When they arrived at Boundary Way for the first time, our artists were given a tour of the allotment and community garden by plot holder Howard Berry. It was clear from this moment that artist Clare Wassermann understood the energy of nature and even as we trudged through the rain she could see the magic of Boundary Way. Through funding from the Arts Council, our artists have been able to run workshops, attend events and take time to discover the essence our beautiful site. This has resulted in some stunning artwork, including some from Clare, which was displayed at our ‘Sense of Place’ exhibition. Today we are going to delve deeper into Clare’s work at Boundary Way and share more information about her amazing workshops and artwork with you.
During her time with us at the allotment Clare has run several, different creative workshops and through these has provided the project team, and her fellow artists, with inspiration and new ideas. Her hugely successful 21 Steps workshop was a chance for us all to explore the site in a way that we had never explored it before, using art and travel to give us a better understanding of our beautiful allotment. For the workshop, Clare gave everyone a previously prepared, empty concertina sketchbook and instructed us to choose a number of steps to take. We then took our sketchbooks and our art materials and began our journeys around the garden, taking a certain number of steps and then stopping to draw whatever these steps led us to. Everyone was amazed by the fresh ideas that this workshop bought to them, forcing them to create art from subjects they would normally overlook and the finished sketchbooks seemingly represented every aspect of Boundary Way bound together by a sense of place. We exhibited them in Moya Lloyd’s shed during our ‘Sense of Place’ exhibition and they were a huge hit with the public.
Clare has also run workshops in collaboration with another of our artists, the Brazilian storyteller Ana Lines. During their collaborative workshop Ana told a beautiful story to the group in the storytelling area and Clare then used this story to inspire her art activity, which involved us painting aspects of Boundary Way onto stones. These stones were then placed around the Community Garden, bringing our art into the nature that it was inspired by. Visitors on our most recent open day were then encouraged to look for the stones and work out their meanings. Collaboration is central to our ethos at Boundary Way and to see all of our artists working so closely together is something really special.
Beside running workshops Clare also spent a lot of time at the allotment getting a feel for what we are all about and discovering the landscape around us through sketching. The time that Clare spent with us during the summer allowed her to brilliantly portray Boundary Way in her series of three acrylic paintings, each including local wildlife and landmarks from the allotments – such as the bright blue Camera Obscura Shed. Clare’s vibrant paintings were inspired by the energy of the allotment and came from her fascination with the location of Boundary Way, with it being on the borders of Staffordshire, Shropshire and the West Midlands. These are all huge counties and this was reflected in the depth of Clare’s paintings; alongside the inclusion of The Wrekin, which can be seen from the community garden.
Alongside fellow artist Hannah Boyd, Clare has a beautiful studio in Wolverhampton’s Newhampton Arts Centre. From here she paints in oil & acrylic and creates textile art, as well as creating illustrations for books and magazines – it really is a hive of activity. As well as running workshops at Boundary Way Clare also runs collaborative workshops with other artists in a variety of media, as well as running her own workshops and sketchbook club, all from her local studio. For more information visit clarewassermannart.com
We have loved working with Clare and hope to continue to collaborate with her on more workshops and artwork in the future, as well as looking into the art of mindfulness. As previously mentioned all of our work with amazing artists like Clare has been funded through Arts Council Grants for the Arts to support research and development work to establish Boundary Way as a venue for community arts activity.