Water Music: Installation
I was commissioned to work with 4 local primary schools to create some public art as part of the Water Music project for The Bridgewater Hall learning department. Each school came for a visit to the building and a walk along the canal. I got them to observe how elements of design of the building were connected to water. We researched the canal and I went into the schools to run workshops to make a collective piece of art with each school to be displayed in Bridgewater Hall at the performances of the water inspired music they had created with a music facilitator and for the Water Music concert. Each of the 4 works of art was very individual, looking at different aspects of the canal and different art techniques. I oversaw the installation of the artworks.
A Manchester Flotilla: Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Year 3
Sacred Heart explored the origins of Handel’s Water Music. They discovered that rather than sounding like water, it had been created for a royal event on the Thames and that it had been recently used when the Queen had her jubilee boat parade also down the Thames. Together they created their own boat parade (aka flotilla) but set it in Manchester to display on the windows at the Bridgewater Hall. They looked at all sorts of different types of boat. They each designed a boat. They traced their designs onto acetate using black permanent markers. They cut up their designs to make patterns/templates to cut out the sticky-back plastic then they added it onto the right place on the acetate. They used coloured markers to do the details and cellophane for the water. They looked at famous Manchester buildings and images of the city skyline. They each made a building on acetate using the same method as the boats. Together these built up a riverside skyline for their window display. Those who finished early made fireworks on acetate using sticky-back plastic and cellophane to add to the sky as Handel’s Water Music is often used for firework events plus Handel is also famous for writing Music for Royal Fireworks.
Castles and Roses: St John’s CE Primary School, Year 3
St John’s explored traditional canal boat art often dubbed ‘castles and roses’. They looked at the limited palette that is used and the flower patterns used in bands or to frame the serene country castle scenes. As well as the boats themselves, canal folk paint anything and everything in this style from chairs and trays to boots and teapots. The class each chose an item from a selection that had been gathered from charity shops and pound stores. They covered them with white wet-strength tissue to give a solid, paintable surface. They each drew a design for their object within the style. Once thoroughly dry, they each chose a base colour and painted their object. They used acrylic rather than poster paint so it didn’t run when it was varnished. The traditional roses are tricky and take a well-practised hand. Instead to get the look, they colour-washed sets of photocopied roses in two sizes. They each painted a castle scene to go on their item that they cut out along with all their roses. They stuck these on according to their design.
A Journey: Fairfeild Road Primary School, Year 4
Fairfield Road looked at maps and photographs showing the course of the Bridgewater Canal. They listed all the different types of places and buildings that the canal goes through/past. They each chose a place to draw which had to include a section of canal. They traced the outline of their designs onto acetate using black permanent markers. They cut up their designs to make patterns/templates to cut out the sticky-back plastic then they added it onto the right place on the acetate. They used coloured markers to do the details and cellophane for the water. Those who finished early, did a second, contrasting scene. They were added together to create a canal journey along the balcony.
Bradley Green looked at different types of bridges over the canal, particularly the big metal bridges. We looked at how they are made up of a series of Xs, Vs or Ns. They worked in groups to each plan and build a section of bridge. They used corrugated cardboard and masking tape with egg boxes and plant pots for the bolts. They strengthened them with paper-mache followed by a coat of coloured tissue paper. They drew round them on blue fabric and painted the reflection to match their bridge.
Project Manager: Bryony Bell, Bridgewater Hall Learning Department