Rachel Laycock is a graduate of Glass & Ceramics at University of Sunderland, she recently returned as one of our AA2A Artists based at National Glass Centre and has just been awarded a-n Professional Development Bursary.
We caught up with her to find out more about how the bursary will help her professional practice and what she’s up to with AA2A.
You’re one of our AA2A Artists, what drew you to the scheme and Sunderland?
I applied to the AA2A and specifically to Sunderland to develop a new body of work and re-establish myself within the glass network. I studied my BA Hons and MA at Sunderland and was aware of the fantastic facilities and expertise available.
This is my first personal body of work since becoming a mother in 2007. This work reflects on relationships, communication and the use of language both spoken and unspoken. I am interested in exploring the use of projection, reflection, light and shadow to echo intense experiences and aim to quantify intangible emotions.
Since leaving education in 2005 the technology within the glass industry has developed greatly. I am enthralled by the technical side of kiln casting and interested in developing skills in 3D printing, laser cutting, water-jet cutting and lampworking.
What do you plan on putting the bursary towards?
After starting the AA2A I secured a very small pot of funding £150 from Women In Enterprise to initiate my skills development in lamp work glass. I have worked with artist Zoe Garner at the National Glass Centre(link is external) learning the fundamental basics of lampworking.
Through the a-n bursary I will continue my development with Zoe in order to apply these skills to my designs and learn to write with glass.
I will be developing my skills with 3D modelling programs turning my sketches into 3D models I will then apply this to 3D printing, laser cutting and water-jet cutting. Using my CAD sketches will lead to the next phase of development with FabLab(link is external)in Sunderland, I aim to experiment and push my designs using the 3D printing equipment and laser cutter.
Learning these skills at FabLab will allow me to work with this equipment at Sunderland University.
How will the bursary help?
This grant will allow me to acquire new skills to develop my work technically and allow the concepts to be taken to a new level. The development of a new body of work is my way of re-establishing my name and building connections within creative networks and galleries.
This initial development would also act as initial research and development to apply for further funding (Grants for the Arts(link is external)) to fund collaborations, workshops with the wider community and the creation of my work for a solo exhibition planned for 2018.
You use Arts Award with young people, would you encourage Arts graduates to become advisors?
I believe it’s important to inspire the next generation of artists and Arts Award is a wonderful tool to inspire young people and create awareness of future career paths within the creative industries.
I started by working as the lead artist on Arts Award Projects and now have an arts organisation BloomInArt delivering community projects embedding the Arts Award where possible. If you were interested in working within the community or with young people I would highly recommend becoming an advisor.