Rachel Jane was an emerging artist with Expecting Something in Lochgelly. Here she explores what she has learned about her own practice from working with this unique audience.
It began as a wish to try something, a wish to find out about babies toddling and brand new.
Working with a demographic I had never experienced, I wanted to figure out what makes very young people and their grown ups excited when it comes to sensory theatre, what have they smelt or tasted that they loved or hated?
Is the smell of lavender a bit like marmite? Is the texture of play dough a fun, smooth one?
During my time as a Starcatchers emerging artist, it was really wonderful for me to feel so welcomed by the group in Lochgelly, Fife, they are a group that I would describe as a small but mighty collection of inspiring parents and incredible young wee people.
It was great for me to experience what excites and draws the young people in the group in and what makes them want to remove themselves from the activity. During our time together we made wind chimes, scented play-dough, messy portraits using new food following a scavenger hunt, and played the drums. I was initially quite nervous coming into the group because I didn’t have much experience with babies at all, but the group were brilliant at just getting me involved and soon I was chasing the little ones and cradling the even smaller ones all in one go. We made a mess and we made new things out of unexpected moments and it made me think deeply and passionately about how important it is for young parents to have access to this type of provision. Also having the opportunity to work with other artists in the large spacious room at Lochgelly was brilliant, as it allowed me a chance to get involved and observe and listen to the group’s needs or wants and be inventive when it came to choosing the following weeks activities. It allowed my practice to blossom and build in new layers and concerns I will take into future work.
Thanks to the adorable babies, the busy little toddlers and the incredibly warm and lovely mums, and thanks to Hazel & Kirstin for giving me this chance to play, explore and investigate my practice as an artist and wake up my senses again.