lesleyb's Friends' blogs

Another busy week for AA2A...

February 4, 2016 by AA2A Georgia Rodger   Comments (0)

Another busy week for AA2A where Wendy (AA2A's National Director) is out on tour again delivering presentations on Self-employment at Teesside University and University of Sunderland.  It's great timing to see so much activity from their artists on the site now - e.g Check out the blogs and albums form Rachel Laycock and Susan Gough


AA2A update

January 27, 2016 by AA2A Georgia Rodger   Comments (0)

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We're delighted to be kicking off the first of this year's 'AA2A self-employment' presentations tomorrow at Plymouth Uni.  Wendy will be myth-busting as well as presenting one of the first AA2A Self-employment Champions... (I'll keep that a secret till then)

It's been a busy week so far after we met with Arts Council England on Monday and we really couldn't be happier seeing all the recent activity on Dotbiz.  Special thanks to everyone who's been active and in particular all the AA2A Plus artists who've given updates on their projects.



Welcome (& how to set up your profile page)

November 2, 2015 by AA2A Georgia Rodger   Comments (1)

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Welcome to AA2A.   Its great to be starting a new AA2A year, even though its very hectic here, as we try to get all of you registered on the site and fill the last few late places on the schemes.

Please can you upload an image of yourself so that students can recognise you when you're in the college.  Also could you please fill in the 'About me' section of your profile page with the text you wrote in Question 14 of your application form ('Image and accompanying information for the website').  Let us or your college know if you have problems with this.

Do have a look at our training videos 'Getting started' and 'Uploading images and blogs'.  These are only about 8 minutes long and can be found in the Artists training area of our parallel website AA2A.org  http://www.aa2a.org/artists_menu/training

More than anything, we hope you have a good AA2A experience and enjoy using this site.

All for now,  

Georgia and the AA2A team

PCJS school artist-in-residence

September 18, 2015 by Jan Haskins   Comments (0)

Well it's been a while since my last blog post! The images I've just uploaded have come from an artist-in-residence at Pocklington Community Junior School. It's been a long and very enjoyable process involving lots of painting and some fantastic work by the children. The project started with the children's ideas on what 'Our School' meant to them and I've tried to stay as close as possible to what they expressed in images and words. These are fantastically enthusiastic and creative children who were absolutely great to work with and a credit to themselves as well as their school.

There are so many people to thank - not least the children - but also my creative associate Kate Noble who got me involved in the first place and who helped me to organise and run the workshops. She has been brilliant throughout. Also, this project would not have happened without the support of Headteacher Carole Fulstow, who moved onto a new school in February, and her successor Alex Reppold who has overseen the final stages and installation of the outdoor piece. The project was funded by the Friends of PCJS who invest heavily in promoting the creative arts as part of their school ethos. The school is full of great artworks and it's been a privilege - and a big responsibility - to produce something that (I hope) is worthy of their trust. Kate and I both worked hard to give the school value for money. 

Well, after almost two years of having a big project to work on, I'm now faced with a 'what next?' moment. I haven't got anything as large lined up yet, but there's a small pile of fresh lino and a stack of new canvases that really ought to be put to good, or even bad, use. I'm about to have fun and indulge my own ideas for a short while to see how that works out.

Applications open for 2015/16

July 8, 2015 by Anglia Ruskin University   Comments (0)

Cambridge School of Art is pleased to continue participating in the Artists' Access to Art Colleges (AA2A) scheme! Our application process for 2015/16 is now open!

The closing date for applications is Friday 11th September 2015.

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

April 1, 2015 by AA2A 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)

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. 

Pic of the Week: Jamie Barnes, UCLan (plus 'Tip of the Week' and other news)

February 26, 2015 by AA2A Georgia Rodger   Comments (0)

Pic of the Week: UCLan's AA2A artist, Jamie Barnes' 'Advance Guard', hand-coloured trace monotype print

You can see more of Jamie's work at http://aa2a.biz/pg/profile/jamie14

Tip of the Week from AA2A artists to students (as featured in our self-employment talks): 'Join as many professional networks as you can, and make the most of everything they offer.' AA2A artist, Derby Uni, (2013-14).

Other news:  AA2A artists should have recieved the latest artists newsletter from us earlier this week.  If you didn't, please get in touch as we may need to check your email address. Also we want your flyers/posters/etc! If you have any exhibitions please tell us so we can add it to our press file.  You can add it to the exhibitions listings on Dotbiz and email us any flyers/promotion.  There might be some extra promotion we can do for you too...

Best wishes,

The AA2A Team (Wendy, Georgia & Jo)

Casting the watering-can head- Technicalities of casting in resin

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

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Images for this blog post can be found here. http://aa2a.biz/pg/photos/album/24614/resin-casting-rose-wateringcan-head

Having spent some time thinking about a form for a sculpture which would incorporate a clear cast of the rose watering-can head I decided that it was time to get casting so it was another trip to  www.mouldcraft.co.uk in Sheffield to buy some resin. Andy at MouldCraft seemed pleased to see me; he supplies mostly by mail orders so he doesn’t often get to see his customers face to face. I think next time I visit I will take in my casts and moulds to show him.

I prepared the two part mould by wrapping it securely in duct tape and then mixed the resin and catalyst ready for the first pour. This cast had to be pored in two stages as I wanted to embed a ‘stalk’ of copper pipe within it. Before preparing the mould I measured the capacity of half of the mould. I did this by putting the mould on my digital scales and then filling it with water and seeing what it weighed then. However I think a more accurate way would have been to have measured it by volume. 

Measuring the capacity of the mould is important as this is how you know how much resin to mix up. But with such small quantities it can be quite a challenge. Andy at Mouldcraft had given me a small syringe to measure my catalyst. The ratio is 100 parts resin to 2 parts catalyst. I was measuring the resin by putting my plastic mixing beaker on the scales adding 100g of resin and then adding 2ml of catalyst. Obviously this depends on the resin and catalyst having the same weight per ML . All I am saying is that it is fairly crucial to get the correct amount of catalyst and also to ensure that it is mixed very thoroughly. Too little catalyst and your cast will never properly cure and will have a sticky finish. Too much and I think you are more likely to get stress fractures and it might affect the shrinkage too. I’m not completely sure about that but I have been reading how to cast in resin forums quite a bit recently!

I used a piece of reclaimed copper pipe that I discovered in the attic of my new house. This little fact seems to add to the story of this sculpture. It will be my first www.frillipmoolog.co.uk 'being' since relocating to Sheffield in Oct 2014.

After cleaning the layers of paint off the pipe I made three equally spaced holes and screwed in small copper screws. These are a belt and braces way of ensuring that when the pipe is set within the resin that it will definitely not pull out or be at all loose. 

After 24 hours of curing it was time to position the pipe within the mould and pour in a second batch of resin. 

To ensure the pipe was perfectly vertical and stayed in place while the resin was curing I used a test tube stand from Sheffield College science department. It was perfect for the job!

After curing I opened the mould and was able to see my completed clear resin cast. 

Again the finish wasn’t perfect; the surface was a bit sticky, there was a very small amount of leakage along the seam of the mould (which I was able to remove with a scalpel) and also a small air bubble at the base of the copper ‘stalk’. But it is definitely an improvement on my previous cast of small copper elbow joint (see previous image album).

Another thing that I learnt after reading more resin casting forums online is that you should always work in a room which is room temperature. I am definitely learning!