Hayley’s Blog

Posted on: 18th August 2023

Read Hayley's blog about her week's work placement with us during the summer.

Hi, I’m Hayley and I am a student from Gosforth Academy and have completed a week long work placement here at Helix Arts. I have helped out in first week of the ‘Well Summer’ workshops as well as visiting the office and Re:Visits exhibition at Segedunum. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the passionate and dedicated Helix Arts team!

Throughout my time here at Helix Arts, it has been evident that the team are really passionate about the work that they are doing, helping children and communities through the use of art in order to improve overall well-being as well as enabling new friendships to grow. However, the quality of the artwork produced is not necessarily the main focus, but rather the experiences and skills that are gained by attending their projects and the positive impact that these new found or strengthened abilities can have after the workshop is over.

Monday Day at the office

My week long work placement started at the office, meeting a couple members of the team and being introduced to the work of the charity and its history. The importance of the charities’ work was evident to me after hearing about all of the different projects and workshops they have held over the years, helping a range of different demographics and sharing a multitude of stories from people from all different walks of life to the public through different means of art. In the afternoon, I helped photograph pieces of art from previous workshops surrounding life in North Shields for their upcoming mural that will incorporate local children’s designs and work. Additionally, I assisted with the registers for the upcoming ‘Well Summer’ activities.

Tuesday Re: Visits at Segedunum

On Tuesday, I visited the Re: Visits exhibition organised by Helix Arts at Segedunum and was amazed by the depth of detail within the gallery. The films that played giving information about past projects reinforced the idea of growing as a person through the skills learned and developed over the course of the participants’ involvement, especially highlighted in the video for their ‘Make it happen’ project which focused on sense of identity and body positivity and setting up their own event to explore the power of their voices, supporting initial ideas all the way through to the final exhibition. Overall, all of the short films offered an insight into the accessibility of art, enabled by the work of the charity and commissioned artists, as well as a sense of inclusion that they provide. In turn, it was really interesting to read about the history of the charity, following past projects through to current and further to future plans, allowing for me to get a sense of how they have evolved over their 40 year history.

Wednesday Watercolour and Drawing Workshops

Wednesday was my first day at (and the first day of) the ‘Well Summer’ project, different art workshops for children aged between 5 and 12 years old. It was great to see so many children getting involved and being excited about the artwork they were producing. We used spray bottles and pipettes to add the paint to the paper and it was interesting to see how different everyone’s work turned out when given the same set of instructions, showing their own personalities and creativity through their work. This notion was extended into the afternoon when the children designed their own section of their ‘Happy City’ with everything ranging from dragons and ghosts to Kings and Queens as well as fantastical buildings and rollercoasters.

Thursday Bags and Flags and Kite Making

On Thursday, I helped out in the activities for the ‘Well Summer’ project, helping the children with designing their graffiti style bags and flags and once again their creativity shone through with vivid colouring and bold designs using fabric markers and sharpies to create an impact. In the afternoon, we were making fish kites, designing their fish ‘bodies’ with stickers, glittery and colourful paper as well as coloured pens. Some chose to create a geometric design or ones with different styles of lines whilst others decided to create faces and decorate theirs with accessories. Once we helped to make them into cylinders, I stuck down the pom-poms that they chose using the hot glue gun and then attached googly eyes to complete the character. I loved how varied the designs were, with all of them looking completely unique from one an other.

Friday Junk Sculptures

On my final day, I assisted in the family workshop making sculptures out of off cuts of wood and decorating them in a pop-art style using different colours and textures of paper as well as pom-poms, pipe cleaners and comic book style words. I once again saw how imaginative the children were, some choosing to create little creatures out of their wood, others name plaques and some even designed picture frames. It was also nice to see the parents getting involved with the activities alongside the kids – either by making their own or  helping their child – as you could see the shared enjoyment. I stuck some of the decorations that couldn’t be stuck with the hot glue gun as well as using it to stick the extra pieces of wood to the base.

Overall, I have really appreciated and enjoyed my week placement at Helix Arts and getting to be involved in their summer project. The children engaged well with the activities and were excited about what they were creating, allowing their imaginations to run wild as they construct elaborate, fantastical backstories for each creature or drawing that they did – following the instructions whilst making their pieces of art completely individual to them, which was lovely to see. A huge thank you to the team at Helix Arts that made me feel welcome and included as well as the artists running the workshops!