Start with Art gets ship-shape, inspired by James Dodds

A selection of children's paintings.

On Monday 25th October, the Corn Hall staged its latest Start with Art event, organised by Rachel Baker of IMPS creativity. The auditorium hosted a series of creative activities for children inspired by the current James Dodds exhibition, Shaped By The Sea. The exhibition displays a series of large-scale oil paintings of working boats as well as linocut panoramas of coastal towns.

Encouraged by the painting techniques of Dodds, the children experimented with colour gradients, painting on linen and even using oil paints. One of the hallmarks of Dodds’ work is his appreciation of the boatbuilder, achieved through his precise depiction of a boat’s wooden design. This is most notable in the imposing ‘Mothership, Ceiba’ on display in The Corn Hall’s upper gallery; its skeletal wooden interior underscoring the craftmanship of the boatbuilders.

Start with Art invited children to experience wood in a variety of different ways. One activity saw those involved make clay imprints of wooden textures, while at another station children could try their hand at sandpapering wooden blocks. By emphasising the tactility and malleability of wood, the children were given an impression of what it might be like to construct a boat.

While each activity provided the children with preliminary instructions, it was ultimately their own creativity that would be the deciding factor. At the end of each session, a whole variety of wonderfully diverse artwork was produced.

One parent said, “We loved this event. It’s so unique and the children really engage in all the different activities.” Another commented, “A wonderful opportunity for little ones in Diss. A really valuable event. Thank you so much! We have been once before and will come again.”

James Dodds: Shaped by the Sea runs until 27th November.

A young boy applying paint on a brush.