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Sandcastles and Snowmen

Beyond Sandcastles and Snowmen:

Looking back to being very young, there was always two key times in a typical year that it seemed many families and friends would come together to create something purely for the fun of it. In fact, it’s almost a right of passage, an expectation, often unspoken or unannounced. Undertaking a creative process that would see something built, something that would inevitably melt or be washed away, with no clear purpose other than to be made and seen only for a short while.

Given how much fun it was rolling snow and filling buckets using spades, why do we generally only make things together once or twice a twice a year? This was the feeling I was left with after seeing several all age drop-in workshops at The Exchange this year (on a smaller scale of build), but especially when helping out at the Seaside Sculpture Day! Clearly, when people come together to do such things, people get stuck in in a way that is frankly quite rare to see. Undertaking a physical task with oodles of enthusiasm and confident use of imagination.

I lost count of how many people took part in such a well put together event, courtesy of Morecambe Artist Colony, solidly led by local artist Kate Drummond. The Seaside Sculpture Day used the concept of ‘fish and ships’, where all aged teams took on the challenge of designing and building their very own ship. Scavenging recycled wood from the back of a trailer, armed only with a hammer and a bag of nails. The event was hugely enhanced by complimentary arts and craft activities including block printing (Jenny McCabe), message in a bottle (Hannah Fox) and of course, our own contribution to the event, fish on sticks, all of which added a level of accessibility for participants on the day.

The sculpture day offered music, games and access to the arts in a way that completely contradicted most festivals or events, the headline acts were the groups of people that turned up and got stuck in making. A festival of participation as opposed to spectating. The event really did have something for everyone, people taking to their new roles like ducks to water often with very little need for support. By the end of the day, we witnessed so many faces with ear to ear grins heading home with a true sense of accomplishment, holding so much pride in their creations. Being able to see this in the Westend Gardens, a beautiful spot, was fantastically inspiring.

Along the way, we saw people trying new things, encouraging strangers, making new friends, sharing ideas and generally allowing time for doing something great. Building a sense of community with every tap of the hammer, a sense of community and togetherness that makes us all stronger and happier. Such a sight was something that is so clearly out of the ordinary and yet, very certainly, this appeared to be inherently natural behaviour for most involved, so natural that it felt like we do this all the time. But the truth is we don’t. So why don’t we?

Let’s make more things, together, for the fun of it.

Photos of the day with thanks and courtesy of @beanphoto

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