Circling The Square
Outdoor Artschool is celebrating the changing season, in Winckley Square Gardens, Preston. October/November 2020
As the sunlight grows weaker, shadows lengthen and leaves turn to shades of gold and fall, we know winter is fast approaching. The clocks change, darkness extends and the days and nights turn cold. Now is a good time to look back over the past year, to reflect and plan new futures, as the circle of life continues to turn.
‘Squaring the circle’ is a familiar idiom often used to describe an impossible task. Flipping it to ‘circling the square’ feels more optimistic, as well as relevant to our Winckley location in these topsy-turvy times.
Outdoor Art School contributors are working with the circle to express themes of personal space, community and protection. Plus, on a more universal scale, the revolutions of the earth around the sun, the rhythms of the seasons, wholeness and the infinite, can all be expressed via the circle’s powerful symbolism.
Responding to surroundings through craft can open up ways of understanding life that are ancient and powerfully emotive: far older than medical science, statistical data or politics. By working directly with colours, forms and textures, we want to draw attention to nature’s wondrous paintbox, to sensations of mood and atmosphere, of shifting light and shade, as well as the grounding, soothing affect of being outdoors.
Through our circle making we aim to get closer to nature, to learn from it through crafting what it has made ready to hand. Then release it to time…
‘Circling the Square’ is a socially distanced, creative activity timed to celebrate Autumn, in Winckley Square Gardens, Preston, taking place between 19th October and 1st November 2020.
The project involves working as individual makers, using the circle as a collaborative theme, to create a series of creative outcomes – over time and space. We aim to document what we make as we go along, using video and photography and pull together a time based assemblage, later.
Our series of interventions will be dependent on the leaf fall/ twigs/seeds of the various trees; on sensing connections between the trees, the landscaping and the pattern of pathways, the presence of other people in the Square, and of course, the weather.
We will make circles on more than one day; nothing fixed, always changing. Hoping to be able to take action on days that are not too breezy, or too wet for effective making. So being attuned to the qualities of weather and the leaf fall, will be influential.
Opportunities will be different every time, and there will be lots for us all to learn and try out. We will each be free to respond, interpret the influences, and to make what feels right. Visitors to the Gardens and passers-by will be able to observe and enjoy what we make. Perhaps try themselves.
Please note: because of Covid19 and social distancing measures we have not advertised this event as we might have done in different circumstances. It is intentionally small, flexible, informal and low key. We see it as a pilot project, to open up new opportunities for arts and nature engagement in Preston’s parks and open spaces, in the future.
Recent photo of an area of leaf fall in Winckley Square, ripe for interaction.
One technique ( above) I’ve been experimenting with is ‘stitching’ leaves together with pine needles, to make starburst units that can then be joined as multiples.
‘Circling The Square’: Winckley Square Gardens, Preston. October 2020.
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