A snap shot of the aftermath of the family studio with Drawing Room at F.A.T studio on Old Kent Road London in November 2022. A concrete mixer became an unlikely making tool to mix the pulp with, echoing the roadworks occuring outside the space and repositioning child as world builders and makers.
A 14-month-old child had a brilliant and perplexed non-verbal reaction towards the concrete mixer and her mum had mentioned that she’s currently figuring out what everything is in the world, with this been her familiar response to physical objects. It was powerful to see this child embrace this repetitive gesture of confusion through her hand pointing towards the mixer with the throwing of paper scraps into the mixer. Her physical gesture of communication parallel to the gesture of throwing paper into the mixer.
In contrast, the concrete mixer drew in the attention of all the ages of children and young people attending the session, along with the adults. A 13-year-old joined the session rather quietly and took an interest to the act of the paper pulping and blending, not so much an outcome or need to make something of his own. He opened up to a family on an exchange in which I asked if the paper pulp could be used by another young boy. The two warmed to one another through the recognised shape that young boy had sculpted for his paper-pulp form and the two shared the pulp to help him produce his artwork. It shifted the older boy from being on his own in the corner into a comfortable flow with the activity occurring around him, which was quite overwhelming and loud from all the making excitement. It was inspiring to see how this exchange between both young boys enabled the neurodivergent individual to become part of the wider group and work with another to make something together.
More giant pulp making on a Family Sunday Studio session with Drawing Room in July 2023. Paper pulp is a process that I eagerly return to and really push into different realms of thinking within each session I have delivered with Drawing Room. It felt really fitting to stretch the potential of the paper pulp process as a performative act which felt like an artist decision I would make in my studio. In this sense it’s great to have a collaborators to share this slight-silly gesture with and make it one of importance and poignancy that received response within the workshop space.
A pamphlet developed with Drawing Room and presented during a Teacher’s Assembly with the Gallery at Grange Hill Primary School in Bermonsdey. Locally situated teachers joined the workshop and were invited to create scrapbooks with the pulped pages made over the four months of my sessions at the school.
Collaborative pulping with pupils at Grange Primary.