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Mark Daniels absorbed in the creation of his model boat made from recycled materials.

Mondays in March are for Model Making!

The great joy in 1970s households was the cereal packet. Vouchers and gifts could be found inside them, and when you had finished munching their edible contents, there was nothing better to do than cut them up to make models. This is why artist Mark Daniels seized on the opportunity to get involved with the ATownExploresABook22 Art Trail inspired by Rumer Godden’s 1972 novel, The Diddakoi. HOT’s Erica Smith limbers up for a session with scissors and cardboard.

Every Monday in March, Mark will lead drop in sessions from 11am-2pm at Hattons Yard. The sessions are for anyone who wants to regain that childhood feeling of joy and total absorption you get from making miniatures. The models will be part of the Festival Art Trail and will be displayed in windows, in trees and on fences all over St Leonards between 1–18th April. You are encouraged to make a model of anything that takes your fancy, but if you are in need of inspiration, there will be some pre-prepared pieces so you can easily make a boat,  a horse or a waggon.

If you aren’t able to make the sessions but want to get involved, you are very welcome to make models at home and display them during the festival. Last year’s Owl Trail was a huge success with over 150 home-made owls on display across St Leonards. We’d love this year’s festival trail to be bigger and better – so get model-making – and encourage your neighbours to start cutting up their cereal packets too!

Some of Mark’s matchbox church collection.

Mark’s passion for models has inspired a personal collection of churches made from matchsticks by dedicated crafters from previous generations. He loves that model making is highlighted in Rumer Godden’s Whitbread Prize winning novel. The book contains a whole village of characters and it is Admiral Twiss, with his passion for model making, that lies at the heart of this festival craft project. The Admiral, a war veteran, is a retiring personality, content to make models of boats and buildings. He shuns the responsibilities associated with his perceived role as squire of a Sussex village and attracts criticism for hosting a gypsy family in his orchard and respecting their traditions. He doesn’t ‘fit the mould’ so quietly forges a life true to himself.

Three St Leonards on Sea community groups are at the centre of this community project. Hastings and Bexhill Mencap’s Active Arts artists will be working with Ann Bloomfield and invited artist Juliette Dodd. The Seaview makers will be working with Storytime’s Lily Guttierez and artists from Arts on Prescription will be working with Tara Reddy and her team of creatives.

If you would like to attend the Model Makers Mondays workshops, please RSVP to Erica Smith at communityprojects@explorethearch.com. Erica says “Everyone is welcome to drop in on Mondays in March, but we’d like to know if you are coming so we can plan ahead. Materials will be provided, but please bring your own cereal packets, recycled materials and scissors if you can! Hattons Yard is a lovely, friendly space and is well ventilated. We would love to see you there!”

ATownExploresABook festival opens on Friday 1 April and runs to Monday 18 April. You can keep a track of all the plans by checking in to the Festival website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We would be thrilled if  everyone in St Leonards made a model of something for the festival and displayed it in their window from 1–18 April.

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Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 10:37 Thursday, Feb 17, 2022 In: Community Arts

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