Strand Pool Mural Workshops – 16th and 23rd June 2019 – Rainham Riverside Park

Join artist Natasha Steer in designing artwork and stencils for a new mural on the side of The Strand Pool, Gillingham, which will be situated in the Commodores Hard slipway area (see photo).

This free session will involve sketching estuary plants and marine wildlife as well as helping to design stencils for use in creating the mural. All materials and inspiration will be provided and the workshop will take place in the Education Room in the visitor centre.

Suitable for adults and also children over the age of 5, should families wish to attend.

The mural is being created in collaboration with Medway Council and the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership.

Book your place at

http://creatabot.eventbrite.com

Valuing Arts and Culture In Medway and Kent – 22nd February 2018 – Gillingham

Valuing arts and culture in Medway and Kent-daytime workshops

Supported and funded by Medway Council’s Arts Development Team in partnership with Look Kloser Performing Arts Company. 

A day of creative workshops by some of Medway and Kent’s best practice arts led projects for health and wellbeing with and for the community.
22nd February 10am-4.15pm 

Suitable for students 16+, graduates, artists, and those interested in the role of the arts for the health and wellbeing of the community. An opportunity to experience current arts led projects available in Medway and Kent. 

When: 22nd February 2018, 10am-4.15pm

Where: Woodland Arts Centre, Woodlands Road, Gillingham, ME7 2DU

Birch room 

10-11- Natasha, Creatabot. Community focussed visual artist.

11.15-12.15 – Lance, Physical Folk. Using all art for all abilities, ages, cultures to share stories and skills.

2-3- Chris and Wendy, MESS ROOM. The MESS ROOM hosts artist led projects in partnership with local communities and beyond.

Ash dance studio 

11.15-12.15- Laura, Look Kloser. A workshop exploring how to make performing arts inclusive and open to all.

12.45-1.45- Georgia, Loop dance Company. Contemporary dance workshop.

2-3- Luci, Edna. Edna explore innovative and inclusive dance, music and movement activities for older people in the community.

3.15-4.15- Rebecca, Active Armchairs. Dance for older people in residential and daycare centres.

To book onto any of the workshop and for any queries please contact Laura King, lookkloser@gmail.com, 07809641214. 

The Dismal Time Machine – Medway Fun Palace 2015 – How It Was Made and Why

The Medway Fun Palace took place on the 3rd of October at Nucleus Arts in Chatham. After a lot of thought about what I might be able to contribute, I decided that with the impending Back To The Future II date in mind ( 21st of October 2015) I would create a Time Machine.

You see the problem already don’t you? For many weeks I was not quite sure how this was going to work. But I knew I would need a lot of boxes, due to the lack of a flux capacitor. In one of the Fun Palace meetings we spoke about lighting, a smoke machine, audio…within some type of large card box! 

Then one day, as I walked past a local greengrocers, I discovered tomato boxes. They are strong and they stack, and I have hot glue! What more could I need? Ah yes a helping hand!

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The boxes piled up in the Nucleus office!

Queue some workshops! Thank you to Stephen Bartholomew and family, Laura Fisher and family, Debbie Crow and Ben Boardman for supporting this crazy idea. Also Nucleus Arts for supporting the Time Machine project by providing space!

I soon realised that there was something missing as the machine started to take shape. It was lacking some comedy based around the fact the machine was made of tomato boxes. Then I realised, here was a strong connection to the absolutely incredible Dismaland, which I had been to within the first 3 days of opening may I add because…I am impatient. I started to plan how I could include an edge of Dismal to the experience for those who hadn’t made it to the real thing. I was so pleased when Esther agreed to be my fellow miserable colleague, to open the Time Machine to visitors.

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One of the installations at Dismaland – by Paul Insect

The machine took around 10 hours to finish, there was (did I mention?) tomato boxes, packing tape, gaffa tape and a lot of hot glue holding the machine together! We probably used around 100 small sticks of hot glue!

Once the ceiling had been secured, which mainly meant flat cardboard being securely taped to the box walls, the machine was surprisingly strong! This really is a great way to build an art installation.

Time Machine frame complete!
Time Machine frame complete!

We covered the inside of the machine with VHS tapes and weird vintage photographs, one was of a woman, Florence Priscilla, on an electric scooter in 1916.

Florence Priscilla
Florence Priscilla

I just had to make some finishing touches on the Saturday morning, get the fog machine going, and most importantly play the Power Of Love by Huey Lewis & The News and the Back To The Future Theme on a loop (I didn’t once get sick of it!). 

Someone brought their own mini installation of vicious, dangerous My Little Pony models, which were displayed to a backing track of “Only The Horses” By Scissor Sisters.

As our willing tourists came in they were handed an old Nokia mobile and given instructions to have a good time, but not too much of a good time. They walked through the machine to then be “greeted” by my assistant who told them there was a range of activities including climbing through a box, that went to no where, or taking a photo in the selfie hole.

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She explained though whatever they chose not to tell her as she didn’t really care. Anyone who touched the My Little Pony models were firmly told to not touch them as they were wild savage beasts. 

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They then got a text saying ” Now Get Out”.

Now I can’t really explain why…but we have over 100 people come through the Time Machine, some people even came back a second time. So that makes this my most successful exhibition yet. I didn’t have to smile once, which was great as I was ill. Unfortunately I couldn’t help but laugh quite a few times due to my assistants amazing improvisation, which at one point consisted of her telling visitors what happened to the last person that touched the ponies. She also told people to keep moving through the machine otherwise there won’t be a future for them to go to.

The entrance!
The entrance!
Inside the Time Machine
Inside the Time Machine

It really was a great day, we confused a lot of people, one lady left before she even went in (see, ‘actual’ time travel) one child cried. Definitely a success.

By Natasha Steer

natasha@creatabot.co.uk


On October the 3rd and 4th 2015 Fun Palaces took place across the UK. Fun Palaces are about creating and making together: they are a space where arts and sciences, fun and learning meet, working alongside and working together. See www.funpalaces.co.uk for more information. 

Medway’s Creative Spaces

Medway is lucky enough to have multiple arts spaces that each have something unique to offer. If you would like to book a days tour (for a small donation to the Creatabot project) please contact Natasha on natasha@creatabot.co.uk

Nucleus Arts

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Nucleus Arts is the Award Winning flagship arts organisation founded by the Halpern Charitable Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of the late Hilary Halpern and it was his dream to promote the Arts in Medway and Kent. Nucleus Arts has become the cultural and creative heart of Kent & Medway over the past 12 years and focuses on affordability, accessibility and excellence in the Arts. They run multiple workshops, events and training programmes.

The main centre is at 272 High Street, Chatham, where the gallery, conference room and main artists studios are based. The artists open studios are held here every 1st Saturday of the month for all to attend for free.

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Nucleus Arts also have creative studio space in Military Road, Chatham, Rochester High Street (which also includes retail space) and Lower Stone Street, Maidstone. All spaces have a lovely cafe managed by Cafe Nucleus.

Nucleus Arts are working in collaboration with multiple local charities on their Arts Inclusive programme to make sure the arts can be accessible to all.

Sun Pier House

Cinelouge

This Community Interest Company was formed in 2012 to support and promote the best of Medway’s talent, providing a base for established and start-up businesses in the creative sector.

Within the building, there is a large exhibition gallery, tea room, events space, hire rooms, artist studios, open plan creative office space with hot desk facilities, all enjoying a glorious panoramic view of the River Medway.

Sun Pier House CIC actively promotes the businesses working within Medway’s creative community, encouraging them to grow and develop to their full potential. Sun Pier House is right next to Sun Pier, Medway Street, Chatham.

POP Creative Space

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POP is an abandoned shop turned into a Creative space in the heart of Chatham, Medway. The shop has been funded by EU and Recreate and hosts various free events and exhibitions throughout the year. POP is at 64 – 66 High Street, Chatham.

Unravel and Unwind

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Unravel and Unwind are working to develop a “country cottage” style craft drop in centre for crafters of all abilities, ages, background and culture where they can come and craft while they socialise-practice-teach-learn.

Their aim is to create a friendly open environment,”a crafting home from home” ) where local crafters & families can practice, learn, teach and sell their crafts. A place where skills can be shared and new ideas encouraging community engagement, increasing social well-being, removing isolation and possibly mentoring transitions into employment. They are based at Intra Arts, 337-341 High Street, Rochester.

Intra Arts

intra

INTRA is a Medway based arts venue, hosting creative events, classes, activities and studios, and offering one of the best collections in Kent of specialist arts equipment accessible to the general public – especially specialist printing equipment.

The not for profit company Intra Arts Ltd. was formed in 2014 when they took on the former Spemco building in Rochester High Street. This Art Deco fronted, Victorian building is much loved in the historic area of ‘Chatham Intra’. Their aim is to provide an arts programme, creative opportunities and education in a space that welcomes people of all ages, abilities and circumstances. They are based at 337-341 High Street, Rochester.

Featured Creative: David Faltrego – Surreal Artist

les citroen

I love surreal art, Dali is one of my favourite artists in fact. So when I discovered David Faltrego’s work at Medway Open Studios last year I was excited to find a local artist creating surreal artwork. I thought everyone would be interested to find out more about David, who lives in Medway,  so here is a little interview with him…

So David, tell us more about your background and how you ended up creating surreal artwork?

Just prior to leaving school I was briefly interviewed by a recruitment representative from Maidstone Art College who wasn’t impressed. I had insufficient supporting grades, my portfolio was apparently of an unexceptional calibre and my “bolshie” attitude probably sealed my fate! I seriously doubt I would have lasted the course anyway as I don’t listen or rather I take on board only what interests me.

Today I paint whatever I please, as and when I please…

Other than an “A” Grade O Level, I’ve no further art qualifications. I have no awards and since I never submit to competitions I never will. Paradoxically my greatest delight in winning any award would be in politely declining it!

As a surrealist it can be a struggle both selling work and gaining acceptance into a gallery, since this particular genre is generally frowned upon and receives little credibility within the art world, particularly in the UK. Never the less I continue to plough a lone furrow quite simply because this is what I enjoy.

cattle of an udderworld

I began painting as a hobby, doing quite a lot of commission work throughout the 1980’s. However, by the end of the decade I’d become thoroughly bored with it all, I never really enjoyed commissions – but it funded some travelling at the time. This coincided with several galleries declining to show my work, leaving me totally disillusioned with the Art world. It was a further 12 YEARS before I picked up a brush, following persistent badgering from an ex work colleague who was into the “arts”. This time I was determined to do it differently – No more commission work and no appeasing others tastes. Self-indulgent? Absolutely!

I gradually amassed a small body of work to compliment my older material. By chance in passing, I stumbled upon the Nucleus Gallery in Chatham and I asked if I may hire their gallery for an exhibition. For the very first time I received a positive response without the stuffy, elitist attitude.

I had my first solo exhibition in May 2010, followed by two more in 2011 and 2012 and the feedback has generally been very good. Of course I cannot hope to please everybody, after all art is essentially subjective. You wouldn’t expect an opera lover to attend a punk rock concert but it’s still all music of sorts.

magic roundabout

Is your art your main income?

I know I’ll never make a living from painting, therefore it has always remained something I do in my spare time because I enjoy it. To pay the bills I have always worked in the printing industry as a Finisher, for a number of different companies in Kent.

Who inspires you both locally and universally?

Locally I would have to say several people connected with Nucleus Arts who have offered me encouragement particularly at the shops in Rochester and Maidstone.

On a much wider scale – since much of my work makes references to my childhood growing up in the 60s-70’s then my parents must take some credit. We certainly never had the material things but we did have everything that really matters, resulting in some of the best times that live on in my memories and sometimes resurface in my works.

Anything that messes with the logical way of thinking, the absurd, random thought process, etc – that’s what fascinates me!

Inspiration maybe stretching it but my art tutor at school could take some credit for allowing me virtual carte blanche to express myself rather than push me into the “traditional” route as he did with most others – although I’d have probably done as I please regardless! Universally, Artists I admire – Dali and Magritte (obviously), also Brueghel, Bosch and Vermeer who weren’t surrealists.

The music of the Beatles (post 1967) and Pink Floyd has influenced my thinking certainly. I’ve long since found inspiration from the surreal humour of Python and more latterly Eddie Izzard as well as the dark tales of the Brothers Grimm. Anything that messes with the logical way of thinking, the absurd, random thought process, etc – that’s what fascinates me!

serving the master

What are your plans for the future?

The future?, who knows. Currently I’m nearing completion of a whole new set of work due for exhibiting in August 2013 at Nucleus Chatham. Ideally I would like my work to be acknowledged with more credibility but I won’t hold my breath. A wider audience would be nice – that’s all.

Are there any other skills you would like to learn?

Other skills – not really. I’ve already discovered what I enjoy most and indeed what I do best. I simply wish to continue improving on what I’m already doing. As long as I have the ideas and desire to paint I will do so, but if or whenever I feel my standards are falling or I become disillusioned again, I will stop.

Are there any website you enjoy looking at?

I view Deviant Art, Red Bubble and Saatchi Gallery from time to time.

Thank you so much David for talking to us, we are really looking forward to seeing more of your work at the exhibition in August!

toys in the attic

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Lucia N°03 – The Lamp Of Inspiration – By Natasha Steer


 
They say everyone is creative. I believe everyone is born creative, but that if you let go of it, it is much harder to get back. Those who are non-creative are known to be more rigid in their thinking; they like rules and like to stick to them. Those who are creative are more spontaneous, like to be different and break the rules – us creative’s have issues with “walls”.

Recently the UCA Pop Up Gallery in Chatham was host to a visit from Lucia N°03 and it’s creators: Dr.Dirk Proeckl – a neurologist and psychologist, and Dr. Engelbert Winkler – a psychologist and psychotherapist.

Dr. Ernst Mussmann also joined them in the Gallery with his newly designed Vibrating chair.

Lucia N°03 is a lamp that contains white strobe LED lighting, when you sit in front of it with your eyes closed it stimulates the pineal gland and causes your brain to create a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns. The flickering LED light is controlled by a computer programme, which can be adjusted to suit the participant.

I read recently that those with more serotonin in their bodies tend to be more creative, whilst those with more dopamine are the non-creatives, as described above. Lucia N°03 not only stimulates the pineal gland but also the release of these hormones.

I asked one of the lamps creators, Dr. Winkler, whether older people found Lucia N°03 had little influence in comparison to younger people. Interestingly he explained that older people had the same results as younger people because they were more relaxed and had less pre judgements. He informed me that the most close-minded people couldn’t stand the results of the lamp and would want it switched off immediately.

We had some very interesting discussions that day, I am fascinated by the mind and having the opportunity to ask these doctors questions is something I won’t forget. We spoke about how the mind is resistant to change, and how there are those who know their life is going a certain way, that it is playing a certain story. I asked “But can they change that story?” One of the doctors replied, “You can” he paused “But, most people do not want to”.

Being someone who happily did change their story some time ago, you can imagine that I was happily the first to volunteer for a session with Lucia N°03.

An area of the UCA Pop Up Gallery had been sectioned off, and behind a black curtain was a comfy lounging chair and Lucia N°03. The chair had been created by Dr. Ernst Mussmann to help the person in it to relax. It emits sound by running the vibrations of frequencies through your body. I lay down and wooden “shoes” were put on my feet. I also laid my hands on wooden panels; these emitted the sound in a soft way to my body. The feeling this is supposed to reproduce is of being back in the womb, the brain is therefore relaxed, safe and your experience with Lucia N°03 will therefore be stronger.

Mussmann explained that the sound currently being played was the noise of the rotation of the earth, sped up. Amazingly he also informed me that if you were to put the frequency of this sound to a colour, it would be green. The Doctors have also been working alongside an aroma therapist, so I had some natural oils put on my hands to inhale and again, help me relax.

I was told that at first I would have a soft session for 2 minutes to check everything was okay. I had headphones put on, was told to close my eyes, and then I waited. I was very relaxed. The light switched on, and to start with I felt like I was laying in the sun. But what was strange was that it felt like the light was changing colour, but I knew it wasn’t. After a 2 minute test run the Dr started a 15-minute soft programme. He said it was very soft, and added to this the sound level I had chosen to have the chair set at was also low.

Again, it felt like I was laying in the sun to start with. Then after about 4 minutes, something happened. Everything started moving, and there were suddenly colours and patterns everywhere. As I moved my eyes around the pattern would move and change even more. It was like looking through a kaleidoscope, with the patterns ever changing. I had a short break between each experience, which I assumed was to give me a rest, but it turned out it was just a softer point of the programme and not everyone gets a break. I was told I could have a stronger session later on in the day.

Each persons experience is unique to them, for some reason my brain appears to love triangles. I spent the day drawing what I saw on my first session, so that you can see for yourself.

The stronger session later in the day was indeed stronger. The sound levels were made higher and the programme was stronger – more strobe patterns. I saw patterns and colours again, but this time with no breaks in between, the patterns just moved and changed continuously. I felt so relaxed. I wondered whether I could control what I was seeing though, so I tried to, I told my brain I wanted to see flowers. What happened? All the patterns stopped! As soon as I was not relaxed and just letting my brain enjoy the experience the patterns and colours were weaker. So I realised that this lamp was an amazing relaxation aid. In order to have a stronger experience I had to relax. It was something that I took away with me actually, I have learnt from it what “relaxing” actually is, that feeling of emptying your mind.

For this reason (and some unexplainable others) the Austrian doctors have found the lamp to help those that have certain issues in changing their life. It helps them to see themselves in a different perspective, which then helps to adjust their thinking and help the brain organise information better. When you are fully relaxed and enjoying the colours and patterns, you see your problems from another point of view, and it can help you to make some changed either mentally or physically to make things better. 

The mind is an amazing organ, and we will never understand the depths of it. One of the doctors spoke about how light and consciousness are so similar, neither can be fully explained and our understanding of them is so small.

The lamp makes someone who maybe isn’t creative; think in a more creative way. And for those who are creative, well it is inspiring and really gets your creative juices flowing.

 To find out more about Lucia N°03 visit: 

www.gesund-im-licht.at

UCA Pop Up Gallery: www.ucapopupgallery.co.uk


 

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Networking Vs Making Friends – By Natasha Steer

Networking can be quite a scary word to a lot of creatives, it evokes the thought of dressing up smartly and becoming someone they are not in order to secure business. Often at organised networking events you swap business card with potential clients and are asked awkward questions like “so where do you work?” and “how do you make money?” rather than the more interesting question of “what are you working on at the moment?”.

3 years ago I started going to a monthly event in Rochester, Kent, called Tuttle 101 – a relaxed event with a collection of various types of people focused on inspiration, collaboration and learning through doing. First held upstairs in a local pub the event now happens once a month in a local coffee bar. Yes this one single event opened up a whole new world to me, and through it I have made friends, not “contacts”.

Tuttle 101 lead on to the majority of us converting an empty bank into a co-working space, called coFWD. Here we work on our own personal projects, and similar to the ethos of Tuttle 101, we bounce ideas off one another and help each other to do what we do even better. This is not an office space, we even hung balloons from the ceiling to prove this. It is a community space, we hold various events for the local area, and we do things together socially as well. I describe it as working in a place where you have chosen all the people you want to work with.

 

So when did people start thinking that a networking event would encourage creatives? As a creative I can speak for most of us and say that often our motive is not money, it is to make a difference in the world. We want to earn a living yes, but do we want to start discussing how much money we make? No, our inspiration does not come from money, it comes from projects, people and places – to name a few.

I have yet to meet a creative who enjoys “networking” events, however I know many creatives who are happy to meet up for a coffee. Yet people continue to try and connect with creatives by arranging fancy meetings and networking events or workshops with the aim of “expanding business” and “making profit”. A huge majority of the time these type of events never really connect with the creatives invited.

Maybe some money minded people think they are helping a creative by convincing them to become more business orientated. I can tell you now, it isn’t going to work, our whole life’s ambition is to make things much more important than money. So if you are a business reading this, think about how you can help them make a difference, not make money. As Albert Einstein said “Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.”

By Natasha Steer

@natashasteer

natasha@creatabot.co.uk

The next Tuttle 101 event is on Monday 17th September 2012 at 9.30am at the Deaf Cat Coffee Bar, Rochester, ME1 1LX

If you would like to know more about coFWD please email me at natasha@creatabot.co.uk

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No Bell Prize 2012 – 14th September – Rochester – Kent

Creatabot presents an evening of invention, ideas and science. Many of us have had a crazy concept for a gadget or some type of aid for life. Yes most of them worryingly ended up on Google patents, but maybe you have one that you are not afraid to share.

The No Bell prize has only one rule for your inventions…a pretty obvious one. If you want me to spell it out…it mustn’t have any bells!

Creatabot will be picking 3 winners for the No Bell prize 2012, who will then be presented with a certificate and a round of applause.

Please bring drawings, prototypes and ideas to the evening – which will be held at 161 High Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1EH on the 14th September at 7.30pm.

Tea and coffee will be provided.

Please book via www.nobelprize2012.eventbrite.co.uk or www.facebook.com/events/177018619099647/

Please note, our venue (http://coFWD.org/) is a very old bank building that is being slowly shaped by a community of individuals for long-term Community Interest. Sadly the startup project is in its infancy and being run on limited funds so the building currently has some accessibility issues. If you have specific access or disability requirements and would like to attend an event or activity please let us know at least 5 days before the event date so that we can do our utmost to resolve any potential problems to accommodate.

Area: South East

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull Inspired Art Exhibition – UCA Pop Up Gallery – Chatham – 14th to 28th July 2012

The UCA pop up gallery in Chatham has a new exhibition between the 14th and 28th of July. The exhibition is inspired by the book “Jonathan Livingstone Seagull” by Richard Bach. The story follows the tale of how a seagull becomes tired of his seagull friends who continuously squabble over food and decides to instead concentrate on his flying skills. As a result he is outcast by the other seagulls and becomes a loner. He soon finds though that his brave, rebellious move has made his life more worthwhile and embarks on a whole new journey in his life.

 The artists exhibiting work inspired by the novel include Adam Piper, Sarah Wright, Kyveli Anastassiadi, Christine Hall, Alan Monk, Carolyn Birchall, Clair Archer, David Bradley, Eleanor Macfarlane, Layla Moore, and Richard Curtis. Natasha Steer is also exhibiting her unique interactive piece entitled “To Be Carried Out”. The canvas contains over 30 positive quotes from various historical figures including Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Henry Ford. The quotes are written onto cards signed by Natasha which can be taken away to keep, but if so must be replaced by another positive thought.

The UCA pop up gallery is in the upper level of the Pentagon shopping centre, Chatham.

Area: South East