Think ‘quiet in the Library’ – think again! Stokesley Library has been reverberating to the sound of guitars, keyboards, drums and ukuleles for the past 4 weeks as Alex Cromarty has been working with a group of youngsters from Stokesley and a group of adults from local Yatton House, raising the roof and learning song-writing skills along the way.
We have had a brilliant time creating songs which Alex recorded for each member of the group. Themes ranged from ‘Hunger Games’ to love and loss, ‘what we like’, and the pleasure of simply making music. Alex was inspirational, creating lyrics and music that everyone could join in.
‘It’s better than the gym!’ one participant gasped after a drumming session.
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What do you get when you combine 2 amazing and dedicated artists, 4 year groups from a local school, a group of veterans from a local supported housing scheme, several members of a veterans’ art group, assorted members of the public, and a fantastic library space?
See below for the answers!
Irene Lofthouse, creative writer, and Sue Dewhurst, mixed media artist, worked together with everyone involved to create icons, stories, mini-books and matchboxes of intrigue all celebrating special people/pets in the lives of the participants, or the lives of the participants themselves.
The results and the process were pretty amazing. Some made the whole journey, from planning to creating and exhibiting, others joined in at different stages, some at the library, some on more familiar home ground. Irene and Sue responded to all these differing needs with patience, skill and humour. We all loved the buzz and colour that enhanced the library during the workshops and exhibition and look forward to the next stage of our Creative Residencies programme.
A number of camera owners keen to learn and improve their skills embarked on the Creative Photography workshops run by Jonathan Turner. During week one Jonathan sent us out into the local area with a long list of items to photograph. At first this seemed an impossible task; the area around our library is pleasant enough but a must go destination for photographers it is not. However, photographs were taken and the results were varied and often surprising. There was a snail crossing a road via a zebra crossing, a blackbird taking a bath, intricate patterns on manhole covers, people at work, reflections in puddles and a myriad of amazing shapes seen in the most mundane of objects.
Other sessions saw us in the beautiful Nidd Gorge where the photographic workshop almost became a nature walk and a history walk. Somehow we managed to accomplish all three and take some stunning shots.
On the subject of history, thanks to Bilton Historical Society, we were in possession of several old prints. The task was to try and find the exact spot where the original photographer had stood. It was easier said than done, but great fun. Afterwards, on the laptops in the library, Jonathan showed us how to edit, compare and present the photographs.
Jonathan is a keen portrait photographic and lost no time in sharing with us techniques to achieve good results. He sent us out into the local community to photograph as many people as we could persuade to pose for us. We photographed shopkeepers, dog walkers, each other and some willing models on the local allotment site where some of our group also learnt how to grow asparagus.
We all feel we have improved our skills and enjoyed the experience immensely. We are now looking forward to seeing the book Jonathan is compiling for us. To have gone on longer than the four weeks would have been great so we are now looking at the possibility of establishing a photography group at the library.