Pilgrims on Parade

Client: British Museum

Background

Client brief: To research, plan and deliver a five week art workshop for families, tying in with the Treasures of Heaven exhibition
and culminating in a large-scale artwork. The drop-in workshop has to engage participants of mixed abilities and ages, creating
a constantly growing installation which will be on show to the general public in the Great Court.

My concept: To build a giant 3D map showing five important pilgrimage sites from the medieval period with the concept of pilgrimage
reinforced by a parade of pilgrims travelling from site to site. Participants will create these pilgrims and also their own pilgrim badge
as a souvenir of their pilgrim’s visit to the site focussed on each week:

1. Canterbury Cathedral, England
2. Santiago de Compostela, Spain
3. Mont-Saint-Michel, France
4. St. Peter’s Basilica, Italy
5. Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

Objectives: As a holiday activity, the emphasis is on having fun and being creative, but with the opportunity to learn a little about pilgrimage and be inspired to find out more in the exhibition. By contributing to a large installation, the participants have the opportunity to see their own work on display in the amazing surroundings of the British Museum!

Preparation

Research: Included working out the pilgrimage route; sourcing and researching the five pilgrimage sites, their relevant saints, relics and associated stories; researching pilgrim badges; finding out about relevant symbolism; researching the style of illustration used in the medieval period.

Reference sheets: I created a separate reference sheet for each pilgrimage site, allowing me to give both historical and also visual information to guide and inspire each participant with the design for their pilgrim and badge.

Templates: I designed templates of both pilgrims and pilgrim badges to provide a starting point for the wide range of ages and abilities of participants and also to create a more consistent look to the finished installation. Participants were encouraged to explore styles of clothing from the time and think about what their pilgrim may be carrying on their journey, and to find out what a pilgrim badge’s purpose was. The templates included instructions on how to complete and assemble.

Illustration, models and design: To distinguish each individual pilgrimage site I made some simple card models of the buildings, adding a medieval style flag with the name of the site on it. To give an instant medieval look, I used a black and white woodcut style of illustration throughout, which was continued on the base map and also various illustrations and models of trees, smaller buildings, sea monsters and ships which I added as the workshop progressed.

Delivery

With an estimated 1500 participants each week, I work closely with my facilitators to ensure the workshop is running smoothly.
I concentrate on putting the finished artwork together, engaging with the participants and discussing their finished artwork before
placing it with my own models and illustrations to give a coherent, fun look to the finished installation.

Here are some images of the Pilgrims on Parade

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