The smell of baking bread could sell ice to Eskimos, so an outward looking Arts Centre decided to harness the power of bread and use it as the focus for one of its Doorstep Art Projects.
‘Many people are put off by the idea of coming into an Art Centre because they perceive it as highbrow’ said Gayle Knight who runs the Oswaldtwistle Centre. ‘Doorstep Art Projects actually send artists to people’s doorsteps and invite them to join in.’
Helen Sargeant, an artist inspired by the female form, was selected from a number of applicants to run the bread project. At home with her young son, Helen had just re-discovered the joys of making bread by hand when her bread maker broke down: ‘Instead of getting it repaired, my son and I were having fun making all sorts of woman-shaped breads together!’
The project became known as Lord Street Loves Bread, a four day workshop spread over a month, designed to bring local Lord Street residents into the Arts Centre for making, baking, sharing and eating bread over a knead and a natter.
The Civic Arts Centre is at the end of Lord Street, and to inspire the residents of Lord Street to come along, Helen made batches of bread and knocked on every single door offering them some bread and inviting them to participate in the project.’
Sadly Lord Street turned out to have very few people who were at home during the day and able to come. ‘The important thing is that we made that invitation’ says Gayle. ‘Even if they couldn’t come for whatever reason, hopefully now they realise that our Arts Centre, the big building at the end of their street, is also place where homely things like bread are made.’
But other people seized the opportunity to make bread with this warm and welcoming local artist. Over the next four weeks they made many types of bread, from Basic white to Soda Bread, Sour Dough to Wholewheat Honey Bread. Their recipes and experiences have all been shared on the website.
Another successful project was the Lantern Making Workshop, where artist Caroline Daly offered evening classes in lantern making. On this occasion the residents of the street did take part, and had the joy of seeing their lanterns used to decorate the street for Halloween at the end of the project. And more projects are planned for the New Year.
Contacts: Oswaldtwistle Arts Centre
Helen Sargeant: Lord Street Loves Bread
The projects were partly funded by the People’s Health Trust, and were supported by local donors such as Asda and Tescos, while the organic flour and olive oil was donated by One Planet, the Accrington co-operative.