Previous AA2A Artist

Shirley Blackhurst

Project summary:

When I began my residency on the AA2A scheme I had a preconceived idea as to how the work I produced would develop during the coming year. My work currently reflects my interest in the marine life and the geographical features of coastal Britain.

My main medium for working had been through collagraphs and I had planned to develop my current research in the same way. However the AA2A scheme has stimulated an interest in printmaking techniques I had only previously touched upon and encouraged me to move forward and explore new areas of printmaking of which I had previously been unaware.

This lead me to experimenting with materials including copper, steel and perspex giving my later work a more sculptural quality. I have used these new skills and knowledge and applied them producing new and experimental pieces of work which explore the coastline of Britain, it's geographical features and elements of marine life.

This interest has lead me to concentrate specifically on algae and crustaceans and to research their anatomical features and their individuality. The results from this research have been used as a basis for my final pieces of work on the AA2A scheme. I have interpreted the forms to suit my own individual style and adapted them to create a series of sculptural etched plates as well as a suite of paper works. With the etched copper plates it is my intention to display the actual plates rather than paper prints taken from them emphasising the surface quality of the metal and the form of the subject matter.

The opportunity of being on the AA2A scheme and the help and support from the University of Central Lancashire and it's technical staff has meant that my work has moved forward into areas I could never have envisaged. It has enabled me to share my knowledge and engage with undergraduate and MA students as well as working alongside other professional artist's in the department who were also on the AA2a scheme.

The residency has given me the opportunity to take part in master-classes and artist talks all of which have benefited my professional development and widen my horizons as an artist. I would recommend the AA2A scheme to any practising artist who is wants to further their career and is contemplating applying for entry to the scheme in the future.