MIMA Discover Arts Award at Home

02 September 2020

Arts Award Discover at Home with MIMA

Discover at Home is a special edition of Arts Award which celebrates children’s creative achievements and is the first level of Arts Award. We are working in partnership with nine organisations across the North East to support the remote delivery of Discover level Arts Awards. Find out more 

MIMA kindly shared one of their Arts Award Discover at Home stories with us, which highlights the work of artist Phoebe, aged 7. Phoebe was part way through her Discover at Home Arts Award journey and shared her marvellous exploration into found-object sculptures.

Her project was inspired by week one of Arts Award Discover at Home video which explores portraiture, looking at Sonia Boyce’s large drawing She Ain’t Holding Them Up, She’s Holding On (Some English Rose), Oil and pastel on paper, 1986.

The video shows the creation of a large scale portrait of Daisy the cat, made entirely out of socks and invites families to get involved from home, making their own portraits out of whatever can be found around the house.

Phoebe decided to use toilet roll as her medium (who doesn’t have a few extra toilets rolls hanging around these days!) and started to build up functional sculptural seats which were turned into houses then into castles, all purpose-built for Phoebe’s longstanding assistant and partner in crime Pooh Bear. 

Her Nana Elaine described “Phoebe entering into a sort of performance as she built up the functional sculptures, sitting in them, and then placing her soft toys in them”. Phoebe explains to us in her own words her process and journey to creating the sculptures.

Phoebe’s Story:

My first ideas for the toilet roll sculptures came from Nana's suggestion to use a bucket of toilet roll tubes she had collected over lockdown. Nana uses found objects in her cyanotype photography and we collect junk for crafts.

I thought she had asked me if I would like to make something out of toilet rolls. The first thing I made was a leaning tower of Pisa, I dismantled this one roll at a time to make my first seat which was for Pooh Bear, my best friend.

Nana made a video of me making the sculptures, I made the first one in a YouTube style film as I would like to make YouTube videos. My first seats were small as they were especially for my Pooh Bear. I also made a bigger seat which I imagined was a throne.

I could sit in this one myself and it was very comfortable. I also used some of the toilet roll tubes on the throne as well as making a smaller seat for Pooh Bear out of them. This seat was big enough for Dopey, Pooh Bear, and Little Bear. I just got more ideas and built a house for Pooh Bear with a bedroom and kitchen using other objects from around the house to add detail.

I was first inspired by Nana to make things, then by the Daisy the cat portrait, but we didn't have enough socks. We have a collection of plastic bottle lids which Nana thought we could make collages with. I started to make a picture but then decided to use the lids to write the word instead. I liked using the lids for letters and we also made a star together.