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I originally trained as a Fashion & Textiles Designer. Three years ago I decided to develop an art and crafts based workshops business. I now run an established business, having built up an extensive contacts network in Nottinghamshire (England). My business is technology based, drawing on the potential offered by widely available PC hardware and software. In addition, I also offer craft based workshops recognising the need to diversify the base of workshops I offer.
In autumn 2004 I completed a Business Development Course, facilitated by Nottingham Business Venture (NBV) where I was given the opportunity to develop my Shimmerfire Business Plan. My Plan was scrutinised by a panel of business experts, and I was awarded a £3,500 grant to purchase equipment to support my main business objective which is to provide workshops for schools, colleges, community centres and youth groups. In parallel with the main coursework, I now offer to provide a video diary of the workshops to help teaching staff and pupils develop further learning.
I have also been working closely with an ESF funded organisation called Creative Collaborations who provide funding using the CINTIN system, which targets development of technology based ventures. I have in autumn 2004 submitted a bid to further develop the Shimmerfire business which will enable me to expand my movie making potential.
I recognise the diversity of funding available to community based workshop and art practitioners, and seek to maximise funding to achieve my objectives of providing a service to the community and for myself, a rewarding economically viable business career.
John Davies School - Aztec Project: This project commissioned by the Groundworks organisation based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire was a collaboration with a recent graduate from Nottingham Trent Univsersity, who studied Textiles and Printing techniques. , (England) to help design a Mural 4 ft x 4 ft, (approx 1 sq m) for year 5 children x 2 classes (60 children in all), which was to be hung in the main hall of the school. This was a 6 week project based on an Aztec theme, with the main image designed by the children. We used various printing techniques including: silk screen printing, batik, monoprinting, lino-cut printing, direct fabric painting and printing to acheive the end result. The children were asked to prepare individual patches which were then combined to form the single finished mural. The patches were all individually photographed prior to compilation of the mural and made into a slideshow which was presented at the end of term, in the school assembly as a visualisation of the children's achievement and enthusiasm. The workshop mural is recorded at Gallery 044.
Creative Collaborations Beamer Event This group collaboration with a number of artists took place at the Broadway cinema, Nottingham in summer 2004. It was the culmination of a four week Creative Collaborations Digital Media course, run by Frank Abbott and Jim Broadbent working in collaboration with the Broadway Cinema and Nottinghan Trent University. The course involved working with a group of artists and technicians to produce a final showpiece projection event at the Waterside Bar in Nottingham where the works were projected outdoors onto a canalside warehouse. The course and event was a great success and networking opportunity.
Webism Collaboration Projects is a group of international artists who join together to produce both online exhibitions, curated terrestrial exhibitons and Beamer events across Europe and the USA. See their website at Webism Collaboration Projects, and the following list of projects that I have been involved in:
I will continue to work with this group.
Cidinha - Dancer / Paul Nix - Technician / Susan Graves - Artist & Designer This project is in the planning and development stage and is awaiting adjudication of Arts Council Funding. It is an experimental research project working with dancers, artists and technicians and will encompass the uses of Beamer projection equipment (high intensity projectors, powerful enough to project onto buildings). This is intended to take place in March 2005, where dancers, artists and technicians will be invited to attend a one day symposium to present ideas and research how they would like to use the equipment. After the initial workshop round expected to last two weeks, the collaboration will be taking Cidinhas dance and the Beamer equipment on tour with her Troupe.
Old Market Square Arts & Crafts Market I have just finished a two day slot at this temporary Christmas Market in the centre of Nottingham alongside a fellow artist Carol Sparks who I work closely with in my Workshop business.
The Ultimate Coffee Shop, Newark: 13 October 2004 - Encaustic Wax Painting. This workshop was very interesting to see how the young adults took to this unique painting technique, but they seemed to be enjoyed the results of their labours !
The Ultimate Coffee Shop, Newark: 14 October 2004 - Fractal Workshop. This Workshop went down very well with the participant group of young adults who really enjoyed themselves. They made Greetings Cards and Printed their designs onto T-shirts using the fractal art images made during the workshop.
The UltimateCoffee Shop, Newark: 29 October 2004 - Jewellery Making. This workshop is normally one for the girls, but the lads really got into it and made and then baked all sorts of macho symbols out of Fimo Clay. Wooden beads were provided and they were made into big chunky neck-chains. They did seem to enjoy being able to take them away with them and some of the students made 4 or 5 chains for their brothers and sisters!
Carrington Primary School: 18-30 November 2004- Christmas Play Costumes. I was asked to make 30 Mice costumes for the school's Christmas play. The costumes comprised little pink ears and long pink furry tails, as well as a cosy grey sleepsuit for each of the Nursery children!
Various Nottingham Play-schemes: various dates 2004 I have completed a series of 10 workshops based on candlemaking and encaustic wax art - working with Primary School aged children in Playschemes in and around Nottingham. I hope to build on the contacts I have made and capitalise on the courses I led which the children really enjoyed.
Workshop, Rochdale: I was asked to facilitate a workshop in Rochdale, but, I have declined this offer as the distance and travelling time made it economically unviable.
Workshops Planned for 2005
The Unique Coffee Shop: Working with young people in and around Newark, especially the young offenders, young people from local areas of deprivation and members of the travelling community . This project will explore the views of young people about a number of issues that they feel strongly about. The activity will consist of young people agreeing the aims and objectives for the project and devising an action plan or storyboard. They would then decide on the location and "feel" of the documentary. They will also involve authority figures who will be able to put their points forward as part of the ongoing discussion.
Dance and Theatre project/Workshop: Working with a local Dancer and Technician, we are putting together a collaboration using projectors and film-making equipment to create a research based workshop for the use of the Beamer technology. As well as innovative uses for other projectors and post-production software. This will eventually be open to invited guests of dancers, artists and technicians to do their own research with the equipment available. After the research has been collated, the final show will go on the road around the country to specific theatres and dance organisations.
Arnold Project: Working with individual and small groups of young people (12 to 16 age range) who are currently unable to cope or be coped with in schools or other educational group settings? I would have support from and be working alongside their current tutors, whilst hopefully engaging their interest, tapping into their underdeveloped creativity and raising their self esteem through inspiring them to produce tangible evidence of their efforts that would have a sufficiently wide appeal to impress people they would care about impressing.
Saturday Morning Club, Nottingham: I am investigating a potential project to provide a Saturday Morning Club at our local school, and will seek funding from the Awards for All Lottery funding partnership. This is intended to be a workshop led Club in which youngsters and members of the local community will participate. Membership for the first year would be free and therafter a membership fee would be payable.
Having completed my grant funded Business Development Course in late 2004, I will be ploughing my grant back into the business and I will be able to offer film-making and video caption workshops from early 2005. The intention is to use this capital investment to offer movie making workshops at the same day rate basis as my art and craft based workshops.
Parent Partnership Service - 10 year Celebration Video Diary: I have been asked to provide a Video Diary of the 10 Year Celebrations of the Parent Partnership Service in February 2005. This is due to take place at the Nottigham County Hall and Council House Venues on a Saturday. "Make & Takes" will be available to the general public as part of the celebrations.
Fractal Art Workshops, Sutton in Ashfield: I have a six week repeat booking of half day taster workshops working with a fathers group. The original workshop in 2004 went down very well with the fathers and was a great success.
Bluecoat School Enterprise Village Opening: In November 2004, I was asked to present my artwork at this prestigious opening, along with other partipants in on my NBV course. I distributed a lot of business cards and workshops publicity and hope to develop a number of leads.
Nottingham City Council Old Market Square Contemporary Crafts Market: I was selected to provide a market stall at this annual market in December 2004. Very hard, cold work, but I made a few useful contacts and sold some art and craft based pieces.
Greetings Cards Developments: I have in November 2004 finalised my sample folder which is a comprehensive collection representing my current greetings card range. I will use this to demonstrate my cards to retailers, wholesalers and at trade shows.