The Clore Art Studio is set within the heart of Manchester City Art Gallery. It is a creative space that is primarily for children and families. It replaces the Clore Interactive Gallery, which because of its fixed interactive installations was proving costly to maintain. Additionally, significant shifts in thinking in relation to how visitors use museum and gallery space as well as shifts in museum and gallery
pedagogy had occurred; these shifts gave impetus to the materialisation of the Clore Art Studio.
Working with local school children, we examined, stepped into and unpicked Grayson Perry's tapestries; unravelling threads of thought, ideas, story telling and shared lived experience to create an interactive world that spoke of and to the children we worked with and their peers.
Underpinning the learning that took place in the space were schemas; the building blocks of how we learn and develop from a baby, into a toddler, school age and beyond.
Ribbons were threaded, woven and danced with; colour matching. sorting and construction explored, den building, imaginative play, shadow play, domestic scenes played out in this busy and often unmanned space in the heart of the gallery.
It was a gateway into Perry's exhibition; or a portal of play once you had experienced the magnificent tapestries.
Children and adults played alongside each other, stories were shared and life was lived in the Clore Art Studio.
Artists Sarah Marsh, Michiko Fujii and Katy McCall along with the Gallery's Family Learning team have drawn out three threads from Perry's tapestries to explore in the studio: the swirling continuous line, the vibrant colour palette and the humble domestic objects that furnish our homes.
Clore Art Studio, Manchester Art Gallery, October 2013.
Sarah Evelyn Marsh
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