I lead workshops, alone or with other artists and writers. These aim to unleash the creative spirit inside everyone.
There are no onlookers – everyone works, everyone makes something. Every participant goes home having created something new, whether it’s a piece of embroidery, a story, a song, a poem or some animation, like this animation workshop at the Barbican in summer 2011, co-hosted with the brilliant Reza Ben Gajra. At Manga Cross-Stitch workshops in London and the USA , the biggest thrill has been seeing previous non-stitchers, male and female, arrive as stitch virgins and leave as slaves to the needle.
Click to see some of my stitching designs – Haikats, kana samplers, schoolgirls and robots.
My comic-making workshop has been successful in infant, primary and secondary schools. Combining workshops, for example making finger puppets then storyboarding and making an animation about them, calls for a wide range of skills and lots of co-operation. Analysing a short comic, breaking it down into a script or using it as a basis for other forms of writing, and then presenting the results, is very rewarding.
Working with Mu Arts, I’ve also developed a workshop that combines two traditional Japanese art forms – making haiku and the street performance art of kamishibai. This creates an exciting fusion of verbal and visual poetry that can be performed with or without words.
Working alone, in pairs or in groups, people who haven’t made art since they doodled as children find that the ability to create is born into all of us and never really goes away. Even experienced artists find that trying new skills, or working with new people, gives their creativity an injection of fresh energy. And children gain the confidence in their own skills and abilities that comes with creating something for and from themselves.
I love workshops. Come along to one of mine, and we’ll make something together.
- Dreams That Move (helenmccarthy.wordpress.com)
- Workshopping: or, why I love making things with kids (helenmccarthy.wordpress.com)