DAVENHAM VILLAGE MOSAIC GRAND OPENING IN THEATRE YARD SUNDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2:00 PM
Twelve months of workshops and masterminding by a small but dedicated team comes to fruition as the Community mosaic is unveiled. The mosaic will of course be the star of the day but there will be other things to do that afternoon. The theatre members will be providing tea and cakes and telling the public about the drama season starting at the theatre from September onwards. Jan Johnson will be holding an exhibition of her other mosaic works and offering mosaic classes to start in the Autumn.
There will be stalls in the theatre and yard including plants and garden ornaments from Tony our gardener, children’s books from local author Mike and other local craft and provisions.
Come along to the theatre yard, 59 Church Street, Davenham, Northwich CW9 8NF at 2:00pm and join in the fun and celebration.
HOW THE PROJECT STARTED
Arts Council England awarded a grant of almost £10,000 to Davenham Players so that it could work with professional artists and village residents of all ages to create a giant mosaic showing scenes of the village’s community life for permanent exhibition on a wall outside the drama group’s theatre. But how did it all start?
One sunny day last Summer, our theatre’s neighbour, Jan Johnson, came to the theatre committee with a Plan – a fascinating but challenging plan. A plan that is coming to fruition right now.
Jan said to us “You know that yard between the theatre and my house?”. “Yes” we replied, “the place where we keep the bins?)”. “That’s the one. I want to create a Community Mosaic in it !!!”.
And that’s how it all started just over a year ago. Jan then explained in detail what she had in mind. How the overall picture of the mosaic would show scenes of Davenham village. How it would be designed, how it would be constructed in panels, how the panels would be mounted together to cover an entire exterior wall and how people of all ages and skills were going to be involved. Jan already had mosaic experience (see photos) and had established contacts with a renowned mosaicist Mark Kennedy in Manchester. Jan originally took up mosaic-making in 2010 and since then has gained a Master in Mosaico diploma from one of the world’s top-rated mosaic schools, in Venice. But she had never attempted a work on this scale. Would the theatre committee trust in her enthusiasm and knowledge to complete the project?
Well, there was no problem persuading the committee to back the idea. We like to think of our theatre in Davenham (just outside Northwich, Cheshire) as a community centre for the arts and this aim is the main guiding principle in our constitution.
First of all, we told Jan she could go ahead with her plans and that the committee were right behind her. Next we got an application off to ACE (Arts Council England) – something new to us and that will give us valuable experience for the future when we approach larger projects. It took a couple of months, but ACE said “yes” too and off we went. I think ACE possibly were impressed by the project’s intention to provide all comers “to be an artist for a day”.
That was in 2015. Now the mosaic panels are completed awaiting fabrication of the frame on the wall and final finishing in situ. The date for the unveiling has been set for Sunday 11th September when the Davenham community will see the totality of what they have been working on in small groups over the months. And what is remarkable to me is the wide range of people (aged 8 to 80) who have been involved. They will be able to look at the wall and say “I did part of that school/pub/cow”.
For the latest news on progress and plans, see Facebook page The Davenham Village Mosaic Project here.
Among the aspects of Davenham depicted on the mosaic are the stone bridge at the boundary of the village, the river which gives the village its name, the parish church, a row of historic cottages and the village’s distinctive war memorial.
Some tiles have been bought and some donated by residents, local builders and Northwich DIY stores. Jan Johnson explains: “The beauty of a mosaic of this size is that we have incorporated unexpected materials.”
To find more, book a workshop place, or get involved with the mosaic project in other ways, please use one of the following contacts:-