Covid and Beyond project: Final Celebration Day

After a very tentative beginning, what a wonderful day this turned out to be.

Our open-air day of showcasing project creations and hosting free workshops was sandwiched between two of the worst weather fronts we’ve had in ages!

I began the day trimming bamboo in the rain at half past six in the morning after realising that when you cut down 15’ to 20’ bamboo you should really take into account that your car is probably only 7’ long! So not off to good start really!

It wasn’t going to beat me though; I was determined to have our gazebos set amidst beautiful swaying bamboo and so it DID fit in the car in the end.

I then delivered it to the site at Par Track, along with Emily and Simon, leaving them to start sticking it into the ground and put up our five gazebos before everyone else arrived whilst I went off to help with loading wooden panels and to collect the tables – still in the rain at this point I might add. Poor Em and Simon got soaked!

By the time I made it back to the site, it was all shaping up nicely, the gazebos looked great in our planned arc formation and the bamboo was doing a perfect job of screening off the guy ropes to keep people safe. There was still enough to make our bamboo entrance to the area too. I could see that the team were all busy preparing their displays.

The first thing I noticed were the clay houses from Lynn and Suzy’s workshops – WOW! They looked stunning and drew me in straight away. The amazing street of houses we had originally envisaged was finally there in front of us, looking more beautiful than we could have ever dreamed – such a lovely row of intricate and unique designs, all telling their own personal story. These continued to attract people for the rest of the day, pulling in crowds for the workshops.

Gill’s pitcher panel gleamed up from her table, showing such gorgeous paintings on each individual ‘broken’ piece. Like the clay houses, people must have spent hours on these which show how important this creative outlet has been to participants; it has helped them to have a voice and express their individual emotions artistically. Their desire to be part of such a lovely piece of public art also reveals the community’s dedication to, and love of Par Bay itself.

Hannah did a brilliant job of managing Lynn and Suzy’s giant live-doodle table for them whilst also running our promotion stand for all of the other lovely Par Bay Creatives projects too. Lynn and Suzy had set up an initial design as a starting point for our participants, full of drawing technique examples: mark making, shading, cross-hatching, shapes and rubbings. The interweaving lines and circles also linked to Par Bay, echoing the industrial elements of old St Blazey railway station and forming an incredible other-world landscape. This inspired a wealth of amazing intricate designs from participants, who thoroughly enjoyed adding extra layers and dimensions to a smashing piece of art.

Felicity was running two activities and barely had chance for a breather all day. Her main workshop was creating bug hotels form bamboo, leaves and other flora foraged by participants there on site. These were extremely popular with children and adults alike, and it wasn’t long before most people were walking around with their very own bug hotel. Flis switched roles for an hour after lunch to run some instant drama games with members of her Isolated Improv group which were very well received, attracting quite an audience. They caught the interest of many children too and the fun really took off when Flis invited them to join us all in an improvisation challenge. They were great! It was so much fun and had everyone in stitches. It was fantastic to see people coming out of their shells and jumping in to live theatre with both feet.

I ‘kind of’ manned the poetry stall, dipping in and out to connect with passers-by whilst also running after items that had blown across the field or holding tents down while they were re-pegged and fortified against the powerful gusts of wind! I did get some wonderful poets along too though, including amazing ‘Madeline the Pirate Princess’ (aged 5 I think!) who wrote a magnificent poem about pirates. Our Poetry from Par Bay book was hot off the press and went down a storm! Everyone who picked one up was delighted with the final design – and some of our very own poets were especially thrilled to see themselves in print too.

Needless to say, we all went home feeling very satisfied and looking forward to our next joint venture!

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