Monday, 30 April 2012

friendship arts group

Its been over a month since I’d visited the shop, I arrived loaded with art materials, art and baking and was welcomed in. Lots of news: the community group has got the use of a mini bus for four months (they just have to pay petrol) so plans are afoot for a trip to the Hepworth, I suggested the first birthday celebration weekend on saturday 19th and sunday 20th May as a great time to visit. A major sort out, declutter and general making the space more user friendly is afoot - Mary pointed out all the furniture that would be going and how the space will be rejigged. Great! Lots of energy and hopes for the future. The bright sunny day after weeks of rain added to the spring feelings, we even had the door open and this helped us feel closer to comings and goings of Pinewood Place.
We got out acrylic paints and paper and let our imaginations flow, a few new faces came in and said ‘but I’m no good at art’, we ignored this and handed over paint and brushes and said ‘have a play, doesn’t matter what comes out...' Oftentimes it is the beginning that is the challanging bit - and the shop is a safe place to ‘try’.
I’ve kept busy in my studio taking great pleasure in working out patterns to knit letters (who said I wasn't good at maths?). In bright wool I've spelt out the word 'friendship' as a reminder of our time together, the focus of our project and the everyday materials we had used. This framed work will be hung in the shop as part of its makeover and be a lasting reminder of the beginnings of the Friendship Arts Group.
After a hug goodbye Mary’s last words were ‘Thanks for everything’. Looking back I find it hard to take in all we have achieved since our first taster session in December 2011. This blog is a lasting record of our journey and I for one will enjoy reminiscing over it in times to come.

With all best wishes for your creative endeavours, Karen and the Friendship Arts Group, over and out x

let them eat cake

Our Sites in Sight event at the Art House was a great success. Meeting new faces and sharing our project with the great and good of Wakefield made for an interesting evening of connection and reminisce. With this event I was very keen to try to recreate the atmosphere of the shop, rather than to exhibit work made by the group - I wanted to share the space with 'participants', rather than 'viewers'.
The room was laid out simply, with a row of cakes by the door - a cake for each week of our project in January, so visitors could, quite literally taste each session. The cakes were labeled week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4 and week 5. On the wall behind the cakes was a statement/question which read: Jackie Kay speaks of baking as ‘cementing communities’. Do you have a particular memory of friendship and food? Please share with us... In return for cake the participant shared a food related story and added it in pen to our wall. As the evening progressed these memories multiplied and opened up a world of intriguing stories as we savoured sweat tastes on out tongues.
A table was set up for participants to try their hand at french knitting and pom pom making, again memories being stirred by these familiar (for some) childhood activities. All ages got involved and the cakes were appreciated by the Artwalk crowd. Mary from Knottingley arrived resplendent in turquoise (it was a lovely sunny evening) and spent a few hours with us, talking about the project to interested parties.
I discovered a joy in hosting during the evening, and a seed is growing in my mind around how I can do this some more... creating a space in which ‘something’ happens is daunting and exciting. During the evening a person came in and asked, ‘Where is the art?’ An interesting question. Is the art in eating a slice of cake? Is the art in reconnecting with a childhood memory?’ Is the art in talking to a stranger about your Grandmother buying half a pig and using every last scrap? I think so.

Karen x

friendship and food

Below are thoughts about friendship and food shared by participants in our Sights in Sight Residency celebration at the Art House during the March Artwalk. The deal was a slice of cake for a memory - and these are the memories shared by this particular crowd on this particular evening. Exclamation marks all participants own!

Caravan and bourbons with the boys : )
Once I tasted Jo’s cake I knew she was the one!
Licking cake mix bowl.
Friends are like food, warm and comforting.
When I spend time with friends it always involves food!!
‘My life is food’
My grandma’s meals on saturdays when I used to visit: I’d be wet through after the long walk from the bus stop.
Friends that eat together remember those occasions for ever.
My mum’s spotted dick and custard and Manchester tart.
Christmas dinner cooked by my lovely wife and shared with my daughter, her husband and gorgeous grandsons.
I love Cake! And all food. My friend likes Cheese!
Cakefield! : )
Childhood memory, licking the basin with the xmas cake mix.
Sharing food is a sign of Trust!
Nana’s fruit tarts - sunday pudding - one for each of her children’s families.
Friendship and food are what make life worth living. My friends and I meet once a week at each others houses to make food, chat and create memories every week!
Nana’s ground rice tarts!
I remember making flapjack with my best friend Zoe. It was YUMMY!
I remember baking a cake with my friend SKY!
I’d not been living in our new house for long and didn’t know anyone. Then my neighbor came round and taught me to cook spinach and potato curry with spinach from my garden - I didn’t know what it was until she showed me!
Food is fun and healthy (kind of) and so is friendship.
Baking with my Grandma - Parkin, a real treat!
Food. The way to a mans everyones heart
My friends come round to our house for BBQ’s cos we have a massive garden, but all they do is complain.
Memories of my childhood - ‘afternoon tea’ always with delicious cake!
Cake and coming together for a chat - always a good thing : )
Enjoying handmade peanut biscuits with my friend Sue!
Food brings families together ♥
Bring and share christmas dinner - favorite memory of childhood.
My grandma used to buy half a pig and use every last bit. Pork pies were lovely!
Eternity feeling when enjoying such lovely cakes!
Stealing other peoples pudding always tastes better - if they’re a real friend they share!
Sunday evenings cooking Toad in the Hole with my former flat mate in London trying to teach him how the Yorkshire folk make their pudding rise!
Make cake - not war.
Julie B’s Date & Walnut!!!!!!!
I made a cake at cookery club. The cake was yum yum.
My two best friends and I are united by cake! When we’re all together (which isn’t often because we live in different cities) Nicky will make flapjacks, I might make cinnamon buns & Bea will make the most gorgeous little cupcakes - pink glitter a must.
I always find cooking a very spiritual experience. Providing food for people.
Making a Jack Skelington cake for my best friend and a wresting cake for the man I love.
Baking cakes for my friends birthdays, when I remember.
Tea, cake and good friends = perfect day!
Cooked for 60 for my brothers birthday cos I was skint & couldn’t get him a proper pressie.
Today was my last day at Bradford College. One of my fellow students baked ‘Tiffin’ and brought it in for us all to share. Lovely!!
Stolen birthday cake toppings.
Baking my 16th birthday cake with my Grandma x Alice in Wonderland Style.
Learning how to make my first proper curry in Bangalore. I was taught by a young girl who didn’t speak any english. It was really special & I always try to make it the same way. Takes me back every time!

Karen x

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

mary's scones

Mary baked these for me as a post birthday treat in February... they were lovely, enjoyed by all in the shop. Today Mary handed me a piece of paper with a hand written recipe on and asked me to share it on the blog. 

Mary's Scones

16 oz. self raising flour
1 teaspoon of salt
3 oz. margarine
2 oz. sugar
4 tablespoons of fruit
2 eggs
half a pint of milk

Cook at gas mark 7 for 10 minutes

Oh, and as a bonus there is a cake recipe at the bottom of the page... intriguing!

6 oz. self raising flour
6 oz. margarine
6 oz. sugar
3 eggs
half a teaspoon of baking powder
3 tablespoons of water

Cook at gas mark 3 for 30-35 minutes

Thank you Mary. 

the great wakey bake off

It was hotter than July in The Art House kitchen today! Myself, Mary, Clare and Elinor blended ingredients, playing with the amazing alchemy that is baking. Clare was engulfed with icing sugar at one point, she emerged through the dust cloud and continued with the task at hand. The Art House oven can only be describe as 'fierce' we mastered it by bake 3!

Tomorrow we will stage an event at The Art House, inviting participants to taste our project and in return share with us some personal reflection on friendship. These reflections will be left in the space, building up as the evening progresses. I'm intrigued to see what comes up tomorrow, how it will feel to be in a room where friendship is our focus and the saying, Strangers are friends you have yet to meet is floating around in my mind.

Sites in Sight Menu
Session 1: sultana and orange tray bake
Session 2: clare's chocolate cake
Session 3: coffee and walnut cake
Session 4: victoria sponge
Session 5: flapjacks

 Mary cooking Clare's favourite - chocolate cake

Elinor creating flapjack magic

Karen and the Friendships Arts Group x

sunny monday

Today was a quiet day in the shop, prior engagements were order of the day! Clare and Becky experimented with layering rubbings from our collaged boards, Clare especially loved the technique. Later on Leah came in and got to work on creating a bright and vibrant poster for our event at The Art House for The Wakefield Artwalk this wednesday.

 Becky making a rubbing from a collaged board from last weeks session

 Clare working on her design for a poster, with her cards to label our cakes on the table

Leah's cheerful poster design

Karen and the Friendship Arts Group x