Working on Exhibition - adding detail and colour.

[28 January 2017]
One week later the Thursday group are back at Butterflies HQ in the centre of the city to continue preparation for the exhibition. It never ceases to amaze, the amount of enthusiasm and dedication, to all the various projects and challenges, shown by the group. Picking up from last week everyone is at various different stages: some are part way through drawing an image others are adding detail or colour. Some participants are starting on a second piece.

The new bit of kit put in front of the group today is ink and rollers for making printed images on to fabric. Using a sticky backed card various shapes are cut out to create a raised template for the ink to be rolled on to.

Needless to say when working with ink one has to take a little care: it’s not long before one of the staff has managed to get black smudges all over her face. It raises a laugh and smile and thankfully some wipes are found so nobody else gets the ink everywhere.

One member is creating a collage work with a textile theme, irregular shapes similar to those found in dressmaking patterns are cut out, also tiny scissors and iron shape are all fixed in place to create the template. Then the ink is rolled on and the fabric placed on top and then a dry roller presses the fabric and the template together to create the image. The effect is quite dramatic. Soon there are experiments going on with different coloured backgrounds to create more context. Frances’ relaxed approach to the work helps everyone feel at it ease and also encourages them to continue with their various exhibition pieces.

Some group members have been working on pieces at home; the Corporation Bus photographs – as mentioned in the previous post – now have a backdrop of brightly coloured sign-writing equipment. The photographs are to be superimposed on the hand drawn images. Continuation of the artwork at individual homes helps to maintain interest and engagement, alleviating potential periods of inactivity, which are detrimental to those fighting memory loss problems.

There is yet more evidence of the benefits of building in continuation of projects with a butterflies member proudly showing a poem she’d written infused with pride for the city. She sets about creating templates to illustrate the piece using the printing technique.

Iris who is working on her likeness of Lil Billocca the campaigner, who doubtless helped to save countless lives, is very much engaged with the subject matter. Over a lengthy conversation Iris recalls taking part in a community production that told the tale of the Trawler men and women, called City Play with Remould Theatre Company. She recalls playing a character called Mrs Flood; her husband was also in the show along with other members of her family. She lists them one by one.

It turns out that Frances was in the same play, staged in Hull 20 years ago or more. Iris talks more about living within the Hessle Road community and the subsequent house moves; how she went to school on her bike; how she had to avoid the trams going both ways across the Boulevard. She is reminiscing and remembering tiny details with relish. This kind of one to one interaction is so valuable. Often the cared for can be reluctant to initiate conversation for fear of forgetting things and losing track, but with gentle prompts and questions, all manner of stories and memories can be shared and enjoyed.

There are now over fifteen or twenty individual pieces for the exhibition. And it is clear how much the Butterflies group is looking forward to showing the public their work. The next stage will be making decisions, which the group will make together; on how best to display and present the different art works.

Butterflies are motivated and enthused once more: buzzing away talking to each other and the staff and the volunteers, all the while learning new skills and having fun.

Charity Website:

[Michelle Dee]

Stacks Image 43

Supported by Hull UK City of Culture 2017