All hands on deck

hand33© Helen Sandi-Edwards

Participating in an art workshop can complete an ideal leisure day, as young Wanstead Festival visitors discovered last month. Art Group Wanstead’s Donna Mizzi reports on the organisation’s “Hands On” project

Little artistic hands had massive attention lavished on them at the “Hands On” workshop presented by Art Group Wanstead at last month’s Wanstead Festival.

While the adult members of the group were presenting their own work on a large display fence and a number of stalls, dozens of children grasped the opportunity to create their own art at a free workshop.

Children were wide-eyed at the colourful variety of materials available for their mixed media “Hands On” project, such as glitter foam, pom-poms, a mind-boggling array of dazzling embellishments and a large range of papers and colouring materials, and glue… lots of glue.

One of the art tutors involved, Brenda Coyle, said: “Some of the children came along to see their mum or dad’s artwork, and then were utterly delighted to be able to create some art themselves. It helped them to make the connection – between adults’ work and their own efforts. And parents were pleased their children could create something on the day as well as looking at the festival attractions.”

Seven-year-old Amelia Ahmed created hand- and gem-themed artwork: “I go to the Wanstead Festival every year and usually head straight for the rides! This time I was really excited to see my mum’s art on display. The arts and crafts stall was really cool; I had so much fun decorating my sparkly hand with gems.” Her five-year-old brother, Aydan, added: “My mummy is an artist and loves painting, so I want to be an artist… and an astronaut, too!”

Children using their hand shapes as a subject for art might appear to be quite a modern activity. But, in fact, hand shapes have been found among the oldest artwork discovered on this planet. Just four years ago, experts examined hand outlines found among cave paintings on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Its estimated age: 45,000 years!

Drawing or painting realistic-looking hands is recognised as a very difficult skill – largely because they are so expressive. Hands are often considered second only to the face in importance in portraits. Determined adults practise techniques, and showed some of their drawings at the workshop for added inspiration – for people of all ages.

Art Group Wanstead’s hands and minds have also been busy preparing work for The Stow Brothers art display, now on at 117A Wanstead High Street. Anyone can pop in to enjoy the wide variety of art during the business’s open hours. The art group will also have a Christmas shop at the premises on 27 November.

For more information on Art Group Wanstead, visit wnstd.com/art

Author: Editor