Funded by Torbay's Great Place Scheme and part of Eyeview, The Offering was a three-month long project that culminated in June 2019 with a procession through Torquay's main streets and down to Torre Abbey Sands.
Working in Torbay with a variety of neighbourhoods, individuals and organisations, I see a huge ground swell of desire for change. My role, I think, is to fit my skillset to the task of emboldening this desire for change through making, conversation and linking diverse groups and individuals across difference to one common aim.
In 'The Offering' 2019, we are co-creating a procession to allow people to voice their deep feelings for the sea in Torbay. Workshops on natural dyeing raise issues of damaging fashion and textile practices on ecosystems; through taking Torbay's Spiney Seahorse as our emblem for the project, we turn our gaze to a creature very 'other' to us; by exploring Torbay's seagrass beds (home of the seahorses), we learn about climate change and natural carbon capture systems. Through making we learn about each other, creating strong mycelium-like networks between individuals and the three settlements (Torquay, Paignton, Brixham) around this large natural sheltered bay, communities that are often 'at odds' with one another. By focusing on the bay and the sea itself, we turn our gaze from the human boundaries to a natural boundless one where we can actively imagine other lives with a sense of wonder and curiosity. All these elements help us to reconnect to the natural world, each other and where we live and will hopefully build a stronger foundation for fast adaptation and a more intelligent and just use of resources.
The power of making is that it allows us to transform objects and in turn ourselves, our views, our knowledge.
An old sheet, dyed with natural indigo, embroidered with seahorses, printed with seaweed designs made by students at South Devon College, worn by a young 15 year old performer who will lead the procession and read out the messages to the sea written by her peers. My perception of where I can add value to the dynamic, deep and urgent shift needed in our human communities is that I can remind myself and others through a making project that we can collaborate and be open-minded, learn new things, adapt old crafts, create new meaningful objects from 'waste' material.
In essence we can affect positive change in the world around us. We can change.