November was another exceptionally busy and productive month for CAER Studio with a number of fresh creative workshops for local young people and our fantastic Christmas Market Stall in central Cardiff – read on to find out more!
Illustration workshops with Mark Alexander and Nicola Parsons
November got off to a great start with a series of fantastic illustration workshops with illustrator Mark Alexander and CAER Studio artist Nicola Parsons. Mark and Nicola worked with Coed Y Goff Primary school and a separate group of young people facing mental health challenges.
During these workshops our young artists made drawings based on iconic Iron Age imagery and designed a lively ‘Iron Age Alphabet’ – further developing a theme that we originally trialled at the Hidden Hillfort Ideas Jam at Cardiff West Community High School (see July Review).
In mid-November CAER Studio artists Becci Booker and Imogen Higgins led this great little ‘messy-play’ workshop with Year 3 pupils from Coed Y Goff primary school. Using cob – a natural building material made from a mixture of clay, earth and straw – the young artists modelled engaging little sculptures based on our iconic ’roundhouse’ theme. The huts even had a realistic topping of straw!
We were very lucky to have beautiful bluebird skies on the day of the workshop, which allowed Becci to take this fantastic picture of the children’s roundhouses.
The CAER Studio Christmas Market Stall
On 20th November the CAER Studio Christmas Market Stall opened to the public. On sale was our full range of CAER Studio products – brainstormed, designed and developed over the course of the year. This included our artists commissions: charming soft axes by Becci Booker, powerful ceramic pieces by Imogen Higgins and Dylan Sutton and the beautiful ‘Iron Age Weave’ by Nicola Parsons.
Also on sale were a fantastic selection of lino-cut prints created by local people during our workshop with guest artist John Abell, ‘Iron Age’ finger puppets, terracotta ‘Roundhouses for Bees and Bugs’ by Dylan Sutton, and some charming little ‘Roundhouse Tea Lights’.
Along with CAER Studio artists the stall was manned by ACE staff, Cardiff University historians and community/university volunteers who gave out FREE copies of our special publication CAER Times – and engaged visitors in lively discussions about the amazingly rich archaeological and historical heritage of Caerau and Ely.
The stall was open for 5 days and during that time we had an astonishing response – over 230 people visited and we sold over £130 worth of stock!
Many thanks to our Cardiff University volunteers Stella and Kaitlin, community volunteers Helen, Frankie and Chantelle and ACE staff Caroline, Stacie and Dave for manning the stall and helping to make this such a huge success.
Mosaics Workshops at Cardiff West Community High School
We finished November on a very colourful note with a series of 6 mosaics workshops at Cardiff West Community High School.
Working with mosaic artist Andrew Heath and CAER Studio artists Becci Booker and Imogen Higgins, pupils from Hywel Dda, Trelai, Pencaerau and Millbank primary schools – along with two groups of young people from Cardiff West Community High school – created individual pieces informed by their understanding of heritage. Some of the young people decided to use the examples of Iron Age art that they were provided with as inspiration, some chose to draw on personal memories and references including family heirlooms and figures from the past.
The workshops resulted in 60 individual small mosaics that will be installed in the new build school at the site of Glyn Derw High School, Ely in February 2019. This visually stunning installation will represent not only the 60 young artists who took part (many of whom will be heading to the new school when it opens) but the community as a whole and the exemplary partnership working that has led to the creation of this extraordinary building.
We hope that the installation will serve as a constant reminder to pupils and staff of the outstanding heritage of Caerau and Ely – a vibrant, living legacy that will be present in the mind each and every day.