crayon on to tracing paper.

We all enjoyed the art walk, searching for interesting textures and fascinating surfaces for our rubbings, both natural and man-made, documenting our journey through the rubbings, planting our seed bombs, taking in what we could see, sharing knowledge of our surroundings, incorporating the five steps of wellbeing and thinking about the resilience of nature in the urban environment along the way.

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