The Grange: A Composition of Stars

David from The Grange shares his artworks, image courtesy Claire Beasley

The Grange: A Composition of Stars

Spring 2021

Stanley Picker Gallery has been pleased to reconnect with our friends at The Grange Centre for People with Disabilities for a three-week series of online workshops titled ‘A composition of stars’.

The inspiration for these workshops took it’s starting point from the creative practice of poet, artist and Stanley Picker Gallery Assistant Maria Celina Val. Participants leaned about the Gallery, and Maria spoke with the group about what it was like to attend Kingston School of Art and shared examples of her practice. In return, the group – Suzanne, Sophie, David, Lucy, Vicky, and Amanda – shared their own interests and creative passions, which further informed the sessions. We also developed quite an eclectic playlist which we encourage you to listen to while enjoying the gallery of images.

These workshops were delivered online to participants who were onsite at The Grange, split across different rooms, and supported by Art Coordinator Claire Beasley alongside members of The Grange Creative Arts team, Jo, Sharron, Maria, and Rachel.

Below is an overview of each session along with images to illustrate the process.

Workshop 1 Beautifully Played
Inspired by Wassily Kandinsky who realized that the musician’s ability to ‘let go’ as they improvised was also the privilege of the painter, the aim of this workshop was to refine our senses to receivership of invisible, spiritual forces, and express those feelings. Each participant received five white pentagons, we played music, danced, and painted on the pentagons, and discussed how the different types of music made us feel and how this effected our mark making.


Workshop 2 Playful Rejoice
The group played with pentagons filled with circles, pentagrams and more pentagons, which are related to the musical octave, and also form the basis of many of Maria’s geometric fonts and concrete poetry. Pentagons with a template of dots were given to draw, paint or sew, while those with geometric figures inside were available to paint. White, yellow, blue and red pentagons, (Kandinsky’s preferenced colours in ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’) were used for free experimentation, along with different cut geometric figures to both play with and make collages. Our aim was to explore the figures and forms, their composition and relation to nature and musicality.


Workshop 3 A Poetic Meaning
By this stage each participant had designed 5 pentagons, which when grouped as a circle, reveal a fivefold star in their centre. Participants filled these centres with unfolding stars, text and images that represent who they are, before connecting their pieces as a group to create ‘a composition of stars’.


Maria Celina Val shares her thoughts on our use of geometry, and the project

“For millennia, geometry has been celebrated for perfectly balancing harmony, beauty and complexity. In the past century, geometric abstraction was used to imagine a new world. The last few years has made us human beings start to really think about changing our way of living in the planet in order to survive as a species. Events last year when all humanity has one common enemy that we need to defeat by coming together, made me reaffirm the use of geometry as an expression of essence: the essence of existence, the universal language that connects it all, through harmony and beauty.

It was really poetic seeing how happy the group became when putting together their work together. It was absolutely lovely to see them admiring their beautiful creations and I really do hope they have discovered more of that magic in them.”

Claire from The Grange commented

“Thank-you for the wonderful workshops you provided for us over the past 3 weeks. The people we support were all very enthusiastic and said they enjoyed the sessions. What beautiful work they have created too! We are very grateful and inspired!”

The Grange Centre for People with Disabilities provides vital services supporting people with learning disabilities to lead independent and fulfilling lives. They believe everyone is different but everyone has potential, and from their beautiful 8-acre site in Bookham, Surrey, have seen people engage in creative activities, learn to cook, improve their communication, get a work placement, paid work or even move into independent living in the community. To find out more visit

Images courtesy Claire Beasley and The Grange

Get Involved

For more information about this project and others please contact Natalie Kay on 020 8417 4074 or email