Artist Alice Wilson, lives and works in London. She is interested in how we look and what we choose to record, often using landscape and nature as source material that provides her starting point. As part of the Endeavour programme Wilson has been working with Ben Weddell, the Museum's Formal Learning Producer to design and deliver a three-day project that interrogates Deptford’s place in Maritime history during the Tudor and Stuart time period. We have been working with year six at St Stephen's Primary School and have just come to the end of a series of sessions with the pupils.
Here is artist Alice Wilson's project insight:
My role has been to explore ideas and examine the visible history of Deptford through artistic processes. Encouraging the pupils to think about how making physical and visual interpretations of Deptfords heritage can inform how we view it now.
We explored portraiture and painting in the Queens House and looked at how we could use Museum artefacts to tell a story during a study day at the Museum with Ben. I then spent the day at St Stephen's Primary School making elements of costume that communicated something of the pupil's identity. Our second outing was to the banks of the Thames where Josh Frost from the Thames Discovery Programme told the pupils about the infrasructure and trade at the docks, highlighting remnants still visible from Tudor times.
We were also joined on this session by fellow artist Helen Barff who took the pupils ‘mudlarking’ for items both historical and contemporary that we would use to cast from during the afternoon. On our final outing we went on a historical expedition led by Ben and myself, winding from the canons on the Thames, through Pepys Park and Sayes Court Park, with a visit to Master Shipwrights House and back to the school via St Nick's Church. Throughout the journey the pupils made drawings using portable frames that allowed them to trace directly what they could see on a transparent piece of perspex. Almost like a manual camera, the frames acted as a recording device. Back at school we used the drawings to create a picture map of the journey, projecting the drawings onto a line that illustrated our path.
Artist Helen Barff and myself will use all the fantastic work made by the pupils to create a sculpture that communicates this project and shares the exciting visual documents we have generated over the past three months. We will be looking to the pupils for guidance as we go - the picture map from our final study day is in need of colour, armed with a palette that would have been available to Tudor artists. We have asked the pupils to colour in the map and we will be relying on this to dictate our colour choices in the final sculpture.
There will be an opportunity in June to see all the work produced throughout the project at a gallery in Deptford. The final sculpture will eventually find its home in the new Tudor and Stuarts Seafarers Gallery opening in September 2018 at The National Maritime Museum.