Rodchenko, Popova, Maths and Young People…???

by Emily Pitts on September 6, 2012

in Art Projects

In a few weeks, I’ll be embarking on one of my most exciting projects yet with pupils from Oakwood High School in Salford.  Working with the Maths and Art department we’ll be travelling to France to take time out to explore the work of Russian Constructivists Popova and Rodchenko and using their artwork as inspiration for an amazing Maths and Art project.  Oakwood High School is a forward thinking city school which develops highly innovative projects with its pupils, helping them to engage in conceptual ideas and develop their own thinking.  It’s great to be a part of the project – watch this space to see how it develops.


Over the past four months I’ve been working at Bluecoat Arts Centre with a group of volunteers on their Growing Creativity Project, which is helping people with learning difficulties and disabilities to reshape the Bluecoat Garden and create some unique artwork for the outdoors space.

The Bluecoat Arts Centre is situated in the heart of Liverpool in an 18th Century Unesco World Heritage and Grade One listed building.  The walled garden is a haven within the bustle of the city and I am fortunate to have been asked to take a lead on the growing creativity project.  The aims of the project are to help volunteers to stay active, to contribute, to learn, to connect and to take notice – The Five Ways to Wellbeing.

With this in mind we’ve been working on developing the garden into a more native place, with native plants replacing ones which were put in following redevelopment in 2008.

At the same time we’ve developed some artwork which incorporates designs from the volunteers with people’s memories of the garden – there are people who have been coming here for over 30 years, so the garden sparks a lot of emotion in the heart of Liverpudlians.  The artwork is now being created and will be installed towards the end of October when we hope to hold an open event for you to come and see it.  If you have a memory of the Bluecoat, there’s still time for it to become part of our artwork – just pop into the Bluecoat and ask reception for a Growing Creativity Postcard to fill in.

Drop it in the box on reception and wait for the magic to happen.  All will be revealed soon…….


Oakwood School Art Competition WINNER…

by Emily Pitts on June 24, 2012

in Art Projects, News

And the winner of the Oakwood Art Competition is….Jane.

Congratulations to Jane, who produced some lovely drawings and worked hard to put into practise new techniques learned whilst on a school trip in the Dordogne, France.  She was really willing to try out new things and to develop her thinking and her skills in all areas.  She persevered and using a limited palate of materials that we had brought with us for this task, created the interesting image you see above.

The trip, which took place last month, in Beaulieu sur Dordogne, included visits out around the local area to sketch and observe the peculiarities of a provincial French town with seven young people from Oakwood High School in Salford.  As an accompanying artist I travelled with and stayed with the young people Sunday – Friday, incorporating a derive walk through the suburban landscape, sketching in cafes and developing work in response to the Fauve movement, looking particularly at colour and re-interpreting some of the ideas of the fauves using collage, with limited a self-imposed limited palette of resources, to inspire thought and questioning amongst the group and to stretch their thought processes whilst creating the work.  One of the things that worked particularly well was five-minute sketches.  The young people felt that this was something new they could try that was fun and brought different results that you don’t necessarily get when you work for a long period of time on a piece.  It can also help you to plan other drawings more easily and to see what the most important parts of a drawing might be.   Give it a try and let me know how it goes:

The results of the competition and the sketch sessions were excellent, with a really wide range of thoughtful and exciting interpretations of the landscape of the town, which you will see from the pictures attached to the blog.  Aside from the work for the competition, the young people developed and particularly enjoyed the sketching sessions, more time for which will be incorporated into future trips.  Some young people chose to continue to sketch outside of our session times, finding it relaxing and quite a consuming activity.  Congratulations to everyone who took part and for working hard.

Later this year I will be working with another small group of young people on a project focussing on Russian Constructivism/Rodchenko and Popova and bringing together creative, mathematical and construction skills to create another provocative and high quality collaborative artwork.

Here are just some of the images produced on this trip:


I have been very fortunate to work with Groundwork Cheshire on a commission at their Grozone project since October.  The commission is an extended participatory project – working with volunteers and visitors to the Community Garden to create an arts trail using materials from the garden around the theme of Humans within our Landscape.

At the first session we worked together on a creative ‘writing’ exercise (I did the writing and the volunteers did the creative!).  They produced a wonderful poem, which takes in all of the senses and the experience of being in the garden.

Working with each volunteer individually at different times, I helped them to incorporate their ideas of creativity into a coherent plan, using parts of the garden that were disused and also bringing horticulture and ecology into the plan.

What has developed is an evolving series of works including:

  • A Willow Cloud suspended between two trees
  • A Storytelling Circle with suspended wooden glocks (Almost finished!)
  • An Entrance Wall with a poetry puzzle (still in progress!)
  • A Silver Birch Spider fungus sculpture
  • A stacked wooden staircase (Still in progress)

Volunteers have worked really hard to develop ideas and to help shape the garden and the arts trail, as you will see from the photographs.


As part of the arts trail commission for Groundwork we have been working with willow grown in the community garden at Grozone in Northwich.

Using nature’s own resources and working with the ethos of Groundwork, the garden and the volunteers we used willow cut freshly from the grounds and from the weeping willows along the nearby river along with stunning dogwood, to make a series of interlocking circles to create a large ‘cloud’ to be suspended as an archway through from one area of the garden to the other.  Within the circles we used string to ‘write’ a part of the poem that the volunteers created during our first session together.


I am Virtually Invisible

by Emily Pitts on February 15, 2012

in Latest For Sale, Provocative, Text Art

First exhibited at the Buy Art Fair 2011 in Manchester, here is a new piece of work, constructed out of laser-cut perspex:

A series of hearts cascade down from one central heart shaped, perspex centre-piece with individul letters, spelling out the words “I am virtually invisible’, suspended from the hearts.  The mobile, which catches the light, casting tantalising reflections onto the background, gently drifts around on a single thread, in constant flux, but virtually invisible, particularly when suspended above eye level.

The work hangs best well above eye level – making itself virtually invisible, except when moving slightly and catching light at the edges.


Art Art Art : Low-fi Leaflets

by Emily Pitts on February 15, 2012

in Text Art

In 2001, using dictionary definitions, found language and well known quotations, I created and distributed a series of leaflets in Stratford upon Avon, my birthplace and where I lived.  Each leaflet contains a distinct theme – consumption, prejudice, objectification and art itself.
The idea of low-fi creation of work for the public realm and outside of the gallery interests me – being able to take challenging ideas and questions to ordinary people.  The work was influenced by the Artist Jenny Holzer, whose diverse methods of making and exhibiting art formed the basis of my dissertation entitled ‘Wordy Women’, which I completed at the same time as this work was being developed.
Here are a few images and if you would like to see the full set of four leaflets, please contact me.


Finale Night:  Thursday 8th December 5-7pm Place your bids by 6pm!

I have been invited to produce some work for the MMU 5.8 x 4.1 Exhibition to help raise funds for the year 3 Embroidery students.  This exhibition has a twist… with artists being asked to anonymously produce a piece of work the size of a postcard.

Bids start at £10 and bidding closes at 6pm this Thursday 8th December 2011.

National and Internationally renowned artists Alice Kettle, Rachel Kelly and Anne Wilson are amongst those who have work up for the exhibition – can you spot their work?

Website: fivepointeightbyfourpointone

On the website you can see all 169 works and place bids.  Or you can visit the Exhibition during the week or on Thursday to find out if you’re the winning bidder!


5.8 x 4.1 Exhibition – Holden Gallery Cafe

Grosvenor Building,  Cavendish Street.  Manchester M15 6BH

Opening Times: Monday – Friday 10am-4.30pm

Finale Night:  Thursday 8th December 5-7pm Place your bids by 6pm!

Hope to see you there

List of Contributors:

Abi Goodman Dot Jo Andrews Naniie Bim
Aferdita Kulla Elaine Willis Jo Budd Naori Priestly
Agron Blakçori Emily Pitts Joan Baxter Natalie Davies
Ajshe Blakçori Emma Louise Minshall Jodie Edwards Ness Donnelly
Alex Russell Faye Metcalf Jodie Heaton Nicola Bayley
Ali Neilly Fazli Blakçori Jordan Hargreaves Noor Kimit
Alice Cole Fiona Josie Hunter Norman Gibson
Alice Colson Fiona Curran Jules Lewis Peg Salaun-Smith
Alison Tribe Freddie Robins Kandy Diamond Penny Leaver Green
Alljan Moehamad Freyia Lillian Porteous Karen Nicol Richard Colson
Amy Tidmarsh Gill Hamill Kati Simpson Roanna Wells
Andy Smith Gill Sharp Katie Robin Stevenson
Angela Knipe Grace DuPrez Katie Lawes Roree Windus
Anglea Stead Hava Nevezi Katy Stoor Rosie James
Anne Jones Hayley Godrey Kazuhito Takadoi Ruth Evans
Anne Wilson Heather MacDonald Kiran Lee Sarah Burgess
Annie Harrison Heather Tribe Lani Irving Sarah Morpeth
Anthony Zinonos Helen Mather Laura Faithfull Sarah Walton
Arja Suddens Isabel Dibden Wright Laura Jane Atkinson Seleena Laverne Daye
Aya Kakeda J Kenworthy Lauren Steeper Silver Shauna
Ayasha Wood J Spedding Lora Avedian Sophie Corfan
B.L.C J Straw Lucy Burbeck Stephanie Estall Knight
Becca Fielding Jackie Lumjetë Havolli Stephen Raw
Benjamin Fletcher Jackie Lynn Setterington Stuart Rees
Besnik Kulla Jane Bonney Maggie Howell Sue Prestbury
Bridget Schilizzi Jane McKeating Mandi Tom Vousden
Burhan Blakçori Janet Haigh Mandy Tolley Vicky Mellor
Caren Garfen Jennie Morris Maria Walker Zarife Kulla
Carol Newman Jenny Mark Beecroft Zoe Utley
Caroline Kirton Jenny Mark Matcham
Chloe Hamill Jenny Bordoli Mary Clark
Claire Lane Jenny Stevenson Matthew Harris
Conall O’Brien Jenny Wightwick Melanie Miller
Courtney Maddison Jessica Killen Michael Brennand Wood
Dione Swift Jim Medway Michele Priswell


STOP PRESS:  Santa is officially visiting this Saturday’s Craft Fair at Inspire – Saturday 3rd December 12-4 – so don’t miss out on your chance to meet him and have your photo taken to take home and remember your visit.  He’ll be arriving to a super duper grotto at Inspire at around Midday, so come along and meet him and bring all your friends.  You can even have a photo with you, your friends and Santa!!

Where:  Inspire Levenshulme, 747 Stockport Rd, Levenshulme.  M19 3AR

When: Saturday 3rd December 2011: 12-4pm

Also on… badge-making with the wonderful Laurie Pink, bracelet-making and much more fun for kids !!!

Come and join in!


Please come down this Saturday, 3rd December, 12-4 and support the wonderful crafters and artists at Levenshulme’s gorgeous Inspire. The Fair will host a special visit from Santa, plus lots of local, hand-made and beautiful goods in time for Christmas, which is only round the corner. Hope you can make it.

STOP PRESS: WIN A CRAFT HAMPER WORTH £100 !!! If you spend over £5 at the fair, you can be in with the chance of winning a hamper packed full of great goodies from all the crafters at the fair. You’ve got to be in it to win it!!!

More info about the fairs here: