Tough Dough has lead projects on the theme of ‘Food’ since it was founded in 2005. Since then we have worked with artists, schools and communities delivering activities on this theme with a wide range of outcomes including town trails, installations, a calendar and publications such as postcards. We have worked with chefs, food businesses, farmers markets and food enthusiasts to bring activities to people and organised Tea Treats, community suppers, barbecues and cooking sessions to enhance learning and enjoyment
A Tea Treat is a traditional Easter tea party for the community where local people come together and celebrate. Tough Dough has developed this into a means of collecting information and engaging with older people in the school district. School children send out personal invitations to family, friends, neighbours and key people in the community. They are rehearsed in welcoming guests and interviewing them over a cup of tea and piece of cake. The children are encouraged to develop their listening skills and collect information through drawing and note taking. This is often done in innovative ways so that it can be used for creative writing and artwork for the project. For example we have drawn and written on table cloths, doilies, scanned images and taken photographs.
The role of the tea treat within a project such as this is key when involving the community. It is a way of bringing together people of different generations, backgrounds, experiences and interests. Sitting down to tea and cake while talking, reminiscing, asking questions and sharing ideas has got to be a good way of strengthening communities and engendering a sense of continuity and belonging. It also provides a learning activity for the children that encourages some basic skills; listening, recording and reporting back.
Manaccan CP School Tea Party Event ( Cooking up Stories Project)
This was a cultural Tea Treat activity. The children created special and personal invitations to key members of the community, grandparents, elderly neighbours and governors. Manaccan is an extremely rurally isolated community with a small population. The event was very well attended with more than 86 participants.
Sylvia has a small home- based baking business in the Lizard Village. She worked with the children at the school telling them about her business and subsequently baking with them on the day of the tea party. This was her first experience of working in a school setting and she was enthusiastic about the educational value of this activity.
The school took the project on as a whole school topic for the term. This meant that all the teachers were collaborating with us to maximise the impact of the event.
Members of the community of Manaccan brought with them a large selection of cakes including a Lithuanian Cake! This made the event inclusive and celebratory.
Through the Tea Party recipes were exchanged; the children swapping creative cake recipe cards for recipes brought in by the community.
Tough Dough was launched in 2005 at the Acorn Theatre.
The Tough Dough exhibition was literally a dough installation! The theatre space was filled with site specific work made by the Tough Dough artists, the community and schools. The creative work was varied and ranged from a dough dress, vases of flowers and a dough television set showing a dough animation.
Dough is a versatile and easily accessible art material. The mixture can be made into a salt dough, a bread dough or simply as flour and water. It can be sculpted into forms, imprinted and decorated with tools and textures. The dough can cover existing objects or combined with other sympathetic materials. The domestic environment was a perfect theme that ran through the projects creative process. The team collected retro pastry, cake and bread making utensils for groups to work with and to inspire artwork.
Tough Dough worked in Mousehole and Marazion Schools where pupils got involved in making multiple pieces such as bunting, dough tiles and wallpaper for the kitchen scene. A community workshop at the Acorn was an opportunity for the public to come along, get floury and creative. Participants made flowers, shoes and even covered a chair with dough!
Photographer Francesca Ausenda produced a series of photographs that were framed with dough Frames. Amanda Lorens produced a dough stop frame animation to captivate the audience.
The Tough Dough team collaborated with performance artist Lollie Brewer who helped them develop characters for the event. Armed with Tough Dough chefs’ hats and aprons Lizzie Black, Alessandra Ausenda and Francesca Ausenda opened the exhibition. The public were invited to get busy with an interactive creative dough work on a large table which was filmed and projected by web cam into the downstairs area. The audience included families, school children and artists. The evening finished with a DJ session- an opportunity to get rid of the pinnys and shake off the flour!
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Party
‘A right royal treat’. The Play Session at Lescudjack played to host to a Jubilee tea party event. Children, tots, babies and their families, neighbours and friends came to enjoy scrumptious cakes and fruit punch. The hall was decorated with Jubilee themed bunting and pictures.
Tough Dough worked at the Lescudjack Centre, Penzance and involved the community of the town, the Play session and invited families and neighbours. We held all the activities and the event in the Lescudjack Centre with the workshops taking place in May and the event on 1 June.
We worked with the Parents, carers and toddlers and with the nursery at the Lescudjack Centre, creating invitations and decorations for the Diamond Jubilee Tea Party. The children made special invitations for older members of the community and staff from the centre for a celebration tea party. A group of parents with children had great fun baking beautiful cakes, using the kitchens the day before the event. The project was well received by those taking part and attendance numbers at the tea party show that there was a genuine build up to the event through the workshops. Below are some of the comments by parents and carers:
Lovely friendly cooking session. Rohan and I enjoyed it – he especially liked telling his Dad, brother and sister he made the cakes! Joslyn Bellamy
Nice for parents and adults to bake together and an exciting built up to the next day.
Had a great time. Alexia seemed to have fun. Well done for organising it! Caz
The jubilee party was a great success! Thank you for your help and we look forward to working with you again. Crin Whelan, Children’s Centre Manager