We are looking for contacts, local community groups, interested individuals, routes into funding, places to exhibit, support, volunteers, publicity and people to network with in order to develop our projects.
Please contact us by emailing milesanddacombe@virginmedia.com.

Monday 27 July 2015

Forward Footing at the Flaming Skirt Festival, Ironville, Amber Valley

Artist and curator Sally Lemsford invited Miles and Dacombe to create a Forward Footing Walk as part of the Flaming Skirt Festival 2015, a contemporary arts festival in village halls and public spaces in the Amber Valley in Derbyshire. Participants experienced five mini contemporary art events in Ironville, Alfreton Community Hall, St Andrews Church Langley Mill plus on a double-decker bus travelling between. 

After Sally's now famous lucky dips, Shirley's Snack Shack and tickets, each member of our group was given a mini clipboard, paper and pencils. The group was guided out in a long creative crocodile from Ironville church hall to the boarded up former Doctors surgery, an intriguing building and a solid, inviting structure. Here Carole introduced the idea of looking for and recording all those things of beauty, interest or curiosity as we walk and people immediately took the opportunity to start drawing.

 Jo and Carole had designed the walk during a previous scoping day with Sally

and the second intervention centered around a public space surrounded by newer housing. There was a mysterious, now empty circle edged with brick, there were carefully sited stones, some with an inscription carved on them. At the far side, iron fencing with evidence of public art commemorating the railway. You could see it as an empty space of a space that was waiting to be filled.


Carole had raided her collection of vintage dolls house furniture which was divided up into bags donated by the lovely people at Mors bags and Jo brought large chalks to draw with. The two artists then invited people to divide themselves into smaller groups and to imagine that they were pioneering new town planners.

They drew out their re-imagined spaces

and set about creating a sculpture park

a wildlife haven

new houses

play spaces and nature habitats

mini wooden or stone Henges 

and outdoor learning environments.

One of our walkers came wearing wings
and had been a former Town Planner!

A puddle became a lake for floating houses

a wall was redrawn as a new whole street

The damp ground made the chalk drawings shine out and it was wonderful to see all ages huddled in small, intensely engaged groups. Each group used their props differently and the once empty community space was now full of small, inspired community groups. Everyone visited each others spaces sharing and enjoying what they had made. The work was documented and all the the images can be seen here 

All the artifacts were collected in and the walk recommenced, taking us past signs of industry and round the backs of houses, before we climbed a bank and stepped through a break in a low wall made from the waste materials from the iron smelting. 

Once again our walkers were invited to take a closer look - at the wall, the stones, at the canal basin and what was growing. 

Textures were explored and recorded

Art bridges gaps, fills them with mark making and imagination.

Richness can always be found in unexpected places.

Our walk ended almost back where it had begun and participants were invited to install their work on the boarded windows and ledges of the Doctors surgery.

At the end of the walk and interventions Jo and Carole became participants again, as the bus carried us off for more creative experiences with artists Lindsay Warnes-Carroll, Sophie Cero, Queenie Tea and Charlotte Ashman. We experimented with Sophie on the bus, played Where You Bin Go with Queenie Tea, were served a variety of delights by Shirley's Snack Shack and created a paper fashion show. What a fabulous day! 

On our return journey Miles and Dacombe held their prize draw for the Ironville Walking Art Kit 

Here are our winners exploring the contents of their kit.

For more about the Flaming Skirt Festival follow this link.

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