The Noticing Nature project was initially planned to take place during Spring and Summer 2021, as Artist James Aldridge worked outside with isolated older people across Wiltshire. As we head into the Autumn, sessions have continued and wi the partial lifting of Covid restrictions, larger gatherings have become possible outdoors, alongside some small group indoor work, linked to the local outdoor environment.
So what have we been up to since the last post – Drawing and Wellbeing – and what’s happening next?
Since September, James has been working in the Salisbury, SW Wiltshire and Warminster areas, with an event at the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Langford Lakes Nature Reserve, a series of sessions in Salisbury with a dementia support group, and workshops with individual participants in the Hanging Langford and Stockton areas.
The Langford Lakes event with Silver Salisbury, saw older people from around the Salisbury area coming together to socialise, take part in a Noticing Nature workshop, eat lunch by the lake and enjoy a concert provided by Celebrating Age musicians. Participants drew inspiration from their surroundings, and materials gathered by James to create artwork onto greetings cards.
Work in Salisbury with the dementia support group has also been contributing to Orchestras Live‘s Create Space project, through its relationship with The Wiltshire Music Centre where Celebrating Age is based. Photographic documentation of each session is now feeding into this audio-visual collaboration.
‘Our partner communities are busy creating and gathering material – video, photographs, poems, songs, music, art – for us to use as inspiration for a new piece of music that Dan and the team will be creating over the next few months. In February next year a film will be made of the new piece with additional music curated by the team and the communities…’
Jane Ford, Orchestras Live
Meanwhile one to one sessions have been continuing with James and individuals in villages in the Wylye Valley, responding to participants’ gardens and the local landscape. Alongside art making, conversation flows about the local area, and memories of gardens, wildlife, pets and artwork from the past.
‘He’s not so much as put pencil to paper for over 20 years… it’s beautiful!’
Due to the positive feedback that we’ve received during the year, Noticing Nature project sessions will now be continuing into 2022. See here for information on how to refer someone who you believe would benefit from involvement in a series of 3 weekly sessions with James.
To get a taste of the work that has taken place throughout the county during 2021, please visit the Noticing Nature Online Exhibition.