Meet the Maker!
It is either a World Book Day costume or casting with concrete, either way...pretty scary!
Here I am, frantically trying to create new work for York Open Studios whilst at the same time losing large chunks/whole days organising the York Open Studios Taster Event which will take place on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April. Plus there's the worry that the government may decide to close schools and colleges in which case I won't have access to a clay or kiln for as long as the closure lasts. But at least I've got the anti-Coronavirus safety clothing sorted!
I've been having a lot of fun projecting colour onto my porcelain wall work. It's amazing how the shadow and folds wave and blur as the colours roll over them. This is a work in progress and I'm looking forward to developing and extending my ideas.
The Art of the Fold - Blue 3x3 has headed off to its new home in Wolverhampton this week. One of my favourites, I loved the North Sea shades. Goodbye beautiful.x
The art& RAW Talent Award is a mentoring programme which nurtures emerging artists by offering support in business development and a subsidised space at the Art&York show. It is open to newly emerging artists anywhere in the UK. I applied for the award last year but my application was too wide ranging in terms of media and message. Instead, I went to Art&York 2019 as an installation artist showing my dementia work.
The Art& RAW Talent Award is something I've dreamed of for a year and a half, so I am thrilled to announce that my 2020 application was successful and that I am one of 12 selected to take part. This means that, this year, I shall be going to Art& in October as an exhibiting artist and I am totally CHUFFED!
Having heard many good things about these two organisations, this week I finally joined the York Art Workers Association (YAWA) and the Northern Potters. Consequently, on Monday, I attended a YAWA event, a talk by Kate Jones from Gillies Jones, makers of exceptional contemporary blown glass. It was such a joy to listen to an expert who was able to share her passion with such vibrancy and eloquence. The mastery of the traditional methods that Gillies and Jones use has led to them gaining an international reputation and their work can be found in public and private collections around the world, including at the V&A. When life calms down I am looking forward to taking a trip up to the village of Rosedale Abbey to the Gillies Jones studio and workshop.
As I prepare for York Open Studios I have begun preparing my signage and am working flat-out in the ceramics and mixed media studios at York College developing a number of colours with a range of shades in pure porcelain. Here are my reds, quietly drying before bisque firing. The true colours will be 'fired up' in the final firing.
I'm very excited to announce that my work has been selected for the Ones to Watch Exhibition at Sunny Bank Mills Gallery in Farsley, Leeds. The gallery is brilliantly situated half way between Leeds and Bradford and a short drive away from Saltaire and the spectacular Salts Mill.
Ones to Watch is an annual exhibition for creative students and 2019 graduates currently studying in or from Yorkshire. The gallery is a wonderful airy space and I'm looking forward to seeing how my various pieces of work, all focusing on light, shadow and folded surfaces present.
The exhibition will take place from the 21st March – 17th May 2020.
'We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness that one thing against another creates... Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.'
Junichiro Tanizaki, 1933
It's like emerging from a long tunnel, you've been in it so long you've forgotten how the world felt warmer, happier, more positive, more alive until you suddenly emerge, blinking into the light, spirits lifted, ready for a brave new world. The future is bright.
I joined the committee of York Open Studios as Events Manager in the summer and am enjoying working with the fantastic and dynamic people on the committee. Much of this week was spent tapping on the computer, firming up display plans for the York Open Studios Taster Event in April.
But I did get time to visit the Village Gallery to see my work which had just gone up, and have a chat with Simon, the gallery owner. I was really pleased to see these pieces in the window, the side-lighting highlighting the shadows hiding in the porcelain.
Please go and have a look, in addition to my work there are some great local artists work in a range of mediums.
Village Gallery is in the city centre, opposite Barnitts on Colliergate, York.
This week, I finally had the time to test out some of the ideas I've been pondering for several weeks - can I heat acrylic so that it takes the shape of the folded surface, and how thick can the acrylic be? What will create a more interesting contrast with concrete; opaque or transparent acrylic? Will the vacuum forming machine be able to cope with the depth of a cube and how much surface detail will it hold? If I add lines of strata to the vertical surfaces of my cubes will they 'fight with' and detract from the upper folded surface, or compliment it? If I use Stuart Semple's Black 3.0 on a plaster cube will the vertical sides disappear and the surface appear to 'float'?
The results of all these tests were mixed, some unsuccessful, some unexpected and one was far too successful (the vacuum machine). Posed questions were often answered in an unexpected way or created results that led my thoughts off in new and unexpected directions.
It was transition week for my sculptural porcelain - moving from the 'Shades of Clay' exhibition at the Kunsthuis Gallery to the new hanging at the Village Gallery in York.
In preparation for the Village Gallery, I had created new pieces of work that needed framing or bases making, but the unexpected, and very pleasing news, that the Kunsthuis Gallery wanted to continue displaying my artwork beyond the end of the exhibition, meant I was faced with a mad rush to create more new work (which would also need framing).
Consequently, last week I made, from scratch, eleven floating shadow frames, ebonised bases for three sculptures, developed a new colour palette and made three new pieces of work. It took several 10 hour days, a lot of wood and my taking over the Mixed Media Room at College for a framing production line. By the end of the week I had an aching back, aching legs and some lovely new work to drop off with Simon at the Village Gallery. The work will be on display in the gallery from 28 January, please call in and have a look.
I'm really grateful to the staff at York College for letting me take over the room. I honestly don't think I could have managed it on my kitchen tale, without several meltdowns.
Because of the rush, I didn't get time to take the greatest of photos, but you can see sculptural wall pieces, the new pastel blues, deeper richer blues, a surprise development into strong orange, brown and yellow and a shelf-sized, scaled down version of my final degree show cubes, showing surface distortion in concrete.
I was incredibly proud to be asked to open the new University Centre at York College on the evening of Monday 2nd December. The University Centre will provide much needed areas for studying and socialising and create a supportive HE community, giving degree students a sense of identity and distinctiveness within York College.
I was asked because my experience at York College has gone full circle. I’ve been here as a parent, at Vocational level, Degree level, and am now here as artist-in-residence and a part-time member of staff.
My mum's dementia diagnosis was one of the main factors which caused me to re-evaluate my life and led me to leave teaching and begin a Foundation in Art & Design at York College, which in turn led me to York College's Contemporary Craft BA.
My mum had been declining for a long time, but in the end her condition suddenly worsened and she died in the morning. She smiled to the end.
Now I'm back in the studio and I'm testing out new ideas in colour and display.
I don’t ‘do’ shiny, glitter and gold is something I’ve always avoid, but ‘this’, this I love!
The last weekend in October was an opportunity for me to experience life from the other side of the plinth as an installation artist at Art& York at York Racecourse. There were over 120 artists showcasing work in a wide range of media, alongside eleven installation artists. All the artists went through a selection procedure so I was thrilled to be accepted to show my work amongst such fantastic art, design and craft. The quality was superb.
The three days of Art& were exhausting but gave me a fascinating insight into showing work at an art fair. Visitors left some heartfelt comments in my dementia comments book about how the disease had affected them, and one woman felt compelled to give me a hug because I'd conveyed through art what dementia meant to her.