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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...




Pic of the Week: Graham Seaton, Plymouth University (plus 'Tip of the Week' and other news..)

March 20, 2015 by AA2A Info   Comments (0)

Pic of the Week: Plymouth University's AA2A artist Graham Seaton's image from his Dotbiz album 'Digital Objects'.

You can see more of Graham's work on his Dotbiz page

Tip of the Week from AA2A artists to students (as featured in our self-employment talks): 'Find opportunities through a-n & other arts listings... and if you don't succeed make your own!' Helen Stratford, AA2A 2013, Sheffield Hallam University.

Other news:  a quick heads up - we'll shortly be emailing you our evaluation questionnaires and they'll also available online. They're quite detailed, but it's crucial that we get them all back as your college's evaluation 'score' and feedback allows fine tuning of schemes and has a bearing on whether Colleges can continue. Please can you let us know if your email address etc. has changed since you started the scheme?

Best wishes,

The AA2A Team (Wendy, Georgia & Jo)

Coventry University Drawing Prize 2015: preview at the Lewis Gallery in Rugby

March 20, 2015 by Chidera Ugada   Comments (0)

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To co-host the 6th Drawing Prize has been a great opportunity for me to actively get involved in the practicality of the art industry. The main objective of this competition is to encourage and to promote the excellence of drawing within the university. Eligibility to take part was open just to students and staff both past and present. With the most entries this year, the selection is composed of a variety of mediums ranging from sculpture to video and photography, print and large-scale drawings.

After several months of planning the event, we finally had a successful preview with great attendance at the Lewis gallery in Rugby on the 13th of March. Congrats to students Charlotte Pattison and Zivile Steniukynaite, who received the exhibition prize for the opportunity the display work in the gallery and the student cash prize of £500 respectively. Also, congrats to lecturer Mandy Havers who recieved the staff prize for the opportunity to exhibit in the gallery.

The show has proven to be successful as all are invited to the second preview at the Atkins Gallery in Hinckley on the 16th of April. In the show, we would be announcing the Viewers Favourite Prize, which was voted by the public. The show is scheduled to end on the 7th of May. 


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