Monday, 2 November 2015

A Titanic Experience - The Big Draw in Belfast's Drawing Offices 2015

October is The Big Draw, a festival championed by The Campaign For Drawing, in the UK, to encourage and promote drawing as an activity that includes everyone.

Obviously, this sits extremely well with me, as I view drawing as one of the most important ways to connect with our own selves as well as communicating with others.

A festival like this is the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on drawing, and what better venue to get Belfast on the map, than the Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices?

The Drawing Office, 1912
These iconic buildings were where naval architects and draftsmen drew up the plans for the ships which were built here, including the Titanic. I have been honoured to have regular access to the building over the past couple of years for drawing workshops, in partnership with the Titanic Foundation, who are in charge of ensuring the buildings are cared for. Soon, major renovation work will be underway and the building will return to it's former glory.

Maeve and Siobhan, from the Titanic Foundation, helping with the set-up
Did you know that the word 'titanic' means Gigantic? Massive, enormous, fantastic? If we're having a BIG Draw, it might as well be titanic. Over 100 people, children and parents, arrived to make it not only a big draw, but a really big class too.

Tables were laid with long lengths of paper, like table cloths, and after listening to me reading a story, which featured Samson and Goliath, the two huge yellow cranes which tower above the Ship Yard,  everyone set to work, drawing on the same sheet. 

But that really did mean EVERYONE. It wasn't enough that the children were drawing - the parents had to do it too. After their initial hesitation ('What? Me? Oh no, I can't... I haven't... but....'), and a small bit of encouragement ('here's a pen', smiling face), Mum's and Dad's started joining in. 

Above, Dad is engrossed... 
This changed everything. No longer were the adults over-seeing. Now they were participating. In fact, the parents were so settled in that we had trouble stopping them! 

By George, aged 7

A peek at Bailey's drawing 
After an hour and a half, 8 large sheets of paper were filled, a Titanic effort, of fun and imagination. A very different type of drawing to what the original draftsmen were doing in this building, but imagination is the start of every idea, and the ideas were flowing today. There was a tremendous feeling of happiness and well being. H&W - happy and well!
H&W - happy and well! 

With Judith, my enthusiastic helper, and all the drawings of the morning

This link takes you to a video created by Paul Marshall. 

Some of the artists!

Thanks to everyone who came and drew, and thanks to Maeve, Siobhan and Catherine at the Titanic Foundation for their work in setting up and promoting the event, and to Judith Gordon for helping. 

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