Tessa Waite & Monmouthshire Housing Association

Visual artist Tessa Waite has been responsible for the design and themes of the Aerial project since January, 2014. She has worked with a variety of community groups and never fails to inspire and engage her participants. One of the workshop groups for the Aerial project were drawn from residents of the Monmouthshire Housing Association.

“The workshops were based around the beauty of the natural world; plants in particular. We began looking at plants that I had brought in, guessing their identity. We then shared our associations to plants; their colour and fragrance.

Following on from this we handled and discussed plant material. Looking at its particular shape and form led to creating compositions, which we translated into sun prints. This brought the magic of light, shadow and shape literally into focus. This process engaged everyone and we marvelled at the simple, exquisite results. They really began to open up to new ideas. There was a tangible sense of excitement.

Once I had enlarged the prints they became the basis for discussion and analysis as we identified shapes within them. These were then drawn out and sent to the students at King Henry High School, where they were cut into acrylic shapes. On seeing the results they were really amazed at the crisp shiny shapes.

I was humbled and delighted at how open and receptive they were to these images. They could see the links to their own work and got a sense of the bigger context of the project. The images provoked a wide-ranging discussion on the variety of human experience.

It was a gentle process of building trust, sharing ideas and working methods. A small yet beautifully formed group had come together to create something new and different. There was a tangible sense of pleasure and achievement.”

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