Painting, pottery and pom-pom workshops. The Nunhead Art Trail this weekend is giving independent businesses a chance to thrive – and with over 90 artists participating, it’s more ambitious than ever.
Now in its seventh year, the event gives local artists in Nunhead and surrounding areas an opportunity to display and sell their work from their homes and studios.
From students to established artists, everyone involved can promote their work for free, which is crucial for small businesses when hired spaces can have high costs.
Founder, Caroline Wright, highlighted the importance of “keeping costs low”. With the help of funds from Southwark Council and the Mayor of London, the Trail was able to produce brochures and generate publicity in its first two years, but they haven’t reapplied for funding since.
Mrs Wright said: “The idea was that we’d try to become self-funding, but this depends on volunteers. Volunteers can only go so far though, and each year gets a little more difficult because of everyone’s other commitments.”
However, the last three years have seen new artists account for around 30 per cent of the programme, a testament to the Trail’s success. Conceptual artist Laura Hepworth is one of this year’s new faces, after another participant invited her to exhibit in their home.
“I wanted to try the open house style… as opposed to the white wall gallery” she said. “It can be worrying for artists to bring people into their homes but it’s been a real privilege... It’s a great process for increasing sales opportunities in a much more human setting.”
But it’s not just artists who benefit. Ella Fleetwood, founder of ella&co., is a dance teacher and choreographer who performed on Saturday at the Nunhead Cemetery in collaboration with women from the Lewisham Refugees and Migrant Network who are victims of gender-based violence.
The performance “explored community and people coming together,” Ms Fleetwood said. “It’s given me a platform to show my work in a different context and to different people. The project works with people who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to perform and gives them a really positive experience.”
Written by Robyn Schaffer
MA Journalism Student
Amy Ogilvie, Curator: Consider points like how you feel about your work once it's been remade. Does it still have the same value to you? In relation to the process of replication prices of your work and how you feel about me as a curator taking power over the material aspect of your printed off work I've used.
Laura Hepworth, Conceptual Artist: Replication of works relates to the concept of there being a live consciousness. Making each replicate somewhat evolved accordingly to the mood/actions of the artist within that present moment. So the process of making for me, is very much about the activity of a live consciousness and how it evolves through the duration of making.
The way I see it, the more a work is regenerated the more evidence there is to suggest the beginning of a network is being made. The original becomes divided into its future selves. Making a networking of consciousness governed by evolution itself.
Constructing a live consciousness, then witnessing that matter later evolve into a varied network of the same consciousness (group). So putting that all into an artistic context. Although an original artwork remains as the first entity. It's replications explore the growth which occurs in the present (the now), and it's resolved state completely relies on the manner in which the original set of actions of making are applied.
Amy Ogilvie, Curator: What do you mean by a 'live consciousness'?
Laura Hepworth, Conceptual Artist: Throughout the development of a work, most specifically when discussing the formation of my installations and geometric drawings. It is almost as if the work takes on a behaviour of it's own. Which creates challenges within the boundaries of the subconscious and other physical restraints, relating to the resistance of the human body.
Looking at the behaviour and nature of the work, in both 2D & 3D, two specifics spring to mind. E.g. 'Undetected' (2015) large web installation, black cotton thread & double sided tape. At End of Degree Show, Canterbury UCA. And the 'Formation Series (2014-15)'.
The installation's nature was determined solely through the fragility of the medium used. Creating a tremor throughout the scale of the work and forming collapse in the weaker areas of the web. The same thing occurs within the 'Formation Series (2014=15)', endless lines are joined however, when points become limited, the evolving nature of the piece relies on the artist's ability to adapt
Again, this is a great way to experience the evolution in the replicating of a piece. With the knowledge that each piece is not exactly the same, however determined by the original actions used to make the original. To put that into a cosmological perspective, imagine looking up at thousands of stars and planets and being able to see that each individual is filled with it's own network of atoms and matter. Making each unique by it's own aesthetic.
Amy Ogilvie, Curator: When you get the children in the workshops to make similar structures to one's featured in your previous project. What does that mean and do for your work?
Laura Hepworth, Conceptual Artist: The main thing I always look out for during my workshops, are the children who are able to and willing to adapt to challenging tasks. E.g. Putting the wooden structures together with the typical material used to put each component together, like plastacine & tape. A great example of this, occurred during my most recent workshops during a residency at John Donne Primary School (April-July 2016). The usual grouping of the class was divided into pairs, however I recall one group (two girls, year 2) decided to work beyond the brief, to make a much larger structure. As well as this, extending the numbers of their group to two more pupils (two boys, year 2), in order for them to work and focus on one individual section each, making the process of development a much more stable one.
In result of their actions, the outcome of their web structure developed a stronger and somewhat refined significance to the original idea that influenced my curiosity to transform the web instalments into an activity or any other interactive means. So to answer your question, as previously mentioned. I look for a response with the children I've taught that identifies them as divergent practitioners. Making them more likely to adapt to challenges typically faced within the tasks I provide, and witnessing them look at things willingly from an 'out of the box' perspective. What's most interesting about that is the effect that type of thinking has on the work. Witnessing the changes that are held in place on replicate of the original idea at first hand, and watching it develop it's own frame of live consciousness, which reflects the exact nature of the creator's method of making.