Kettle’s Yard House & Gallery

Currently closed until 10 February 2018.

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Kettle’s Yard: Looking Ahead

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Lucy Wheeler, Assistant Education Officer

Over the next year the Learning team at Kettle’s Yard will be sharing stories on the blog from our quarterly sessions with Cam Sight, a charity that provides support for blind and partially sighted people living and working in Cambridgeshire. Kettle’s Yard have been working with Cam Sight for over four years and we got off to a great start in 2014 with our first session exploring the themes of the Victor Skipp exhibition.

In the descriptive tour we explored the drawing techniques of the work of Linda Karshan and Bob Law, considering the importance of each artist’s process in regard to the final outcome of the work. For example, we discussed how Law reconsidered the potential of drawing by shifting his focus from imitating nature to consider instead his emotional response to the natural world through abstract mark making. Lying in open fields, Law would transcribe his subjective experience of that landscape, at that specific time, into a symbolic code.

Filipa Pereira-Stubbs then led a tactile and music based workshop exploring our subjective relationship with our surroundings, asking participants to create clay landscapes in response to a range of sounds.

Filipa wrote the following about her experiences of leading the practical activity:

It is always a bit of a lurch to settle into the act of creating.  It requires time and focus to allow the senses to awaken, to become more aware, to begin to engage and be playful with ideas, concepts, questions.  At best, we can enjoy not knowing what we are heading into, or what we are seeking.  At worst we can feel we haven’t got a clue, we don’t know what to do next, or we’re no good at art.   These sessions provide clear ideas and concepts from the very rich, vast, unwieldy and sometimes mysterious world of contemporary art, and a sense of held space and time where we are all safeguarded from the usual rush and noise of daily getting about, so that we can immerse ourselves into the unfamiliar and the unknown.  When we began to work with the clay, the room was filled with the best kind of silence – concentrated, quiet, easy, gentle.  Engaged.  Interested.  It was a delight to be a part of that group, and to watch ideas unfold across the dimensions of the clay landscapes.  This group has a real strength in withdrawing judgement, staying open to newness, whilst robustly questioning of ridiculousness.  Good to be with.

Below is some feedback from the Cam Sight group about the session, which I hope sheds more light on the participants’ experiences.

I feel the tours are very well conducted with the focus on one particular concept or exhibition allowing for a very informative and thought-provoking tour. Moreover, the tour combined with a workshop afterwards works well to bring out a creative side in me that unfortunately rarely raises its head.

Warren Wilson, Cam Sight Participant

I just wanted to say thank you for the Victor Skipp workshop and all of the previous workshops. Before losing my eyesight at the age of 26, I used to draw and paint. It is nice, now at the age of 42, to create with clay and learn about local artists.

Matt Darkin, Cam Sight Participant

The continuation of Kettle’s Yard descriptive tours and tactile art workshops has an enormous impact on the issue of the inclusion of art in the lives of blind and partially sighted people. Lucy is passionate about sharing her knowledge and her descriptive skills mean no one is excluded from experiencing the fabulous exhibitions at the gallery. Likewise, Filipa offers the group such warmth and encouragement; everyone feels relaxed and confident enough to totally immerse themselves in her workshops. The pieces of work produced speak for themselves.

Becky Cawdry, Communications Officer, Cam Sight