Barton Library Creative Hub

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At Barton Library, Joanna has worked collaboratively with local crafters, library visitors, family groups, library & community volunteers and the wider community through pop up events to form a hub of experimental activity where people of all levels of experience and ability had the opportunity to take part, develop creative skills and try new techniques. The hub have gone on to produce a wonderful array of clay work inspired by themes of kindness and giving; giving time to others and sharing uplifting messages & positive affirmations.

Led by Joanna, the group have developed a series of objects to be shared with individuals and groups in the community who may be at risk of loneliness and isolation and contributed to a tiled centre piece to welcome visitors back to the library and provide a dedicated space for reading and reflection.

This was my first freelance project following the lockdown and my maternity leave, which is why I put so much of my heart into it. As a Ceramic Artist I have a strong passion for work that connects arts and the community and that represent stories and emotions. For this project, we all shared similar stories of empowering kindness experienced in the last 18 months and the idea of a new ‘normal’ where we notice and are grateful for small things, get to know our neighbours, support local businesses and prioritise our families.
We talked a lot about nature and how lucky we were during lockdown to have beautiful countryside and woodlands on our doorstep.

The Barton community is very engaged in helping others and sharing acts of kindness. The process of making gave us a good understanding of what is possible and helped us decide on which techniques to use for our final community piece.

Everyone involved with the project worked together towards the final work; a tiled table for community use in a dedicated reading space and ceramic flowers made as gifts to share with others. We chose the colour yellow as a symbol of all the daffodils that emerged and made us smile at the end of lockdown during Spring.

Joanna Dawidowska

Resources

As part of the project, Joanna has developed a toolbox for the library with a variety of mark making tools, including household objects and natural found objects that can easily be recreated at home or in your own setting. The activity sheets below provide a simple guide to have a go with some basic forming and mark making techniques using clay or home-made salt dough.

Feedback

We asked participants, ‘What have you enjoyed most about this project and what difference has it made?’

`Meeting other people and learning. Friendship’

`Being able to do something different and creative as a family’

Having a go at something completely different and the company of the people in the group’

`Chatting and being able to sit down and focus on something creative’

`I have enjoyed being part of the project, meeting new people and trying a new activity’

`Created a feeling of wellbeing’

`I am new to this area and knew very few people. I have now made some new friends and I am more aware of what is going on within our community’

`I’m more likely to try other activities as a family and try some craft projects at home’

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