River Draw

Looking through sketching...

Four new walking routes have been created in London and as part of the launch weekend, there’s been a chain of creative activities along and near the walks.

Surge co-operative, an East London organisation aiming to re-animate once barge-friendly stretches of London waterways, brought me in to guide River Draw, a drop-in sketching activity in the industry-meets-nature landscape of the Long Wall Ecology Garden by the Channelsea River.

The activity was a relaxed session more about looking through drawing than drawing itself. People were encouraged to tune in to the place, see what they could see, bring themselves to their sketching, play with materials – including tiny sketchbooks made from waste – and share what they’d seen.

Taking time out to observe, each person drew and noticed differently. We saw the structure of wildflowers; mighty drawings on the tiniest sketchbook; common ground in nature and discarded bottle tops; a sketch without looking at the paper; the solidity of the metalwork; and an annotated landscape drawn through how it felt, and how drawing felt. We all came away knowing the place better than we had when we had arrived.

All that, and a Surge Co-op organised litter-pick to give the space some care while we were there.

Pictured: sketches of sketchers; picture of me with my sketchbook by kind permission of Surge Co-op.

Find out more about Surge Co-op here and the walking routes here.

This is my second activity with Surge Co-op – the first was sketching species live. More on the blog.