CAER Studio’s BIG July Review!

Lots of creative activity at the garden party at Our Place Dusty Forge. Photo © Vivian Paul Thomas

July was an exceptionally busy and productive month for CAER Studio.

On 10th of July Nicola and Dylan went on a mission to explore the idea of heritage with the CAER Puppet Clan and pupils from Cardiff West Community High School and Windsor Clive Primary. Then, on the 11th and 13th of July, Paul and Nicola led two creative/interpretive workshops at the Gospel Hall at the base of Caerau hillfort for young people facing challenges – along with a group of student ambassadors from Cardiff University Confident Futures Summer School.

After that, the CAER Studio team joined ACE, The CAER Heritage Project and Guerrilla Archaeology for a spectacularly sunny day of fun at The Ely Festival.

Last, but by no means least, on July 23rd CAER Studio artists Nicola and Dylan led an exciting series of art activities and events (including the Ely’s got Talent Art exhibition) for the Creative Garden Party at Our Place Dusty Forge.

Read more below …

Hidden Hillfort Ideas Jam, Cardiff West Community High School. Photo © Nicola Parsons

Hidden Hillfort Ideas Jam, Cardiff West Community High School

On 10th July CAER Studio artists Nicola and Dylan took members of the CAER Puppet Clan to meet a collective group of year 8 students from Cardiff West Community High School and year 5s from Windsor Clive Primary School as part of a CAER Heritage co-production event seeking shape ideas about how young people can better experience Caerau hillfort.

The CAER Studio team worked alongside the pupils, community volunteers, ACE Community development workers, a heritage professional from the National Museum of Wales and academics from Cardiff University and the University of South Wales in an exciting ideas jam to help shape plans for CAER Heritage’s Hidden Hillfort Heritage Lottery development phase.

The puppets proved immensely popular and successful in stimulating creative ideas, they also kept everyone well entertained while we got on with the series business of thinking about what the word ‘heritage’ means and decorating individual letters from this word to spell it out as a bold and colourful collective message.

Confident Futures Summer Schools at Caerau Hillfort

On the 11th and 13th of July CAER Studio artists Paul and Nicola joined Cardiff University academics and student volunteers, along with the CAER Heritage team and ACE to lead two groups of young people facing significant life challenges on an exploration of Caerau hillfort in partnership with the Confident Futures Project.

Both days involved an introduction to the site, and an explanation of its archaeological significance, followed by the opportunity to get up close and personal with some amazing artefacts from the past.

The young people then went on an exploratory journey around the monument, with instructions to ‘listen carefully’ to what the hillfort might tell them.

When they returned, they were asked to note down in words or pictures what the hillfort had ‘said’ to them about its past – or to give expression to their own thoughts about how the visit had affected them or how the experience might be improved for other visitors.

These thoughts and images were then added to a drawing of the ramparts to create the ‘talking hillfort’!

Visitors to our stall at the CAER Studio Roadshow, Ely Festival. Photo © Nicola Parsons

CAER Studio Roadshow at the Ely Festival

On 14th July CAER Studio joined with the ACE, CAER Heritage and Guerrilla Archaeology teams for a spectacularly sunny day at The Ely Festival.

Visitors to the festival got a chance to have themselves photographed in our Iron Age selfie booth with the CAER Puppet Clan. Younger visitors also enjoyed making their own puppets and colouring in designs in our ever popular Tribal Logo Colouring Book.

Meanwhile, we got a chance to trail a couple of products from our studio. Our terracotta pendants proved very popular and our roundhouses for bees and bugs attracted a lot of interest. Discussions with members of the community will help us to develop our product range further so many thanks to those who dropped by for a chat.

Special thanks to those who bought products from our stall – all proceeds have been passed on to ACE to help with their work in the community!

Terracotta pendant making at the creative garden party. Photo © Vivian Paul Thomas

The Creative Garden Party

On July 23rd CAER Studio artist Dylan teamed up with the ‘Creative Community Garden’ art group and ‘Grow Cardiff’ gardening group, to run a pop up workshop at Our Place Dusty Forge, creating terracotta pendants based on Iron Age designs. Open to the public, this proved to be an exciting, busy and fun workshop, where people created their own ceramic artworks, whilst also learning about CAER hillfort at the adjacent CAER Heritage Project stand.

We were lucky enough for the sun to be shining and we also invited the community to enjoy several other creative and gardening activities including glitter tattoos, planting, flying start teddy bears picnic, willow dragon-fly making, bug finding and art therapy with ‘The Retreat’! People also enjoyed a free BBQ and got a chance to browse through various CAER Studio products that were offered for sale.

Several fantastic pieces of art from the ‘Creative Community Garden’ art group and the local community were proudly displayed in the garden gallery and in the main hall. In addition to this CAER Studio exhibited 12 entries from Cardiff West Community High School for the CAER Studio Art prize that we launched back in May/June. Students brought family members and friends to come along to view their work on the day – and to add to the excitement we also offered visitors to the exhibition the chance to vote for their favourite piece as part of a community vote!

The work will continue to displayed in the main hall at ‘our Place’ at the Our Place Dusty Forge and the vote will remain open, so please pop in over the Summer and take a look at our fantastic range of ceramics and paintings!


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