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Pic of the Week: Melissa Nicholls, Dudley College (plus 'Tip of the Week' and other news..)

April 10, 2015 by AA2A Info   Comments (0)

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Pic of the Week: Dudley College's AA2A artist Melissa Nicholls' image from her Dotbiz album 'AA2A Tests'.

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

Tip of the Week from AA2A artists to students (as featured in our self-employment talks): 'Trust your own judgement.' Louise Plant, AA2A 2013-14 University of Derby.

Other News: A quick reminder that you can continue using Dotbiz as a current artist until September 2015.  We'll email you nearer the time to remind you (and there is an option for coninued free access by becoming one of our 'Engage artists').  If you haven't posted anything yet, it's not too late and this is a great time to start.  It's not only so students can see your work but can be a valuable record of what you've done on the scheme, also some artists use this in applications for future opportunities. We have two online 'Dotbiz' tutorials to help you: 'Getting started' and 'Uploading  images and blogging'. It's not too late to be Pic of the Week!

All the best,

The AA2A Team (Wendy, Georgia & Jo)

PS Don't forget please send us any press releases or flyers if you're exhibiting and you can also publicise events and exhibitions on the Dotbiz Ehibitions page.

Concept designs

April 1, 2015 by Ian Kirkpatrick   Comments (0)

Over the last several days I’ve been working to create the concept design and folding pattern for my Reincarnations sculpture, funded by York Art Gallery & part of my AA2A+ residency at York College.  As mentioned in a previous post, the work is a response to the York Art Gallery’s studio ceramics collection – and is called “Reincarnations” as a reflection upon the gallery’s recent renovations & upcoming re-opening this summer.

I chose the subject of an insect transforming from a pupae into an imago (the final stage of metamorphosis) as the shape of my piece.  The artwork will initially be packaged into a cocoon-like box (recycled from the boxes used to store the ceramics at York Art Gallery) – then will open to reveal the wings, torso, head and limbs of the insect inside.  These will variously be made of cardboard and ceramics – and can be assembled together to create the final sculptural form.

I still have a long way to go before this vision will be fully realized, but I did finish the concept sketch – please see here for an image– then I designed the folded “net” and assembled it together into a small maquette (please see here , here , and here for some photos).

The finished maquette was largely a success – though there are many small issues I need to fix.  The most challenging aspect of this project is trying to create a design that allows both ceramic and cardboard to connect and reinforce one another; difficulties such as weight and the unpredictable shrinkage of clay in the kiln are things I will have to sort out still.  Also, there will be some vacuum-moulded plastics for the head area, wings, and possibly the “abdomen” area of the insect – another experimental element I have yet to master.  Stay tuned for further developments.  In the meanwhile, please see the following pics of the maquette (note the “head” area is empty in this version but the real one will have a vacu-formed plastic bubble containing a ceramic temple-like structure, in allusion to ceramicist Ian Godfrey – one of the artists well represented in the York Art Gallery pottery collection).

Pic of the Week: Kirsty E Smith, Sheffield College (plus 'Tip of the Week' and other news..)

April 1, 2015 by Georgia Rodger   Comments (0)

Pic of the Week:  Sheffield College's AA2A artist Kirsty E Smith's work in progress from her Dotbiz album 'It's coming together'.

Tip of the Week from AA2A artists to students (as featured in our self-employment talks): 'Make applications in as many areas of interest as possible and keep your options open.' Tony Stallard, Chelmsford College.

Other news: It's the beginning of the end for this years' artists on their AA2A projects around the country.  Most host institutions finish the scheme sometime in April (although some artists offer extensions). This means artists are showing off their new work, experiments and research in blogs and albums on this site and also some artists will be exhibiting so the exhibitions listings should be buzzing with activity too!

Best wishes,

The AA2A Team (Wendy, Georgia & Jo)

Pic of the Week: Anji Main, Anglia Ruskin University (plus 'Tip of the Week' and other news..)

March 27, 2015 by AA2A Info   Comments (0)

Pic of the Week: Anglia Ruskin University's AA2A artist Anji Main's image 'Shapeshifter' from her Dotbiz album 'Paintings'

Tip of the Week from AA2A artists to students (as featured in our self-employment talks): 'Don't expect the opportunities to come to you, if you want to be an artist you have to be persistent.' AA2A artist 2013-14, Coventry University

Other news: our series of presentations promoting self-employment as a career and lifestyle option are going really well. This is included for host institutions who signed up for our 'deluxe' package. Wendy Mason, AA2A's National Director, has been travelling the country showing students what it looks and feels like to be self-employed and why it might work for them.

We've had some excellent feedback so far:

  • “Brilliant insight into self-employment and how easy it is to start up. Gave me confidence that there is a lot of help out there for anything to do with working for yourself.”
  • “Excellent, knowledgeable, informative, inspiring.”
  • “Thank you! This presentation was really useful for someone who had only dabbled with the thought of it, but didn’t know much about it, or how to go about being self-employed. This was really, really informative and useful. I feel like I could be self-employed now. It's not as scary as it was before.”

The next presentations will be at York, Derby and Wolverhampton.

Best wishes,

The AA2A Team (Wendy, Georgia & Jo)


It's coming together!

March 26, 2015 by Kirsty E Smith   Comments (0)


Accompanying photos for this blog post can be found here http://aa2a.biz/pg/photos/album/25038/its-coming-together

Back in the studio at Sheffield College (Hillsborough Campus) and this time I had a sheet of Polypropylene to cut my truncated cone form from. 

Once cut I covered it in some industrial felt; this is simply because I like to avoid hard edges. I then applied the metallic fabric to the sheet and used staples to hold the cone shape while I checked how it looked. 

I had already decided on the desired angle of the resin rose head (see the linked photo album for my Heath Robinson approach of propping the rose head up on sellotape and Copydex bottle to get the desired angle). Then I bent the copper support pipe and drilled a hole in the base layer of MDF and acrylic mirror and set the support pipe into the hole. The rose head stalk simply slipped over the support pipe and then I had a play with the metallic covered truncated cone piece and looked at it from lots of angles. I had already decided that the base needed to be elevated and I had come to the conclusion that spheres would be right. I work fairly slowly and thinking about form often happens when I am driving. I had been thinking about this for a week or so and had already sourced some polystyrene balls from a Poundshop. In the photo they are just temporarily in position as I was still just playing and getting the feel of the being.

By the end of the day in the studio I was fairly sure that I would like to see these balls covered in some sort of flocked surface. I think that this may be green fake grass form a modelling shop. 

It is a bit of a pity that my job is taking up so much of my time so I have not been able to get into the studio as much as I would have liked and it does seem especially sad as I am now really quite excited about this piece. Ahh the pain and the pleasure of the creative process….

Taking a playful approach

March 25, 2015 by Kirsty E Smith   Comments (0)

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Accompanying images for this blog post are here http://aa2a.biz/pg/photos/album/24687/thinking-about-form-ii

Having been to the Rag Market in Birmingham and sourced my metallic pan scrubber fabric and also having cast the watering can rose head in clear acrylic resin I finally got to the stage of testing out my ideas of how the form of my small sculpture (www.frillipmoolog.co.uk 'being') would would work. 

I often work with fairy roughly sketched ideas and then like to test out proportions and composition simply by physically handling and playing with the elements (This is obviously only possible with smaller pieces though!) 

I enjoyed observing the optical effects while moving the ridged resin cast over the mirror which was reflecting the metallic fabric. I definitely take a playful approach to my work. 

Reminding myself of schooldays maths I calculated the size of circle that I would need to cut out in order to make the truncated come form. I first cut it in newspaper and tested it and was pleased that my maths seemed to have resulted in a circle which would wrap around to form a cone the size that I had planned on. Next I used the newspaper template to cut the shape from greyboard but I quickly discovered that Greyboard was too stiff to work with as when I formed it into the truncated cone form it quickly distorted and cracked. I suddenly realised that I needed to use Polypropylene sheet instead. Joe, the technician, told me about a local supplier www.hindleys.com 

I then went on to wrap the cone form in the gold fabric; to the outside observer this would appear to be a very rough and ready approach but it works for me. I like to spend time seeing how the arrangement makes me feel and I quickly decided that I really didn’t like the placement of the rose head in the centre of the cone so I tried offsetting it; I tried this keeping the stalk still ‘growing’ vertically  and I also tried it at an angle. It was definite in my mind that the angled version was best; is seems more animated and has more life to it.

So a day of realisation about inappropriateness of a material (the greyboard) but also a day of good decision making. 

Speeding Up

March 25, 2015 by Silvia Champion   Comments (0)

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I am now glad when I have finished my moulds and I am in the middle of modrocking them all and then ta, ta, ta, ta they will all come out beautifully. That's what I'm hoping. I've made a list of people who might read three of the thoughts about 'What does 'home' mean to you' that people left me in my OSB board 'home'. I've got sixty notes and will ask each person to read three. The recorded lines will form a sound composition that will be part of my solo exhibition in Hull in May/June this year together with the soap casts and four more OSB homes inviting people to share their thoughts on 'home'.

My Student rep journey so far...

March 23, 2015 by Katy Curran   Comments (0)

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It has been great to get involved with the scheme, i have met some lovely AA2A artists from Teesside University and seen work which i may have otherwise missed out on...

Nice to visit the Gilkes street artist studios a few weeks ago with Emma Bennett and John Wheeler to see their work which was excellent, thanks for the tour!!

Popped over to Saltburn to see Sophie McIntosh's studio and her work which was great, also seeing Jean Baynham's work while there as well as a lovely tutorial.

An exciting opportunity which has come about because of this scheme for myself is being able to become a printing technician with Sophie McIntosh and her studio in Saltburn, a venture which i am looking forward to starting after my degree.

Thank you for this opportunity AA2A!

Discovering new materials...

March 23, 2015 by Karen Thompson   Comments (0)

I've just come across a new material which I've never used before. Terracotta cast with iron is a modelling material akin to plaster. It sets in an hour or so and resembles a bisque fired terracotta. I cast my ' sculptors fingers' in the material as a test, apparently the iron content in the terracotta will go rusty with regular watering. I'm watering one of the digits to see what the result is like...