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One week, one corridor

January 22, 2015 by Bonnie Craig   Comments (0)

I started my AA2A placement back in October, but as I was going to be away for a lot of November and December, I wanted to get my first project completed before I went, so I could have work on show while I was away.

I was allocated a section of corridor to exhibit in. It’s a corridor I’ve walked up and down a lot over the last few years, but when I walked along it with a view to exhibiting work, I realised I hadn’t looked at it very hard before.

The walls are a weird painted breeze-block type affair. And the ceilings are a mishmash of exposed pipework, wires, switches, lights, board, joints and machinery. I get excited by seeing the workings of things that I don’t understand – I feel as if I’ve been shown a glimpse of a secret world. Seeing what’s under a dug-up road, engineers working on those electrical boxes on the street that are full of wires, even mysterious goods trains going through a station and never stopping – they all make me think about how much I don’t know about what goes on around me.


So this corridor seemed like an opportunity to look more at what was there, and hopefully get a few other people to look a bit harder as well.

I had a week to research, plan, make and display everything, which in hindsight was pretty ridiculous. But it was good to learn which parts of the process I’m comfortable doing quickly and where I felt as if I was cutting corners.

My plan was to create a long piece of work that spanned the part of the corridor I had to fill using modular pattern elements made out of the textures and shapes from the ceiling.

I started with photos. Lots of them, in black and white with increased contrast to reduce them down to the most basic shapes and patterns. No time for tone!


Most of the pipes were grey/beige anyway, but what excited me colour-wise was the odd bit of bright label or printing, so I kept this in some of my photos.


I picked out areas of the images to develop into positives for screenprinting and spent some time working digitally on the image files to isolate each part and make up modules that could be repeated, rotated, combined and overlapped. This took more Photoshoppery than I’d hoped and was pretty time consuming.


Next step was to make up the screen and get printing. I didn’t have a plan for the main composition, but wanted to experiment with combining the different elements as I went, with fingers very crossed that it would all come together in time. I’m naturally a bit of a planner, and doing something with no time for mistakes leaves me twitchy.

As I tried out the various combinations of modules, a plan emerged. I decided to use two main lines – one going straight along the corridor made from a repeated section of pipe and one that wound around the pipe made from a metal plate. This would provide continuity throughout the piece and reflect the continuous nature of the pipes in the ceiling, so I could then I could add detail from the rest of the modules in layers over the top.

I had a day to print everything. So that stage had to be decisive and quick. I’d already decided to stick with the colours I’d used in my research – greys with accents of bright colour here and there. I also found I could paint on the odd patch of colour to the screen itself, giving a hint of the rust and dirt on the surfaces.


I was printing on 12 x 12 inch squares of paper – even though I was covering a large area, they are really quick to print and are cheap. I also wanted to work in a way that meant I could play around with positioning as I put it all together. Like a giant puzzle.

A day to print turned into nearly two, so my day to put it all up turned into a few hours. I was working right up until the building closed, the night before I was leaving for two months, but it got finished. Just. It took 47 hours in total, and I used 88 prints in the final piece.

It all felt like a bit of a dream, so coming in this morning was a good chance to confirm it had really happened and give myself a bit of time to reflect on what I’d made before taking it down. So, this is what I learnt:

  • I probably knew this already, but although I can do tight deadlines, I’m not someone who thrives on them. I prefer the luxury of getting a bit lost in my research and some contingency time if things don’t work as planned. But…
  • adrenaline gets me a long way.
  • Lots of ideas got thrown out before I’d really had time to explore them – I wish I’d documented these better, so I could come back to them more easily now.
  • I usually take on too much, but it always gets done and that feels brilliant.
  • Taking photos at 7.55 on a Friday night, when the building shuts at 8, is not a good idea. I’ll be back in next week with my tripod, some daylight, snacks and a calmer mood.
  • This bit (thinking about what I did and putting it into words) takes a while but it is really helpful; it all makes a lot more sense now.
  • As a process, this worked - I learnt a lot from it and was pleased with the journey it took me on. But I'm not crazily happy with the final piece - I'd have preferred to slow down and spend a bit more time on decision-making. Too many of the questions I would ask about it as a viewer ('Why is this bit like this?') have the answer: 'It just is - there wasn't time to do anything different' and that leaves me a bit dissatisfied.
  • I can fill a big space. I’ve done it a few times now, and it's started to feel exciting, not intimidating. (I'm VERY happy about this!)

See final photos of the installations herehttp://aa2a.biz/pg/photos/album/24149/one-week-one-corridor


Pic of the Week: Helen Birnbaum, Liverpool Hope University (plus 'Tip of the Week' and other news)

January 22, 2015 by AA2A Info   Comments (0)

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Pic of the Week: Liverpool Hope University's AA2A artist Helen Birnbaum's image from her Dotbiz album 'Growing Viral'

You can see more of Helen's work on her Dotbiz page

Tip of the Week from AA2A artists to students (as featured in our self-employment talks): 'Keep your CV fresh and up to date and ready for any opportunities.' Henrietta Corbett, AA2A artist at the University of Derby (2013-14).

Other news: AA2A Engage - We're delighted that a year after AA2A Engage was launched we now have more than 80 previous AA2A artists who are members

And they are...

    ... from all over the country, giving good geographical coverage

    ... from 44 different AA2A host institutions (past and present)

    ... from across all scheme years from 1999 to 2014  

Read more about AA2A Engage

Best wishes,

The AA2A Team (Wendy, Georgia & Jo)


January 21, 2015 by Silvia Champion   Comments (0)

My new object to cast is a bright red tea pot. After consulting with Joe I've decided to do as with the others a latex mould and then a two halves plaster modroc mould. I filled in the space in the middle of the holdig handel and the opening where the rea come out. I also run a thin layer of clay round for the lid to sid in as I'm not making it hollow inside but as one solid object. I must remember to make the latex mould thicker. The first layers of latex are now drying and I'll continue next Tuesday, can't wait!! What I find hard at the moment is that there is this gap from one time to the next when I would like to get on with things. Maybe it's good to give reflection time. 

No with the last patch of mould of Pestle&Mortar and little wooden bowl I was not so successful see http://aa2a.biz/pg/photos/album/24128/teapot . Latex mould is far too thin and I think if it is a bowl type shape it's hard to get the liquid soap down equally all around to made that thin shape that is the bowl. Also they all slightly leaked. 

I will  try and do a full latex mould with those two. I will digg out my old notes when I did full latex mould years ago and they were delicate moulds of Moroccon tagines. 

One of the teachers at College gave me print outs featuring a Korean artist called Meekyoung Shin who makes big and highly complex casts in soap. Different approach but very interesting to look into her inspirations and techniques.

Why I am an AA2A rep

January 20, 2015 by Emily Hale   Comments (0)

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Until recently I hadn't heard of the AA2A scheme and somehow some of my classmates still haven't. I want to bring greater recognition to the scheme which is so helpful to artists and students alike.

I decided to volunteer to be a student rep because I wanted the chance to communicate with practicing artists and find out more about what it means to be a professional fine artist. I also thought it would be a great chance to make contacts and have a website to use as a platform to show case my work. Recently I also realised how vital a scheme such as AA2A could be to students like me in a couple of years when I graduate. As many post graduate courses require at least a years professional experience schemes like AA2A could be vital for us to get that years experience or just to give recent graduates a leg up into the world of being a professional artist. 

Because of this possibility of helping us in the future and the opportunity for all students to work with the artists I think it's important to get the word out about the scheme and get people interested to keep such programmes running in a time when arts funding is constantly being cut. 

two halves moulds

January 15, 2015 by Silvia Champion   Comments (0)

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Workshop is empty. Covered the second halves of the moulds in vaseline and then three mod rock layers. I just hope the halves come off as halves and not in bits. Striclty I should have done three part moulds with the bowl and the Mortar. The Vaseline should act as a barrier so they don’t stick together. Joe and I were discussing why I’m doing latex and modroc moulds and and not full silicon moulds. Well, I’m doing lots of different moulds and only need a couple of casts each so the moulds don’t have to last. Silicon moulds would be about £22.- per mould. I like going through the process and it works for me as it is cheaper the way I’m doing it.

Virgin Mary looks great in white soap. It picked up all the details. The more objects I cast the more real the whole projcet feels to me. Apart from the extreme satisfaction of making those objects they are becoming a desireable looking collection. I wonder what the owners of the original will say.

Pic of the Week: Joanna Manousis, University of Wolverhampton (plus 'Tip of the Week' and other news)

January 15, 2015 by AA2A Info   Comments (0)

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Pic of the Week: University of Wolverhampton's AA2A artist Joanna Manousis' image 'The Dominant Sophia' fom her Dotbiz album 'Studio Portfolio I'

You can see more of Joanna's work on her Dotbiz page

Tip of the Week from AA2A artists to students (as featured in our self-employment talks): 'Manage your time effectively to allow a balance between designated admin time and your practice.' Amy Mountney, AA2A artist at Chelmsford College, (2013-14)

Other news: Check out the upcoming exhibition from recent AA2A artists at Liverpool Hope University from the 22nd of January to the 6th of February ( see our Twitter feed).

Don't forget you can post any upcoming exhibition dates on our exhibitions page and if you send us a poster we'll do our best to advertise through our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Best wishes,

The AA2A Team (Wendy, Georgia & Jo)

Growing Viral: the early days at Liverpool Hope

January 14, 2015 by Helen Birnbaum   Comments (0)


My first work at Liverpool Hope was inspired by the Ebola tragedy in West Africa which dominated the news as I started my AA2A. These first sketches and maquets show what I was originally itending to produce. 

Sketches of my first work about the Ebola Virus



Practice maquets

I produced a number of maquets around the theme of Ebola, and eventually realised that I was finding it too hard to create a piece that was anything other than negative - not a thing I wanted to do. I wanted a piece that gave a sense of HOPE despite the tragedies.





January 13, 2015 by Sue Swain   Comments (0)

Came across this quote from Brian Eno which I will endeavor to keep in mind -

'Stop thinking about artworks as an object and start thinking about them as triggers for experience'.

Virgin Mary, bowl, pestle&mortar

January 13, 2015 by Silvia Champion   Comments (0)

Busy in the workshops again as it is Tuesday. In breaktime I got a chance to talk to a couple of students, two girls, as we were all waiting outside the workshops doors to be reopened. They really like it here at the college and one of them has aspirations to go to London after finishing here in year and a half’s time. 

Three more latex layers on Pestle&Mortar and bowl all of them with tiny bit of thickener in latex. Still thickens very fast and gets lumpy – maybe even less thickener is required. Got modroc mould of latex skin on Virgin Mary with minor difficulties as it was a little bit stuck on the bottom platform. I’m letting latex layers dry before I modrock Virgin Mary, pestle&mortar and bowl today. All of them are at least a two part moulds so thinking of doing one part of each of them today and then the other tomorrow. For images see http://aa2a.biz/pg/photos/album/24088/virgin-mary-bowl-pestlemortar 

My plan is to get seven more objects over the next week and will do all of them at the same time. I'm allwing time for errors as the process is part of what I'm interested in. I love the moment when you take off plaster shell and then peel the latex back from the object and tarraaa ... or oh dear that didn't work out.

I liked being there in the all day very busy workshop surrounded by college student.  

A can of worms.

January 13, 2015 by Adrian Baynes   Comments (0)

Ah ha I think I`ve finally started to understand what I`m doing. I`ve felt all along that there was a level of understanding that I hadn`t reached. Well I`m sure there`s more to dig, but for the time being I now at least realise that I`m trying to avoid the subjective. All my projects seemed unrelated. This is partly because I`m always so enthusiastic about my latest idea & when it doesn`t get selected, or people don`t respond as I hoped, or the reality doesn`t meet my imagination (nearly always the case) then I tend to start something else. But now I`ve had time to make quite a lot of work, I can see that avoiding the subjective is a common theme. I like to set up projects so that the medium generates the imagery, but still controlling it of course. The image is in the material, it just needs persuading to come to the surface. So now I`ve got a bit of confidence I`m going to harness the little wrigglers and see what comes out. Watch this space ....