Working with Amy Lawrence – Week 1

For this years Blaze Festival, a group of Artists will be working with professional curator Amy Lawrence to produce artwork in preparation for an exhibition in October.

They will be working together over weekly sessions, and will be blogging about each session as it takes place!

Week 1 – Written by Alex Wareing

Blaze Festival Exhibition in Accrington Library

Last Tuesday afternoon myself and a bunch of other fellow Lancashire based artist gathered at Accrington Libary to launch nine weeks of a creative collaboration for the Visual Arts strand of this years Blaze Festival in October.

Collectively we will be working together in the run up to a two week exhibtion under the guidance of Manchester based Curator Amy Lawrence, although from first impressions the experience is going to quite different from your average “I’m putting some work in an exhibition” exhibition and more of a very special collective learning residency – led mostly by workshops aimed to challege both our creative talents and our ways of thinking.

Kicking things off Amy introuced herself with a visual presentation of her practice, showing pieces of work ranging from staging a workshop in the middle of a Manchester roundabout to working with the body and paper to create performance peices. Perfering to describe herself as a facilitator rather than curator and taking a more hands on appoach to the process, Amy comes acrross with a refressing and a very unique approach to curating.

After we learnt a little bit about Amy the tables were turned and we shared a sort of show and tell introduction between us, each showing a piece of resarch and a piece of our practice. Amougst the varied group were ; visual and perforamce artist Adam Finally, Taxidermist, painter and jewellery maker Nicola Hebson, painter and print-maker Antonia Hennerely, installation babsed artist and project co-ordinator for Blaze Sophie Skellern, illustrator and community artist Hannah Stringer, photographer Katie Suthers, print-maker Jodie Webb and myself (Alex Ware) a textile designer.

For the second part of the afternoon Amy set us a second task of exploring the space around the libary and producing a piece of work in response to the environment. Before we dived in Amy gave us a pointer about thinking of the piece being more the process itself as a pose to a physical piece. As we began showing each other our pieces we were taken on journeys though the librarys environment, seeing it in a completely different way though each others eyes. As Artist we responed with everything from a walk into the libary from the back door, to hidey holes in vents to blue totiles and knocking on wooden bookshelves.

Before we went our seperate ways Amy gave us a piece of home-work to bring a piece of uninsipring resarch to work from next week, perhaspe a challeging concept when your trying to be inspired.  Although saying that, as I reflect on the first day I feel a different sort of inspiration, one that inpries me to challege my work and the way I think about it and produce it, embrace collaboration and our environment and learn from the opportunite. And as our first encounter came to an end I’m already over excited for next week, mostly because I cant wait to hear the ideas behind everybodys piece from the second task but also to see what challeges and collaborations await.


Alex Wareing is a Textile Designer and you can get in touch with him here: