18 Dec Community Engagement Days
When we are working on public art commissions, we feel it’s very important to engage with the public through community engagement days, giving them the opportunity to meet the artist and have a go at forging a small piece that will become part of the final sculpture.
We recently spent a week in Boston doing community engagement for the Boston Buoys art project, in which we are one of three artists involved. We held two days in local schools, another in the town center on Market Day, and the last one in an allotment.
Part of the skill is in choosing a theme and then an item that the public can have a go at forging and guiding them in the process. For the Boston Buoys project, we are upcycling 2 large shipping buoys and turning them into giant vases containing forged flora, drawing inspiration from the success the town’s Boston in Bloom group has had winning Gold several years running in the East Midlands in Bloom Competition. In this case I created a hand drawn board explaining the project and then another demonstrating what it is we want the public to have a go at making. For this community engagement I designed a stylized eucalyptus leaf for them to make.
The mobile forge we use for all of our community engagement belongs to our blacksmith friend and colleague Simon Bushell. He built ‘The Nowhere Forge’ to be totally self-contained and powered by solar and humans!
The workshops are fun and relaxed and give the public the opportunity to swing a hammer and have a go forging. It’s great seeing the enjoyment they get from taking part in the artwork that will be in their community and be able to say they made a part of it and more of a connection with the sculpture.