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East Anglian artists develop their creative practice at Hadleigh Library BLOC Lab

{% include /c/figure.html src="/images/featured/featured-hadleigh-art.jpg" alt="Works-in-progress at Hadleigh Library, clockwise from top left: body sculpture by Lucy Edwards, folk figure by Will Wright, Cyanotype prints by Ellie Seymour" caption="Works-in-progress at Hadleigh Library, clockwise from top left: body sculpture by Lucy Edwards, folk figure by Will Wright, Cyanotype prints by Ellie Seymour" %}

Last week (12-16 August), Hadleigh Library hosted their very first BLOC Lab, with five East Anglian artists from different disciplines creating and working alongside each other in a library space.

Throughout the week, the artists worked on their own projects and personal development in the library's conference room and main space, where they interacted with customers and staff, including the Top Time group for over-55s. They heard talks from guest speakers from the arts industry and were supported with the option to speak to Suffolk Libraries' mental health and wellbeing co-ordinator, Sarah Lungley. They also had the chance to get to know each other in new settings, with local walks and a shared meal.

At the end of the week, they had the opportunity to reflect on how they had found the experience. There was an overwhelmingly positive response, reinforcing the idea that libraries are an integral part of their communities, offering experiences and interactions beyond traditional expectations. Their comments included:

"Working in the library and amongst other artists felt like being part of the wider world and a safe space to try ideas that had always been put to one side."

"It was like being given permission to be a proper artist for the week."

"The library felt very safe; safe to have our artwork out in the public and to talk to people."

"The library feels like a trusted space, and that having worked here it feels as if there is a legacy that needs to be acknowledged."

"The residency gave time to develop things and a chance to try something new."

The five artists were:

  • Lucy Edwards, who makes beautiful, small ceramic figures which convey the importance of being kind to yourself and which celebrate and express the senses of wellbeing, connection, acceptance, gratitude and joy.
  • Will Wright, who has built a career directing film and video and is now exploring the fine arts of painting, modelling, print and performance all influenced by, and with an underlying expression of, his interest in shamanism and mythology throughout time.
  • Henry Driver, who specialises in combining arts and technology to create immersive and thought-provoking artworks which explore future and current issues.
  • Ellie Seymour, who uses found materials to produce works inspired by her love of the natural world and whose artworks seek to question our relationship with nature.
  • Rebecca Goss, who is the author of three full-length poetry collections and is currently working on a new collection titled The Suffolk Poems, a poetic sequence about people who use their hands to make a living in rural East Anglia.

The BLOC (Building Libraries On Creativity) project aims to support local arts and artists and to give a chance for local communities to explore creative activities with their own libraries. Find out more about BLOC →