Meet Our Micro-Commission Artists

In 2023, Crossing the Tees Book Festival commissioned three artists to deliver a micro-commission during the festival. Julie Kirk and Suzie Devey delivered book-based craft workshops, and Lucy Harding created a Wuthering Heights art installation. These micro-commissions were so successful that we decided to commission three more artists for the 2024 festival.

Artists and creatives from the Tees Valley region were invited to submit proposals for a book-related activity for an adult audience to take place during the festival. This could be a workshop, art installation, or performance and had to be book, poetry or literature-related – we wanted to hear artists’ creative ideas.

The festival team were delighted to receive such a wide variety of proposals, and enjoyed a morning of deliberation before deciding on three very different micro-commissions to include in the festival programme.

Our first micro-commission is Sentimental Scribbles. Aisha Lama will host two exciting workshops exploring how nostalgia can be used as an inspiration for creativity. Expect to be taken back to a world of mind-bending, weird and wonderful writing as we work through exercises focusing on favourite childhood books and encouraging participants to fall in love, or back in love, with writing. Aisha, founder of Write Yourself Well, is a poet and writer who enjoys exploring and sharing the benefits of writing for well-being and writing for fun. The workshops will take place on Monday 10 June 10am – 12pm at Thornaby Central Library and Wednesday 12 June 10am – 12pm at Darlington Library.

Our second micro-commission is Embroidered Collage with textile artist Louise Goult. Using pages from damaged books and repurposing them into small collages, participants will create backgrounds for embroidered art. Participants will discover how to hand embroider words onto the collage and how to embroider a lovely design around the words. The finished collages can then be framed as a mini piece of artwork, or turned into a greetings card or bookmark. The workshops will be suitable for people of all levels of embroidery experience, with all materials included. Louise has facilitated textile workshops since 2015 as well as teaching bespoke group workshops, private tuition and mentoring. She has worked with festivals including Woven, Artwaves and Morley Arts Festival. Two workshops will take place on Tuesday 11 June – 10am – 12pm at Ormesby Library and repeated 2pm – 4pm at Darlington Library.

Our third micro-commission is Gods Like Us: Making new myths of place and people for Teesside. What if the trickster Loki, Medusa and her serpentine hair, or Red and her wolf – decided to relocate to Teesside? Where would they build their temples – Roseberry Topping? Riverside Stadium? Who would worship them? Greeks, Norsemen, Fairy Tale Tellers wove stories to explain the origins of a place, the gods of those places grew out of the landscape and gave curses and blessings to the people. In these workshops participants will learn how to make new gods and their stories for Teesside, inspired by our places and people. These workshops will be delivered by Carmen Marcus – a published author, poet, playwright, creative facilitator, and mentor. As the daughter of a Yorkshire fisherman and Irish chef her writing brings together the practical and the magical. The workshops will take place on Thursday 13 June 10am – 12pm at Marton Community Hub and Library and be repeated on Saturday 15 June 10am – 12pm at Community Hub South, Hartlepool.

We invite you to enjoy these micro-commissions brought to you by three talented creatives from the Tees Valley region.

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6 - 21 June 2024