Banners of Chard

A Somerset Art Works project creating community banners for the town  

Banners of Chard 

Lead Artist for the Banners Project – Jenny Mellings – will develop workshops with the Chard community to co-create banners with local relevance and reference, for showcasing at a community celebration during the Spring Festival 2022.

Five striking banners – collective pieces, with imagery created by many different people/groups through workshops, drawn together, collated and beautifully presented by the project artist appointed by Somerset Art Works.

The Chard skyline will run across all banners to link them, with different elements of Chard imagery/heritage/culture/stories in the foreground. 
Created through printmaking and textile elements, the banners will be approx 1.2m wide by 2m long.

‘One of the key goals of the project is to find ways of bringing people back together after many months of gloom, ill health and restriction. It is hoped that we will celebrate the best aspects of Chard, its people, culture, and environment, in ways that the community can engage with, enjoy and feel proud of.’    

Jenny Mellings

The workshops will take place from July 2021 – March 2022 (Covid allowing).
The Guildhall will host a community celebration/ sharing event in the period 25 April – 01 May 2022 as part of the new Spring Cultural Festival. The banners will also been shown at other places within the town, eg empty shops, schools, churches etc.

Jenny Mellings:

“Towards the end of a time that has isolated so many people across Britain and the world, it is a particular pleasure and privilege to embark on the Banners of Chard project. As lead artist I will be working with a number of groups and communities as part of the Culturally Chard programme planned for 2021-2024.
Making five new banners for the town will be part of this, and with open minds we are beginning to gather ideas for this collective effort to make something interesting and beautiful for a space that is a setting for many town events. 

Having already met some helpful and enthusiastic Chard citizens, spent time walking around the town and environs, and had a few visions as to how the banners might take shape, more detailed research must begin.

What better place to start than at Chard Museum? It is a treasure of a place run by volunteers with a tremendous amount of local knowledge between them and a generous willingness to share it. After two visits and tours with them, my mind is already crowded with exciting possibilities for both the content of the five fabric panels and the methods by which they could be made.

The next steps will be about making connections between aspects of Chard history, and its realities today from different perspectives, through a series of activities with various groups. Therefore the contents of any sketches of the banners are likely to alter and evolve between now and well into the autumn as many people share their ideas and creative responses.  Gradually these will be collated together with the idea of making something coherent and visually balanced. The workshops will focus on wellbeing, nature, the town centre, local history, food, culture, diversity, geography and industry. At this point I’m hoping that for the participants, the journey towards the creation of the banners will be as interesting and enjoyable as eventually seeing them put in place. It is likely that many more ideas and images will be generated than can fit onto the final pieces, and so the preparation itself should be worthwhile for all who are involved.”

Lead Artist – Jenny Mellings

Painting is at the heart of Jenny Mellings practice, alongside photography, film and installation. Ongoing themes include landscapes, current events, space, architecture, dreams, memory, virtual worlds, nature, and the environment. She has also worked as a fine art lecturer, art history teacher, workshop leader and curator of young people’s exhibitions. www.jennymellings.com

Planned Activity

Launch event Saturday 10 July
11am – 3pm, Drop in workshops throughout, outside the Guildhall

Chard Watch Group 
Chard WATCH reaches out and engages with isolated adults needing support. https://watchproject.org.uk/ 
Somerset Art Works’ will work with the Chard Watch group through our Quiet Places for Unquiet Minds wellbeing project https://somersetartworks.org.uk/quiet-places-for-unquiet-minds/
The Watch group will host 12 x half day artist workshops, starting August 2021.  

School Workshops – Holyrood Academy
Artist Workshops in school x 4 full days 

Chard Museum
4 x half day artist workshops held at the museum to explore Chard history and heritage and the collection to inform imagery for the banners.

Diverse community groups 
4 x half day artist workshops held at the Guildhall to explore Chard history and heritage and also new cultural influences and cultural diversity in the town.  

Ruritage Farm Days
Linking up with Take Art’s Ruritage project https://takeart.org/ruritage
4 x full days of artist workshops with schools and families to explore local food production and growing and its connection to the high street. To create imagery for the banners. Workshops to take place at local farms.
Families – August ’21 x 2 days
Manor Court Primary – Sept ’21 x 2 days

End of project Community celebration and showcase event
Revealing the finished banners at the Guildhall, Spring Festival April 2022. Banners will be on display, drop in artist workshops, local food and drink for refreshments. During the period 25 April – 01 May 2022  


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