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  • Writer's pictureamanda haran

Jane Bevan: Collaborative Arts Supervision Applying The Foraging Method?

Jane Bevan searching for natural art materials in a wood with others
Foraging for natural materials for art making workshop with Jane Bevan

I had looked forward to nature adventuring with Jane Bevan since Christmas. As my invitation, Jane had sent a box of curated countryside treasures tied with a ribbon. This was such a thoughtful presentation for such a thoughtful workshop in a thoughtful setting.

Spending hours pouring over Alice Fox's natural work provided a perfect foundation. Still, there's something joyous about being given permission to play, experiment and learn with a group of like-minded souls. Feeling the pierce and pull of a needle and thread through a variety of leaves and how each yielded to different tensions; the moulding and curling of waxed cord through warmed hands; the basket weaving to combine small twigs topped with seed heads and, the smell of pine needles as we relaxed into organic creation, were highlights. A swarm of ladybirds had decided that today was the day that they would hatch and explore, and they massed inside the studio window, becoming a silent, attentive audience, sometimes landing on our work and hair.

A stick with two red and orange fungi clinging to it
Beautiful blooming fungi

As Radio 4 serenaded in the background, we allowed our fingers and the abilities of the natural materials supplied to dictate the making.

When studying psychotherapy, it was stressed that a practitioner had to earn the right to bear witness to someone else's truth. This was accomplished by having the courage to explore one's own history and its effects. As artists, we can sometimes lose our recognition of the need to experience meandering play for ourselves. Instead, we use all our energies to facilitate others. Jane's workshop is akin to a supervisory session in counselling, a place where you can unpack and appraise where you are as a collaborative creative leader.

insect made from twigs, leaves, seeds, shells, ivy
Imagined insect created from foraged twigs, leaves and organic material
A 'playful' spirit and workshop leader need a mandatory personal periodic play session to recharge, reconnect and reinstruct why they chose the path of community co-curation. I know of a colleague whose manager sends her to a pottery class once a week; I now understand why.



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