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The Fire Garden, a community outreach project, October 2021

Over the summer of 2021 we had groups of school children coming to the workshop. They helped to design and build a collection of fire spheres for Bristol's first ever Fire Garden, that took place in Knowle, supported by Redcatch Community Garden and funded by Bristol Circus City, Bristol City Council and Arts Council England.

The workshop sessions gave the children, aged 10-15, hands-on experience with all the tools we have available to our adult groups. They chose the themes (meaningful words, underwater, nature, sea and sky, and night sky) and chose how to represent what was important to them. We gave the children free rein on the plasma cutter, and marvelled at the speed and enthusiasm with which they cut words, characters and shapes. They then positioned and welded the cut-outs onto the sphere frames they had made from rolled bar welded together inside a hemispherical former.

The feedback from the children was that although at first most of them felt overwhelmed and a little bit scared, they soon overcame this and left feeling powerful, capable and inspired.

I believe experiences like this project can have a strong impact on the development of children's confidence, problem solving skills and attitudes towards the skilled trades. My ambition is to creating more opportunities like this, giving funded places to children and young people from all backgrounds across Bristol.

The Fire garden was part of a wider series of events held across Bristol by Bristol Circus City. Originally intended to run for two days, I can only apologise to the families who didn't get to see their children's work, as they were ticket holders for the the second day, which had to be cancelled at short notice due to weather conditions.

I also want to say a MASSIVE thank you to all the children and their families for coming, the solid as a rock team of volunteers, and my patient friends in the workshop. Love! X


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