Hutt at Heart
Sian Torrington What If workshop

Siân Torrington – Hands on Art in Naenae

A project will soon be underway to capture the Voice of the Naenae Community. We’ll be asking people about their vision for the Naenae town centre and also what they want to see happen to replace the Pool, which has been closed since April.  There are also lots of things underway to support the community while the pool is closed.

To find out more visit our Have your say our engagement website.

In this story, Naenae artist Sian Torrington tells us how she’s involved.

Siân has only lived in Naenae for a couple of years but is already making a big difference in her local community. So far, most of Siân’s work has been in Wellington but she has been hanging out to share her passion and skills in art with Naenae and use this to make further connections within the community.

Sian Torrington
Sian Torrington

“I am an artist. I make drawings, sculptures, and teach people how to be creative, explore and have fun.  Usually with lots of colour!  I love teaching and seeing how different people see things and understand the world,” says Siân.

One of the first things Siân worked on in Naenae was a ‘Hands on Workshop’ with the Naenae Clubhouse youth, with funding from Creative Communities.

“This work, over several weeks, had the students exploring the world around them and then drawing it, trying to let go of perfection and finding beauty along the way – lots of the drawings were fast and furious – as well as spending time together, laughing, telling stories and getting connected,” says Siân.

The work from these sessions are now displayed in a shop window in Hillary Court adding colour to the space and allowing the community to share in the beautiful work these students did.

The next project was a series of three workshops with the Naenae Community called “What if”. Siân’s purpose for this project was to give people a way to express the future they dream of for Naenae. These workshops were developed in conjunction with About Space Naenae to help the community articulate what they would like to see happen for the suburb.

Three workshops were held with the first helping the community spend time looking and drawing outside. The ‘art crew’ took paper and pencils outdoors to draw the market, pedestrian subway, and local shops, appreciating the colour, conversations and local life.

The second workshop aimed to get people to draw and share stories of what makes a place feel like home, and what could make Naenae feel more homely. Using drawing and collaging onto printed photos of the existing environment, participants imagined more flowers and trees, a shared café and kitchen, and free food stores.

“Myself, and Claire Allan from Hutt City Council, wanted people to consider what they would have for the community if they could have anything. Nothing was off limits and there were no judgements. We just wanted to know what they dreamed of having to solve problems and to improve and build their community,” says Siân

Sian Torrington What If workshop
Sian Torrington What If workshop

The third workshop worked with three dimensions – building quick, collaborative sculptures that could be buildings – sparking conversations about big dreams for shared, playful spaces in Naenae. Using books from the library by artists and about pop up, temporary spaces around the world, the workshop encouraged lots of ideas to be shared which were inspired by the local world and values, as well as what is possible as shown to us by the local library.

“Art is the perfect medium for these workshops, as it allows people to be as free and expressive as they want. By holding the workshops at the library and displaying the work there, we’re giving everyone in the community the chance to see the ideas being generated and share their own vision for Naenae too,” says Siân.

Siân writes about her work in her blog, she says “I’ve spent the last year trying to really figure out the deep connection between all the things I do. And this question is it! What if? It’s the belief that we really could build a better world if we could all contribute and express ourselves, at the same time acknowledging how hard and vulnerable that is. I know that creativity gets us out of our comfort zone experiencing change, flux, failure, and being encouraged to try out new ideas. I see my role as being a skilled and safe guide, leading people through that process. I do this in drawing classes, team building, capability build in design thinking, and training in reflective practice. I want to be useful in the world, and facilitate listening, empathy and expression.”

Keep with Siân in the below places:

Siân’s all meaning is the line you draw website

Siân Torrington art classes blog

Siân Torrington artist Facebook

Peacock Siân Instagram

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Subscribe to Hutt at Heart – Te Manawa, your monthly email newsletter where you can find out about fantastic things going on across our city and at Hutt City Council.