You could reasonably expect a workshop called Making Art out of the Everyday, to be a crafty cotton reels, silver foil, washing up bottle kind of affair. Michelle Dee went down to Artlink, all ready to get busy with the sticky-back plastic. What she found when she arrived was that this was going to be a theatre/performance workshop of sorts.

Led by artist Rhiannon Armstrong the participants were led through a series of ice breaker get to know you exercises then a 45 second twist on speed dating where each had to introduce themselves to the other responding to a particular question set by Rhiannon. The question was: What made you the artist you are today? For artist read ‘creative’ person, because as Rhiannon says, we are all creative in our lives in some way.

Rhiannon Armstrong - photo by Jerome Whittingham
Rhiannon Armstrong: Here to help us all. Photograph by Jerome Whittingham @photomoments

So you listen to the other person and then you have to be yourself, while attaching the life story you just heard in 45 seconds, and honour it. It’s all a bit theatre: it’s about audience expectations and how it feels to have someone else owning the facts about you. It was a really engaging and thought-provoking process, but that’s not the whole story, that wouldn’t even be one word.

It would be unfair to reveal the rest of the exercises that took place during the session, lest to say, there were times when the levels of emotion and connection, within the group were heightened. To get the best out of the session you had to give a little, be ready to put yourself out there, let the cards fall where they may. Not be afraid of the unknown and to immerse yourself in the process.

The workshop loosely, or not so depending on your own appreciation, was a continuation of the installation experience International Archive of Unsaid Things, currently housed in the foyer of Hull Truck 10 – 4pm until Sunday.

The realworld/online experience involves participants listening to an example of their choice of a previous submission, through headphones while cocooned in a handmade, hand-stitched quilt that carries message s of love made by Rhiannon herself. You can add your own unsaid thing to the archive, which becomes part of the body of work. Having watched people experiencing the artwork it can be an emotional and also cathartic experience – with a safety net of anonymity – to finally have the chance to say that thing you never said and be moved by the other entries in the archive.

Rhiannon’s contribution to Heads Up Festival does not end there, on Saturday 8 October she will be somewhere in Hull engaged in helping people. Equipped with a tool belt containing all the things she could possibly need, she will be offering help and something of herself, to the populous at large. Look out for Rhiannon in her bright yellow shirt asking Can I Help You? Follow #FreeHelp

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