Art Forum Spring Project: Sew They Say

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Posted 6th May 2020

Art Forum Spring Project: Sew They Say

Rachel and Kirah, Watts Gallery Art Forum members

The Art Forum is a group of young people; we usually meet once a week to get together and work on various projects and tasks for and with Watts Gallery. We have been involved in various different projects and have cooperated with different organisations including arts trusts and charities.

Our most recent project is titled 'Sew They Say', where we worked in collaboration with Surrey Arts Wardrobe. They have been working with different groups of young people to create banners with messages young people feel are important. These vary in message, ranging from protecting our environment to promoting equality. This project has involved using recycled materials to create the banner, with textile techniques such as embroidery and applique.

We were intending on working on the project for 4 weeks to make our own banner, though this was cut short when the gallery closed. However, the 2 weeks we completed we really enjoyed.

We began week 1 by exploring different themes, discussing what was important to us as a group of young people, and what we wanted to communicate through this work. We quickly focussed on environmental issues and discussed aspects such as climate change, use of plastics, recycling and renewable energy advances. Our design needed to have a strong, positive message- we came up with the slogan “Change. Because it Matters.". During this time, we also started thumbnailing different design ideas and exploring colour choices. Unanimously, we liked muted greens for positivity and nature, bright reds for danger and as an eye-catching splash of colour, and pale blue as calming and peaceful. We also decided to feature 'terracotta' as a reference to Mary Watts' pottery.

During week 2 we focussed on the final design concept and main fabrics. We planned to have a portrait format, with the slogan largely across the top, with our design graphic slightly overlapping below. This consisted of a small sapling growing up out of a landfill with a wind turbine echoing its shape in the background. We wanted to push the theme of recycling, so planned for the background to be made of old jeans, and to use actual rubbish sewn on for the landfill. We also planned to use deconstructed cloths from 'Surrey Arts Wardrobe' in greens, blues and reds to create the rest of the image.

Though uncompleted, we hope to continue this in the future and share our final banner with you.