CREATIVE Collograph

Ashmolean Creatives by Ian Wallman

At our final meeting of the term we all enjoyed learning and experimenting with collograph print making at an art workshop run by artist Ellen Love.

We explored The Ashmolean’s painting about the Civil War by Artist William Dobson, imagining what the main characters, including the dog, might have been thinking….. Then we found out more about the people in the painting. The main character on the left is Prince Rupert, a Royalist, whose army had been defeated at Bristol. He is holding a blank scroll, sent to him to by King Charles I to compose his confession. Rupert, convinced of his innocence, returned the scroll empty to the King and was eventually pardoned.

Ashmolean Creatives by Ian Wallman

We looked closely at the painting for inspiration for printmaking, and everyone made some sketches and drawings in front of the painting. People focused on different aspects such a the movement and textures of fabrics, patterns and the dog.

Ellen showed us how to construct a piece of work for collograph printmaking using a rage of techniques including layering, cutting, adding texture and fabrics. We enjoyed using inks and ‘polishing’ our piece before printing with the press.

Thank you Ellen for a wonderful session- we were all really pleased with the finished results!

Ashmolean Creatives by Ian Wallman

Ashmolean Creatives by Ian Wallman

Ashmolean Creatives by Ian Wallman

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Visit to Modern Art Oxford


On Saturday we visit ed Modern Art Oxford to see the new exhibition of Hannah Ryggen’s tapestries. Afterwards we had the opportunity to try some weaving ourselves in an interactive space which gave us an insight into the time and skill required for the art form.’ Asita


We were all struck by Hannah Ryggen’s powerful and stunning tapestries. We equally loved the huge scale cartoon-style collaborative work by Aleksandra Mir. At the end, everyone really enjoyed getting stuck into the gallery’s interactive weaving activities which were engaging visitors of all ages. Thanks very much to Sara Lowes, Curator, Creative Learning at Modern Art Oxford, MAO, for a fantastic experience.

Here are some of our responses to the visit…

Sophie: ‘I found the tapestry pieces incredibly powerful and moving- especially those depicting the rise of Nazism and their oppression of different societies.’

 Hannah: ‘The exhibition was amazing- the interactive part gave gave me a better understanding of Ryggen’s methods.’

Ellen: ‘I absolutely loved the interactive weaving room which you can go to after the exhibition. It allows you to really appreciate just how skillful and difficult Ryggen’s work is- and it’s really fun!’

Lewis: ‘This exhibition has been brilliant in showing the creative process Hannah Ryggen  went through for her tapestry work. The inclusion of workshops alongside it was a very nice touch so you can leave your own taste of what weaving is like.’

Andrei: ‘I really liked the way in which the exhibition introduces the artist to the visitors and contextualizes her art in the events of their own life.’

Maggie: ‘ As an enthusiast of art from fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, I was amazed that these tapestries were to my liking. The amount of detail is exquisite and clearly shows hard work and passion. It is definitely worth having a look, even if you don’t usually enjoy modern art like me.’

Phoebe: ‘It was very interesting to see the contrast between Ryggen and Aleksandra Mir’s work and the different techniques used by the artists and the messages they were trying to get across.’

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Planning art workshops

Our meeting this week involved planning  some creative art workshops which we will be running on Saturday 2nd December for young people aged 16-18. We worked in small groups to plan practical aspects such as timings, materials, costs, the theme and content of the workshops to create a brief for the artist. We will be working with Ellen Love  to learn about the printmaking process of intaglio collograph. Come along and experiment with paper folding, ripping, refined knife cutting and textural layering to prepare a printing plate and create A4 work to take away.

If you would like to come to one of our FREE  art workshops on Saturday December 2017 at 10-12 or 1-3pm, please email

We finished with an object handling session for us all. Objects included ancient Greek and Roman pottery, thousands of years old and found out how flint axes were made and used. It was amazing to handle them for ourselves.




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Behind the scenes of another Museum…

Our final meeting of the year was a visit to meet the young people’s panel at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.  We handled amazing objects including an elephant’s tooth, fossilized poo and live cockroaches.

A special highlight of the trip was a visit to the spirit store where we saw rare specimens which have been preserved for many years in liquid.

Upstairs in the Museum, we visited an exhibition all about the human brain from birth to death and how it changes through that time period, which the youth panel had been involved in creating and had written one of the text panels.

It was interesting meeting the Natural History Museum’s Panel as their activities are based around science whereas ours are based around arts. We look forward to welcoming them back to The Ashmolean for them to see what we are contributing at our museum.

To end the day, we went on a training course to become Oxford University Museum volunteers. Doing this course is really helpful for us as we can become more experienced in working with members of the public. – Immie

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Today we used our creativity and imaginations to explore paintings in new and unusual ways. We tried out some new resources, discussing our ideas in small groups . We discussed questions like….


>Find a piece of art that feels happy. Enjoy it for a while.

>Look at a painting that you think is boring. Analyse why you think it’s boring and try to make it interesting.

>Find an artwork that needs a soundtrack. Choose a song to listen to while you look at it.

>Find a painting and explore what happens outside the frame. How could the image continue and what happens off the edge of the painting? Did you discover something new?

>Observe how people interact with art. Watch the space between people and art and the space between people.

> Imagine you lived inside a piece of art. Which piece would you choose and why?

>Find a fruit, a flower, a dog and a hat.

>Find a painting that matches your outfit.

We reviewed all of the activities we had tried. We all most enjoyed responding to questions that required an imaginative response, explored emotions and feelings, involved spotting a list of types of objects and made us curious to look more closely at details.

After this, we were really privileged to spend an hour with Arne Richards and Isabelle Knowland who explained how they use museum collections and musical instruments to work with many different groups including people in prison. They played their instruments for us, transporting us to amazing places in our imaginations. Arne introduced us to a range of unusual instruments from around the globe and as a group we created a musical accompaniment to a piece of writing. It was a magical experience for us all. Thank you so much Arne and Isobel.

Isobel told us about a project she is working on for Refugee Week

Waving Hello

is a project challenging preconceived notions about refugees and asylum seekers and exploring our common humanity in a creative and interdisciplinary way. With the Ashmolean Museum as our inspiration the project has involved music, storytelling and poetry, and visual arts.  For our final event, we would like to include as many people as possible from across our community, particularly those of different faiths.

A flotilla of tiny paper boats will ‘sail’ across Bonn Square on Sunday 25th June, 12pm – 4pm,  celebrating diversity, recognising the importance of trade and travel in the history of Western art and commemorating those who have perished crossing the Mediterranean in their bid to escape war and famine.

If you can fold a piece of paper, be part of this temporary art installation, the aim of which is to fill the upper area of Bonn Square with small origami paper boats flowing out from the Tirah Memorial. The boats represent the journeys people make to both come to the UK and UK nationals travelling to other countries to live and work. Boats will be made by groups who have participated in the project to date and also by members of the public, either made in advance or on the day. (A video giving instructions on how to make the paper boats can be found on YouTube  Waving Hello!)







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