In no specific order is some images of local Lewes Starfish festival myself and other volunteers from The skatehouse held a portable skateboard teaching session as an addition to the starfish youth music festival where young budding musicians are able to perform live.
As part of the day, I did a live spray painting demonstration where I painted my friend’s van.
This is an annual event and as usual, was enjoyed by all!!
Its been a while since I posted a blog and below are in no specific order images from a local rainbow gathering I attended last year in June.
I learnt how to make a kiln from old newspapers at university which I was pretty impressed with. Its quite a labour intensive thing wrapping all the newspaper tightly to create a behive type structure to then put your clay pieces inside and set in on fire, it burns for around 2-3 hours and can reach upto 6-700 degrees centigrade.
I was invited to a gathering of people down the road from where I used to live called Rainbow Gathering, I had heard of a friend going to one of these so I knew a little about what happens but not as much as I found out when I attended one myself.
Groups of people wild camp a month before the full moon and create a pop-up village where they all cook and live together. It is family friendly and no drink and drugs which I found quite refreshing to be a part of. There were people from all over the world there and I particularly liked the singing around the fire and eating rituals it felt very gracious.
I attended one evening and some of the other campers had gathered some clay from a local riverbed, I was very interested to dig my own clay and learn the cleaning process so I volunteered to run a small workshop with the clay and make one of these newspaper kilns I had just learned to make.
It took around 3 weeks to clean the clay and eventually hold the making workshop but it was well received and a nice way to end the camp with a small firing which seemed to impress people as much as it did me when I first saw it fire up.
You will also see in the images a book which was made with some of the other students on my MA Craft course, we teamed up with the local Ditchling museum to run another newspaper firing workshop where pages were made to create a book which was exhibited in the museum for a time.
The Skatehouse has an open wall rule so anyone can request to come in and do some painting.
Artist ‘Weardo’ and ‘Raw’ have been painting at Skatehouse for the last couple of years, we decided it was time to hold a spray jam and invite some other local painters down for a late night session!
So June time it happened and it was a good turn out and good vibes, this could easily have become a popular paint session if Skatehouse had continued for longer. Something to consider for the next project! I will be posting another blog soon about the ‘Save the Skatehouse’ campaign where we fought hard to save The Skatehouse and won over Lewes District Council who are going to be investing half a million quid into building us a new place over on Newhave, Denton Island.
I was told about this show by an artist called aka lady muck whos work I have talked about before on previous blogs but basically she makes awesome art from recycled London newspapers in paper mache moulds!
My Ceramics was pretty suiting for this exhibition being that I had been making baby dolls and limbs for some years. I wanted to make something new for this show and had been working on a plaster mould to cast in clay so this was the perfect opportunity.
I contacted Zara Fox a doll artist who makes incredible dolls and puppets, I’ve know Zara for a while now and always loved her contributions to many UK festivals and her creepy but beautiful creations she has spent many loving hours creating.
Zara had teamed up with an amazing 3D artist called Dagmer Bennett aka Dagger Bliss who sculpture work is outstanding. One of my favourite of her works is her portrait of Adam Pearson –
Adam Pearson Portrait
A heroic bust of Adam Pearson with kind permission from himself. An inspirational man, who is fighting for equality for people with a visible facial difference. He works with Changing Faces Charity and Genetic Disorders UK.
I was excited for the exhibition and more excited to see all the other artists who were involved too and what work they were going to be exhibiting.
I had a few trial and errors on my clay masks I was making and the glaze just wasn’t coming out how I wanted it. I had the idea to ask my girlfriend at the time (Sian Smith aka Wonnish) who was a mosaic and transfer artist if she wanted to collaborate with me. We decided to go with the theme of anti-war and all the innocent children who die because of war.
So Sian gathered many ceramic transfers from Carrie Reichardt who she had been working along side. Carrie has a multitude of transfers which could fill a small library!
Here’s how our work turned out –
It was a really awesome show and loads of talented artists involved. There is another show coming up for Feb 2017 which I’m aiming to be a part of if I can create something new in time, so watch this space.
For the last 2 years I have been lucky enough to witness the Lewes bonfire night. It really is amazing and the most impressive bonfire event I have ever seen, which to be honest I have only ever seen fairly lowsey fire work shows in local fields and parks growing up so it aint hard to beat BUT besides that this is a wicked night in Lewes and not to be missed!
For a start I met Gandalf……….
A bit of history
‘Whatever else may happen at the annual Lewes bonfire festivities, one annual tradition that doesn’t change is the carrying of flaming crosses through the streets, in memory of 17 Sussex people burnt at the stake in the town between 1555 and 1557. This was during the reign of Queen Mary (often called Bloody Mary), who sought to overturn the Church of England, set up by her father, Henry VIII. She was more Spanish than English and had been brought up in a strict Catholic fashion by her mother Catherine of Aragon, Henry’s first wife. On becoming queen in 1553, she was determined to re-establish Catholicism throughout the country. Any Protestant who explicitly defied her, stuck to the old English prayer book, refused to go to Mass, and was too open or vocal in their defiance, she had arrested, tried for heresy and if found guilty, sentenced to death by burning at the stake. ’
‘The Lewes Bonfire Night is the biggest celebrated Fifth November Event in the world, and is held in the usually peaceful county town of Lewes (pronounced “lu-is or loo-is”), East Sussex, every year on 5th November, and the carnival or festival is known as either the Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations, Lewes Bonfire Night or just simply the Fifth.
It is the biggest and the only proper bonfire night celebration left of its kind in the Uk.’
‘Enthusiasm for the ‘Fifth’ was rekindled during the 1820’s and from that time the local press has reported the annual celebrations. These reports graphically describe very lively, if not riotous, proceedings with a large bonfire being built in the High Street between the White Hart and County Hall (now the Law Courts) attended by large crowds. Fireballs and squibs were thrown and an increasing number of blazing tar barrels being dragged through the streets. The magistrates, supported by local people sworn in as special constables, attempted to curtail the more unruly elements and in 1847, following an attack on a local magistrate the previous year, London police were drafted into Lewes in an attempt to suppress the bonfire boys’ activities.
Such was the support for the celebrations in the town that this attempt failed, but the bonfire boys were compelled to hold their celebrations in Wallands Park, away from the High Street, until 1850. In that year the reintroduction of the Catholic hierarchy into Britain led the town authorities to permit the celebrations to return to the High Street. However this return to the streets of Lewes was marked by a significant change in the celebration’s character and heralded the formation of the Cliffe Bonfire Society. Recognising that riotous proceedings would no longer be tolerated the bonfire boys formed themselves into Bonfire Societies and set about organising military style torchlight processions efficiently marshalled by members resplendent in various titles including Commander-in-Chief, Staff Officer and Inspector General.’
As you can see from the photos, people go absolutely mad for this one night of the year and its such a great atmosphere, I have only witnessed the last couple of years but I have been told by locals it has really calmed down a lot with the health and safety standards coming in, it used to be rife with bangers in the streets and fires getting out of hand!
The amount of effort that goes into making these effigies is unbelievable and so impressive. The societies are working all year round to put on this show and you can see that by the detail that goes into them all!!
I have over the last 5 years been venturing to and fourth to this area of London to participate in this way of making art and feeling part of something alot bigger than myself, something with meaning and making a difference. Over this time I have been inspired to make art with people through workshops and within the community.
There has always been an awesome project which has needed volunteers to get involved with.
I was fortunate to contribute to some of the creating and touring about of this amazing art car made to raise awareness of political prisoner Kenny Zulu Whitmore. I went to Standon Calling Festival and Shambala Festival last year where we made people aware of the kickstarter campaign created by ‘Wonnish‘ which was to help fund and fuel the completion of this awesome art car. We gave out flyers and much needed information about Zulu.
Carrie Reichardt’s connection to Black Panthers goes a way back. More than fifteen years ago she started writing to people on death rows and political prisoners and many of her correspondences turned into some long-lasting friendships. In her work, she does homage to her friends, commemorating their existence or bringing attention to their mistreatment as a result of their political beliefs. Zulu Shade Never Fades, a tag line for the Liberation Taxi, is her way of telling the world how unjust and cruel the justice system can be. Kenny ‘Zulu’ Whitmore is cruelly punished for the crime he was innocent of, in the process of prejudiced investigation and prosecutorial misconduct, as his lawyers report. Whitmore is charged with murder in 1973, and sentenced to lifetime imprisonment which turned out to be a lifetime in a closed cell because of his membership in the former Black Panther Party.’
Artist ‘Wonnish ‘ member of The Treatment Rooms Collective lead the project at Standon Calling Festival 2015. There was a wooden building built which was going to be The School of Revolution. Here would be a serious of political art workshops giving knowledge to those who wished to seek it about dead revolutionaries and previous revolutions. The mosaic Zulu Vodoo car was also parked up and was very popular for photos and a point of conversation.
Some photos from the mosaic workshops where tomb stones were decorated and placed over in the church yard area of the festival.
Artist ‘Weardoe‘ was in charge of organising graffiti artist to decorate the church yard area of the festival, which ended up looking dope!!
The car toured Shambala and also Boomtown as well as Glatonbury and many other locations including exhibitions and events.
The team all worked incredibly hard to deliver this project and cause and they continue to do so!
Albert Woodfox member of the Angola 3 and Black Panther Party was released this year 2016 in February which was celebrated hugely by many activist working to raise awareness of this injustice served.
“The one thing that used to anger and frustrate me in prison was that I felt I had no voice. So I’m dedicating the rest of my life to being a voice for those still in the hell of solitary confinement – I feel such a great responsibility for them.”
He stays in touch with Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore, who was recently returned to a dormitory block in Angola having spent more than 30 years in solitary. Woodfox also spends a lot of time on the outside with Robert King, another member of the Angola Three, who was freed in 2001. – Taken from article from the guardian, see link below:
The Skatehouse was in need of a bit of a revamp!! We wanted to throw an event to celebrate the most recent part of the park which now made the skatepark complete!
With the handy work of a small team of volunteers – Jordi, Jay, James and Albert and a few other parents here and there chipped in to! The new wooded ramp area was looking pretty dope!! The Skatehouse had found itself some flow after 3 years of building and all the park is connected.
James Whitehorn used his graphic design skills to get us hooked up with a new look, we think our new logo is spot on and shows quite clearly what were about (skateboarding in the house).
It was time to hold an event to celebrate. Thanks to Lewes Town Council for giving us some funding a skate jam was organised with lots of prizes and giveaways for the skateboarding competitions. We had an array of judges from The Level skate shop, Live and Breath skateboarding and our own in house skatehouse judges too.
I held a mosaic skatebaord workshop outside with friends Sian ‘Wonnish’ and Phili ‘Weardo’.
Weardo was spray painting a mural on our double doors and boy was we in for a treat with what she done!!
All in all it was a pretty special day with a good turn out and a good vibe!!
Our next event will sadly be our last on the Phoenix Estate this July 23rd. I’ll be posting more about our ‘save the skatehouse’ campaign and our developments on moving on but we are hopeful for the future and to be able to continue to keep serving the wheeled sports community.