Wednesday, 25 February 2009

How to recycle junk mail?

Friday afternoon was spent discussing the season Spring and its associated subjects- hope, birth, re-awaking… after creating a short group poem, we created some ‘artist books’ using recycled junk mail envelopes. These where illustrated with bluebells, using a simple printing technique. The resulting images are sometimes cheeky, sometimes touching mix of hand written and typed text, bluebell printing and envelope…

On a HM Revenue & Customs envelope, you can just make out the handwritten text ‘There is good and bad, there is good and bad…’ A letter from the Houses of Common, has been printed with bluebells… Self Assessment envelope with the hand written text ‘Do the best that you….”

Two of the group where German born Jewish women, they reminisced throughout the session, mixing memories of spring time bluebells (their German name ‘Glockenblume’) cut with moving stories of anti-Semitism. For so many people we work with here, even the most innocent conversations are interwoven with dark memories- they never can forget.

We where joined by Jean Lally, who was on her first session volunteering for us. She was a wonderful asset to the group, and said of the session “I liked the way that the lady next to me changed in mood over the session, from sadness to a delight in what was going on, and I found your feedback arresting, incorporating both moods in such a striking way.” I look forward to working with her again. Our volunteers, training schemes and student placements are invaluable, allowing us to go deeper into subject matters and artistic techniques by working one-to-one with participants who may otherwise miss out due to lack of hearing, shyness or other physical or mental obstacles.

Photo © Lois Blackburn, for more please visit our on-line portfolio at

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