History inspires artist Vanessa Stone’s new community art project at National Civil War Centre in Newark as part of the Open Doors programme funded by Arts Council England
An artist is taking inspiration from the past on her new community project which anyone can get involved with.
Vanessa Stone is the current artist in residence at the National Civil War Centre on Appletongate, Newark and has been working in the community to deliver art workshops as well as inviting the public into her studio on the top floor of the museum to get hands-on.
After completing a handful of smaller projects she now is turning her artistic talents to creating a huge tapestry.
The four metre long sheet of cloth has a design of kings and queens, inspired by a 16th century wooden mould believed to depict King Charles II, housed in the museum’s collection.
Visitors will be encouraged to use fabric pens to colour in the tapestry in whichever way they like to create a unique collaborative piece of art.
Vanessa said: “There has been some really great engagement and creativity and it really grounds what I’m doing in the place and the people.
“We’ve have over 700 people visit the studio since I came in October and they’re really interested in what’s happening, so I have high hopes
“With this project I want everyone to express themselves through colour and create lots of lovely patterns.
“It’s just nice to have these real tangible things which people can interact with and I will also be taking it out into the community for different groups to contribute to as well.”
As a paper-cut artist she has also already created several large paper banners inspired by objects from the museum archives, which evoke feelings of belonging and identity
These include one featuring storks based on the design of a printing press block used for birth announcements, which came from a former Newark printers and another depicting a 15th century gold unite coin which features King Charles II.
“I wanted to make sure that the pieces I created as part of this residency were really an interpretation of objects in the collection so that they were rooted to the museum,” said Vanessa.
“Something like a coin is a form of really powerful branding, it shows who we are, and is something we use every day.
“It’s the type of object that is a part of our collective identity and it’s travelled through time and probably has so many stories to tell about where it’s been.”
Other group projects include a tree, inspired by a the story of King Charles hiding in an oak tree during the English Civil War, where the leaves have been cut by visitors of all ages or a series of paper houses through the centre’s mini museum sessions for children.
All of the pieces of art will remain in the museum collection alongside the items which inspired them.
Vanessa will be in the studio on the fifth floor of the National Civil War Centre on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays every week, as well as the first and third Saturdays of the month.
The residency, which runs until March, is a part of the Open Doors programme, funded by Arts Council England, with the aim of making art more accessible to people across Newark and Sherwood between 2023 and 2026.