Photo: We Are Dreamers – Arc Centre

Figure making workshop

This series of workshops was part of a large community project led by Arc Centre in Stockport which culminated in Remembrance Day art installation at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.  We Are Dreamers asked participants to create a ‘dreambox’ (individually or collectively) which represents their dreams and aspirations, a nod to the fact that those who went off to war had very different dreams and fought for the freedom to fulfil them.

I worked with the Creative Challenge group (a self-development programme to aid psychological resilience for individuals suffering from mental health difficulties) to create a display of collective boxes over a series of workshops. I looked at the idea of play and dressing up and how children play act their dreams of what they will be when they grow up. We had some lovely discussions about what we all used to dress up as and characters our children have pretended to be. We looked at whether we fulfilled them or whether we still hoped to or have our aspirations changed. Everybody made a mood board and designed a character representing an aspiration. Some were future plans; others childhood dreams. For some the idea of positive dreams was in conflict with their current mental health so depicted hopes for their own children or for society.

We made posable wire figures bound in calico. We gave them wool for hair and made costumes out of fabric scraps and old clothes. To compliment the figures, each person found or made pictures to hang in the space around them. We played with size and composition to give a surrealist dreamlike quality to our installation.

Everyone was really proud of their final figure and we became quite attached to these little characters. It is a project I would love to run again with other groups looking to explore aspirations and/or identity.

Project Co-ordinator: Annette Naor Hilton

Exhibition design: Richard Foxton