Tuesday morning this week was like no other. Following two brilliant days out in the last few months to see the Ice Age Art exhibition and the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition The British Museum brought some of it’s exhibits to us instead!

Community Officer Harvinder Bashra and artist Chloe Cooper came to visit our coffee morning at the Arc Centre and brought some very special objects as inspiration for our own Ice Age style soap carvings.

Harvinder offered us some inspiring insights into Ice Age life to get us thinking about the development of people beginning to carve beautiful and ornamental objects rather than purely practical ones, explaining that as people had enough food, warmth and their basic needs were met they were able to think about other things to do – such as experimenting with bone leftovers, ivory pieces and stone to create animals and imaginary creatures.

Objects from different centuries and countries were passed around the group to touch the intricate detail, feel the weight of the material and the temperature and texture of the stone.  From century-old Alaskan ‘snow-goggles’ to Chinese carvings of dragons and ancient beads, it was brilliant to be able to hold the objects and really gave us an idea of what the people making them would have felt.

Artist Chloe Cooper then put those objects in context with a tearing paper exercise to show us the power of reduction to create a shape – just as Ice Age sculptors would have done. We then chose our soap block to bring our creatures into three dimensions! Chloe showed us the tools we had and some examples made earlier – including a mini sabre-tooth tiger and wolf! We then gathered our spo0ns, sticks, tweezers and even toe-nail clippers to make our marks and reveal our animals. After a flurry of concentrated carving and a snow-storm of soap shards they emerged. From unicorns to giraffes, snails, tigers, tortoises and more we were left with a menagerie of beautifully carved creatures – just like those in the Ice Age (but a little quicker to make).

Everyone had a brilliant afternoon and went home with their new creation. Not your average rainy Tuesday morning.

Our regular coffee afternoons at the Arc Centre will now be every Wednesday from 2 – 4pm. Local people over 50 – come along for different activities, visiting speakers, good conversation and free tea and coffee!

Call Ellie for more information on 0207 281 6018.

all pic BM arc and mammouth artist bangle bone sculpture carving carvings hands isaac laughing photo photos BM roger glasses snow goggles soap sculpture tearing whole group