The Idea : Our 1987 Summer Tour (part of Merseyside Play Action's Artists on Playschemes Initiative) was based on the participatory exhibition 'Eat Your Art Out' held at the Bede Gallery Jarrow in February 1987. As at Jarrow the participants picked a letter out of a 'hat' and then chose a fruit or vegetable beginning with that letter. They could then have a juice made with their fruit/veg plus two others; and/or pick an object beginning with the same letter as their vegetable/fruit and make a work using the available materials.
At Jarrow we had discovered how little some participants knew about the range of fruit and vegetables available - so in the play scheme there was an emphasis on education around diet and healthy eating.
How It Worked:
The Room Lay Out : all the fruit and vegetables available were displayed either in the compartments within a pigeon hole display unit or in the case of larger items (pineapples, cauliflowers, etc) in baskets hung at the side of the unit.
Above and below the fruit and vegetables displayed in their pigeon holes and on top of the Unit.
At any given time there were around 80 different fruit and vegetables on display ranging from the commonplace to the exotic. That is from brussel sprouts to eddoes and from apples to kumquats. All the fruit and vegetables were fresh so since it was August we could not source some items such as fresh rhubarb.
In front of the display unit was a counter on which juices could be made, tasted and discussed. Each side of the counter were storage units for glasses, spoons etc.
Above young people getting to grips with fruit and vegetable juices.
The rest of the room was set up to create the works with a set number of stations each with a box containing appropriate artists materials and a place to work.
Above a picture of the room showing the layout of the various work stations.
The Eat Your Art Out tour was focused entirely upon young people; so as to assist them we provided books covering the painting of still life; a range of books on objects (that people might want to include in their works) and books on healthy eating.
Above the display of works from Jarrow and those made during the playscheme and a table where you could read about fruit and vegetables and the painting of still lives.
The books that were available are listed below.
Making The Works :
Alongside the selected vegetable/fruit and objects people had a choice of materials. We used the same boxes and materials as at Jarrow. People had the opportunity to draw, paint with oils, acrylics, watercolours or poster paints, to make collages and to use polaroid photography.
Above young people creating works in a range of media
As with all our participatory exhibitions the staff are there to offer advice and help. This is even more important when working with young people, many of whom would have never come across oil paints, etc. So it was usual for there to be a lot of discussion before anyone even started work.
As can be seen from the pictures left and above these can be practical planning sessions based around the materials being used or detailed planning meetings.
The Works :
The works above : Apples and acrobatics; Aubergine and aeroplane
The works above :- Banana and bag, banana and beanstalk and banana and bubbles.
The works above:- beetroot and beach; carrot and car; and carrot and cat.
The works above - cauliflower and cucumber collage, courgette and cockatoo, and cucumber and clock.
The works above:- eggplant and eggs, and eddoes and eye.
The works above :- grapes and glass; and kiwi and koala.
The works above:- lemon and light, and lemon and love.
The works above:- lettuce and luggage, and lettuce and lane.
The works above:- lettuce and lips; nectarine and net; pear and pairs, and strawberry and shoes
The Books Used :
On Fruit and Vegetables :
Raw Juices For Health,
Eating Your way To Health - Ruth Bircher
The Complete Book of Fruit - Dick Pijpers,
The Exotic Vegetable Book - produced and published by The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Information Bureau.
The Exotic Fruit Book - published as above
Fresh Fruit Facts - as above
The Case for Natural Ingredients - (report examining consumer attitudes of food additives & general diet) - Gallup in assoc. with Graham Poulter Partnership.
Diet & Nutrition - Fyffes Group
Fruit of The Wisemen - Fyffes Group
Information & Recipes from Safeway Publications on Paw Paw, Passion Fruit, Mangoes, Courgettes, Aubergine, Fennel, Celeriac, Kenya Beans
Fact Sheet-Fruits - Tesco Consumer Advisory Service
On Painting Still Lifes:
David Hockney Camera Works - Ed. Raymond Faye
The Irresistible Object - Still Life - 1600-1985 by Alexander Robertson
The Observer Book Of:-
Caterpillars - David J Carter
Farm Animals - Lawrence Alderson
Flowering Trees & Shrubs - Stanley B Whitehead
Insects - E.F.Linssen & Hugh Newman
Large Moths - R.L.E.Ford
Pets - Tina Hearn
Vintage Cars & Pre-War Classics - Mark white
Zoo Animals - Jan Harley
The Venues :
The playscheme took place in four venues over 4 weeks. Each place was visited for a week, two days of preparation and five days of work.
Week 1: Mill Farm Adventure Playground, Kirby; week 2: Woodchurch Community Centre, Birkenhead; week 3: Walton Youth Club, Liverpool; week 4; Breckfield Playscheme, Liverpool.
The Mystery Coach Trip :
The playscheme ended with a mystery bus tour. This included not only young people who had taken part in the Eat Your Art Out sessions but also young people from the Blackie.
The young people were divided into 6 groups, each group had two adults. Three groups had a poet and three did not.
The game for the day was based around Meetings and Poetry. The following is based around the only description we have of how the day worked.
1. On coach on the way there 2 stops for poems. Both adults and kids. For everyone.
2. At Wigan Pier. Each group with a poet in it finds a group without a poet, arranges a meeting place and time and has a reading of adult and kids poems - suggested venue picnic area
3 At Hey Hall - as at Wigan Pier poet group to find different poet group and do reading.
(2 and 3 are at poets groups' motivation).
4. Poems on request - at other groups' motivation
5. 1 farewell poetry session on coach back.
The poets were Levi Tafari, Dave Ward and John Walsh.
Forty six young people and adults went on the trip.
The following is not a complete list so anyone out there who took part and is not listed do let us know.
Eat You Heart out was led by Sally Morris assisted by Christine Ashworth, Nicky Dewison, Alice Nonstock, Malcolm Cox, Louise Hall, Paula Jones, Bill Walshe (who took the photographs), and the Play Leaders at all four centres.
Sadly we have no definitive record as to who gave us help with the tour. But to those who did - many thanks.