This Civic Pride community project has three strands, to beautify Fishponds Road area, bring the community together and tackle waste issues. It was originally proposed to do a mural for Fishponds Road, but after talking to the community members, it was clear that one piece of art would exclude different parts of the community. We considered to do a few smaller pieces for walls going up Fishponds Road, but this in itself was problematic in getting permissions from property owners. We liked the idea of a series of art pieces going up Fishponds Road and as we were pondering this, Hannah, a local resident, looked out the window at the New Place and noticed the open space around the lamppost on the opposite side of the road.
As she mentioned this, the lamppost banners on Gloucester Road with Room 212 and the Flagged Up 2015 Green Capital Commission in Horfield created by Deborah Weinreb +D came to mind. I contacted Debs and got lots of useful information from her, including the company she used to install the banners and other necessary steps to make such an art piece happen.
The question was what technique to use to create the banners, allowing for as many people of all ages and capabilities to participate and create a coherent visual narrative. Being bright and colourful to make an impact high up on the lampposts. I had recently got print inks and rollers from the M32 Flea Market and have been thinking of getting back into printmaking, which I haven't done since my student days. Around this time, I got introduced to the local community printmaking studio on Mivart Street, Cato Press through another artist, Jude Hutchen.
Cato Press was set up by local artists Meg Buick and Rosanna Morris with a vision of bringing printmaking to the community. They help communities to make their own prints during their community evenings, and lead many different workshops and classes in their studio. They were interested to start working with a community outside of their studio, so we started to brainstorm how we could work together.
Its a social process, people can do the carving together in a group around chats and teas.
All abilities can get involved, children, older people and skilled craftspeople.
It involves drawing - a basic skill all children are amazing at and adults have forgotten!
The colours are bold and bright and we can make copies of the work and resize and alter them for different applications.
We can work with the community in ways which suited different groups and abilities, while not compromising the aesthetic of the artworks.
We commissioned Cato Press to support the project in May and after contacting numerous groups and organisations in Eastville, decided to work with 4 groups as the first phase of the project, considering the funding available - The Brownies and Guides, Glenfrome Primary School, May Park Primary School, and a resident individuals Art Club.