Freedom in Abstraction, Power in Creativity – Workshop 1

Workshop One – Mark Making & Personal Colour Palettes

For our first meeting we gathered at the gallery with the volunteers from Empower Women for Change and Beth Shapeero. After getting to know each other and meeting the kids as well, we split into a group of adults and a group of kids. Downstairs, the kids built kinetic sculptures and vehicles out of recycled materials. Upstairs, the women participated in a mark making workshop. Mark making with simple indian ink and paint brushes, we steered away from the perfectionism of formal drawing, which allowed us to focus on movement, pattern and abstraction. This was a way of relaxing and avoiding the idea that art can be bad or good. Mark making is a really good way of going with the flow and trusting the gestures of your body and seeing what comes out of it. It’s also a great way to make abstract art. Beth encouraged us to explore different gestures and pressures and brushstrokes, and to experiment and enjoy the results these made with ink on paper. When we had all made several ink works, we hung them all up together to make a large collaborative wall piece. 

During our lunch break the kids and adults caught up and shared what they’d been making for the morning. We chatted and exchanged thoughts about the morning, about the project and our hopes for it, and generally got to know each other better over some food, which felt like a really lovely social antidote to the stress or loneliness of life during the pandemic. In the afternoon, the workshop with Beth was all about colour. Beth described how we all gravitate towards different colours, and have our own sort of colour palette. We spent a relaxing afternoon mixing colour and learning about combinations and what can be made with them. Afterwards we rounded off the day with a mindfulness session with Lorna Walker, who taught us some simple tactics to bring our minds and bodies into the present through breath techniques and listening.

Nell Cardozo