Lucy Burscough

Archive for the ‘Community Arts’ Category

Encaustic Collage Cards at The Gallery of Costume

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects on 24/02/2015 at 11:38

This workshop with the lively ‘Link’ community group was delivered as part of the groups on-going relationship with the Gallery of Costume. The session was inspired by the geometric and animal prints that feature in the gallery’s collection. An unusual technique of using beeswax to laminate vividly coloured collages was employed to create greetings cards. Some of the group went home with enough cards to see them through a year of birthdays! The group members were kindly assisted by a number of volunteers, including some students new to Manchester and the UK who used the session as a great opportunity to improve their English language- what a lovely way to swap skills!

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Close Knit : Funky Fascinators!

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects, Knitting on 27/11/2014 at 14:43

Close Knit continues to meet on the last Saturday of every month at the Gallery of Costume in Rusholme. Please follow the blog at for more information about friendly knitting sessions themed around the gallery’s collection such as this one where the group made gorgeous fascinators!

Close Knit Manchester

A great session on Saturday creating sweet little fascinators for all those weddings we’ll no doubt be attending over the summer! We were really inspired by the fantastic collection of hats and fascinators on display in the Gallery of Costume. We had a great spread of embellishments to add to the knitted/crocheted bases and it was great fun putting them together and showing off the results!

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The Launch Event

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects, Paintings on 27/11/2014 at 14:05

2014 Has Been a Busy Year! Read more about it at


The opening of the Look 200 took place across two venues. The launch of the exhibition of paintings took place in the early evening at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.  It was a great success and very well attended with interesting speeches reflecting on the hospital residency and the exhibition by Brian Chapman of Lime Arts, Wendy Gallagher of Manchester Museum, Professor Rob Lucas of Manchester University’s Faculty of Life Sciences (who features in some of the paintings), and Peter Mount, outgoing Chairman of the Hospital Trust who has been a brilliant advocate for the project throughout.

The sister exhibit of objects that relate to the project then opened at Manchester Museum as part of an ‘After Hours’ evening of vision themed activities that I was excited and honoured to curate.


At the museum throughout the evening there were opportunities to participate in fascinating activities exploring vision from interesting angles: experience…

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Coral: Something Rich, Strange and Wooly

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects on 14/01/2014 at 19:23

I’ve been working recently delivering workshops, building the reef and sewing amazing crochet coral onto Manchester Museum’s Satellite Reef of the Worldwide Crochet Coral Reef. Crochet corals will be added to the reef throughout the Coral:Something Rich and Strange exhibition, through until March. If you want to find out more please visit our Facebook Page.

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Genesis Reborn

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects, Outdoor projects on 21/10/2013 at 11:17

The first weekend in September saw the last few days of the old Whitworth Art Gallery as it prepared to close for an exciting extension and refurbishment phase. Rather than closing the door with a sniffle the gallery went out with a BANG, hosting the Whitworth Weekending  festival on Whitworth Park to celebrate what we do at the gallery and show it off to local residents.

I approached the gallery with a proposal to create a 5 meter tall willow sculpture, a representation of one of the treasures of the Whitworth collection, Jacob Epstein’s ‘Genesis’. They were excited by the idea and so the project went ahead. I worked with a group of volunteers over a few days leading up to the festival and during the weekend itself . We managed to pull together to get Genesis reborn! She was finally assembled and reached her full height on Sunday morning. It was great moment as her body and head were lifted into place onto her thigh section by a brave crew of staff and volunteers.


The sculpture was great to work on, not least because of the great reaction we got for local people as they passed through the park or along the very busy Oxford Rd. And how lovely to return to the sculpture a few weeks after the build and find a bouquet of flowers in her arms.

Genesis Reborn will be taking up residence outside the Embryology department of St Mary’s Hospital in the very near future.

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Printing, Making and Decorating Bags at The Gallery of Costume

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects on 12/06/2013 at 15:10

Spring saw me working with a group of older people from Rusholme at the Gallery of Costume to help them make their own unique shopping bags. Continuing on from the block printing workshop I’ve written about previously, in sessions two and three of the project we created digitally printed collages and felt and fabric embellishments for our bags. Here’s a slide show of how it went:

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Urban Naturalists at Manchester Museum

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects on 24/02/2013 at 17:15

Manchester Museum played host to a troupe of twine twisters for yesterday’s Urban Naturalist event, as we had a go at making birdhouses from natural fibers. The session was inspired by the Looping and Linking project and was part of the museum’s programme of events for adults. Rachel Webster, the curator of the herbarium, the museum’s collection of preserved plants, was kind enough to select and display some interesting specimens of plants that can be used for their fibers. My favourite of these is the Legetta Lintearia, an amazing plant that can be pummeled until the bark resembles lace. The museum has beautiful examples of bark fabric on display in the Living Cultures gallery.

The session went well with the group having learnt the the trick to making twine and leaving with the materials they needed to finish off their bird house when they got home. All except Joanne from Stockport who made a mini-house for insects! What a great idea! It will be hung in the Museum’s allotment which will be the focus of the next Urban Naturalists session on 30th March.

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Looping and Linking

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects on 13/02/2013 at 20:58
A creative response to the life and work of
Angus McPhee

 For the past few months I have been working with a wonderful group of older gentlemen and culture vultures, members of Manchester’s ‘Out in the City’ group. The project took place between Whitworth Art Gallery and the Manchester Museum and it’s Herbarium. We have been inspired by the collections and by the life and work of  outsider artist, Angus MacPhee.


Angus McPhee (1916-1997) grew up in a remote crofting community on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. In his twenties, during World War II, he became acutely mentally ill and was eventually committed to psychiatric hospital where he spent the next fifty years.

 During his time there he chose not to speak but spent his time outdoors creating woven grass work. He worked compulsively and with no apparent need to show his finished objects to anyone, instead hanging them from trees in the hospital grounds. The process of making was the most important thing to Angus. The objects were often extraordinary clothing, intricate and sturdy, twisted and looped like grass chainmaille.

 Hospital staff didn’t recognise Angus’s unique creative skills or the power of his objects and their interest to the outside world, and they were often burnt along with the garden waste. However, in the 1970s, he came to the attention of art therapist and curator Joyce Laing. She saw how special Angus’s work was and exhibited it in Scottish galleries and internationally.

 With changes in policy and attitudes towards inpatient care, Angus returned to live near his sister on South Uist in 1996 where, despite being almost blind, he continued to weave grass until his death a year later.

 Last year Angus’s story was translated into a stage play by the Horse and Bamboo theatre company who commissioned Caithness artist Joanne Kaar to produce copies of Angus’s woven pieces. Whitworth Art Gallery invited the company to perform the play as part of their Arts for Health programme and Joanne to work for a week as artist in residence at the gallery. The play was hosted by Lime Arts at Central Manchester Hospitals on Oxford Road.

 Inspired by the beautifully imagined and emotive play and Angus’s life itself, community group ‘Out in the City’ worked with Joanne Kaar to learn how to produce their own woven grasses as she spent a week in residence at Whitworth Art Gallery. I was Joanne’s assistant for this part of the project and it was a real pleasure to meet and work with her. Over the following few months, the group went on to work at Manchester Museum’s herbarium with poet Tony Sheppard  and myself to create an installation of poetry and visual art that opened last Sunday, 10th Feburary. The installation will be in place until 26th May.

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Build a Little Bird House…

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects on 31/01/2013 at 19:58


I’ve been working on a prototype wren birdhouse today, using the techniques of plant fiber weaving taught to me by artist Joanne Kaar. She learnt the technique when making copies of the woven grass objects made by ‘outsider artist’ Angus McPhee. For the past few months I’ve been working with a group of brilliant older men at Manchester Museum helping them create an artwork inspired by Angus McPhee’s life and work. The artwork will go on display outside the museum 10 Feb-26 May 2013 with opening celebrations 1-4 on Sunday 10th. Why not come along and see what we’ve been up to?

You can read more about the Looping and Linking project here.

I’ll be delivering bird house making workshops alongside the Looping and Linking exhibit at the Manchester Museum on Saturday 23rd Feb as part of their Urban Naturalists programme. The twine making technique is great to know: gardeners, you’ll never have to buy garden twine again! You can read more and sign up here. A further session will be at Whitworth Art Gallery on Saturday 9th March 2-4pm. Contact the gallery here if you are keen to make a lovely birdhouse out of totally natural (and free!) materials.  Wrens are beautiful birds and the best singers to attract to your garden. They deserve a gorgeous house!

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Like Escher, But Meschier

In Arts for Health, Community Arts, Gallery/Museum Projects on 30/01/2013 at 17:52

The Costume Gallery at Platt Hall, Rusholme was the venue for the printing workshop I delivered today.  It was part of the gallery’s adult programme and was for a group of  older and vulnerable adults who live in the locality of the gallery. The workshop was inspired by the tessellating shapes (that is shapes that fit together in patterns with no gaps) that can be seen in the printed fabrics and quilting in the gallery’s collection. We used squares as a starting point and modified them to create our own irregular tessellating shapes. Easier than it sounds! The results were successful and satisfying and it was lots of fun!

Over the next few weeks the groups will use their fabrics and other printing/embellishing techniques to make their own unique shopping bags.

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