As a Project Assistant with True Colours, I had the opportunity to lead a creative workshop with our LGBTQ+ participants. We held our workshop in the Rainbow Tearooms, Chester’s community café.
We decided to set up the tables as one large workspace so everyone could sit in a big group, and we started the session by introducing a quick drawing activity to help us all settle in and relax. In pairs we drew each other without looking at the drawing. It was a very funny moment to spend with our partner and I felt it really helped me to relax.
I was nervous as it was my first time leading a workshop and I had planned on doing a demonstration on the techniques I had used in making my own works but in that moment, it felt better for people to have more time to spend playing and experimenting with the materials themselves. So, I encouraged everyone to grab some paper, brusho and a spray bottle and to start making marks.
Given the mediums we were using everyone began to take their work in their own directions and were led by their choices of colours and what they used to apply their colours with. From talking to participants, I found that they were enjoying the aspects of play and working with colour combinations and different kinds of shapes and textures. Some participants started using more paper to make prints of their work which was interesting to see. It was great to see people taking the materials in directions I hadn’t before. The group were becoming more free and embracing the spontaneity of using ink and brusho.
From talking to the participants, I found out that the workshop was helping them to be playful and explorative.
Some of the comments from participants during the workshop:
“I let my mind wander and had fun playing with the colours.”
“It helped me to get out what was going on in my brain.”
“This is going to be one of a kind, you won't be able to recreate this.”
Once everyone had settled in and found their own ways of using the materials it felt like the time was flying by and everyone was having fun playing. I provided artists as examples to use as inspiration if needed but everyone had their own visions for their work which was great to see, and they really responded to the mediums. We had planned to start thinking about the collage part of the workshop in this session but as everyone was so engaged in playing with the materials, we didn’t want to stop the flow. We ended on a real buzz and some members of the group discussed where they would like to go next with the work they were making, discussing ideas of materials and imagery they wanted to include in the work.
In the second session of the workshop, we began by briefly discussing my approaches to working with the materials and how I begin to gather ideas for work. Showing examples and a short visual on using my ink marks for collaging. After this everyone dived into collecting imagery and text from magazines. The group had a lovely calm and chatty atmosphere as we were all discussing what we had collected from magazines and where our ideas were going. It was great to see people responding to the imagery and formulating and experimenting with compositions. Everyone's work was so unique and exciting.
One participant told me:
“I was having a really hard day, and this has given me something to look forward to... It has given me a real sense of purpose.”
The session flew by, and everyone was really engaged until the end. I could see the confidence and excitement they had with their work as some members were very forthcoming with talking about their artworks to me which was great. Some also took them home to continue the project. Overall, I think it went really and the group were really able to use the materials and processes to express themselves and their ideas and make excellent work whilst also having a space to relax and chat without any pressure.
Our True Colours workshops continue in Chester, if you would like to join please book your space on our eventbrite page or you can scan the QR code below.