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Studio Visit

May 6, 2017 by Emma McKinney   Comments (0)

I was contacted by the two AA2A student reps from the Fine Art course at Wolverhampton asking if they could visit me in the studio to which I replied with a yes and a warning to come along wrapped up in many layers! 

In December the students made their way through the back streets of Digbeth to find me in my freezing cold studio - The Lombard Method. The studio was set up by a group of around 9 graduates, mainly from Birmingham City University, around 8 years ago. It's a shared studio with a very diverse range of artists and makers - there's a painter, a ceramicist, a sound artist, a video and performance artist, a fabricator, a collective who create DJ performances, an artist who makes 3D printers that can print porcelain, plastic and even mould (!) and a guy who makes bespoke amps. As well as the shared studio space there is also a workshop with lots of tools and equipment that you can use and also a space upstairs to document work (with an amazing view of the Birmingham skyline).

I gave Becky and Jackie a tour of the studios and introduced them to everyone who was around and told them a little bit about what everyone does and the studio space. They then asked me lots of questions about my practice and I showed them works in progress in the studio, some finished works and photos of work I'd made previously. We also chatted about my job at Eastside Projects and how it is leaving art school. I was interested to here what the students were making so they told me a little bit about their own practices and what they had coming up at uni - they were both looking forward to their end of year exhibition. 

Chatting to MA students

May 6, 2017 by Emma McKinney   Comments (0)

When asked by the tutors at Wolverhampton to deliver a small talk about my practice to a group of MA students admittidly at first it seemed a little bit daunting - I was still very unsure about what my practice was and what I wanted it to be. 

However, having this opportunity to think about those questions and a deadline to come up with semi concrete answers I found to be a really useful exercise. I've never enjoyed speaking about my work very much but with this small group it was very informal and I found their questions and comments helped me to better reflect on what I'd been doing and what I wanted to get from my practice in the future. 

Previously I'd been making objects however when I was on my degree I'd also been organising small group shows and club nights which was something I had really enjoyed. At the moment I'm working at Eastside Projects so this is something I spoke to the students about and explained that this connections with the Birmingham art scene had made me realise how much I wanted to organise exhibitions and events again. We also spoke about all of the opportunities and support that is available through Eastside Projects associate members scheme, ESP. I encouraged the students to get involved with the gallery and really hope that they do as it's a great support network to keep your practice going when you've left uni and entered the scary 'real world'.

Copying defects - the real vs the unreal

May 4, 2017 by Rebecca Collins   Comments (0)

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I am now marching (or being marched, it feels like) swiftly towards the Degree Show in the Fine Art department here in Wolverhampton. There is just one month to go. The studios are buzzing with ain air of creative stress and frenzied activity. I love this time of year. The results of ten months work are starting to appear and there is a lot to be inspired by.

The theme of my work over the last ten months has been repetition. I have been obsessed with repetition. I have lived and breathed repetition. I have been drawing, painting, making, writing, posting, blogging and obsessing about repetition for months.

There are two main pieces I am hoping to exhibit. One is two plinths covered in drawings, which I will write a separate blog about. The other 'piece' is recreated defects in the exhibition space and elsewhere in the building. I'm hoping that it will be a sort of subtle, mostly unseen, but not wholly unseen, anti-Platonic guerrilla art.

I won't be able to create any of my defect replicas until just before the Degree Show, so I feel strangely relaxed, but I have been practicing today. Since the studios here are in quite a state after nearly a year of artistic activity by me and my fellow students, there are a lot of opportunities for me to leave my mark here.

Here are some examples.



The aim is partly to see if people will spot my artworks while they are looking for 'real' art. Despite the fact that these pieces are, in my eyes, genuine artworks, they aren't expected.

I want to challenge the notion that the copy is inferior to the original (and that the copy has a bond with the original). I have (will) deliberately place the copies next to the originals to see if people are able to dissassociate the former from the latter, which is what I want them to do.

For my research on repetition, I have read a lot of what Gilles Deleuze had to say on the subject. He is well-known for turning the Platonic relationship between the model and the copy on its head by looking just at the copy itself and divorcing it completely from the original. He talks of two types of repetition: mechanical and dynamic. The latter creates originality. He wanted us to value the copy in of itself and to value the process of repetition, not for the copies themselves but the differences between the copies, or the vibrations.

More holes

I want to tease something interesting out of this process of copying. There is something unsettling, or uncanny, about seeing a fake a hole or defect. It doesn't quite look right. It isn't the original, but it resembles the original, yet it has a quality separate from the original. It couldn't possibly be the same as the original. It isn't the same so we don't need to refer to the original. My question is: does the copy here have value in itself? I hope so.

Tiny Holes

Handing In the Jacket

May 3, 2017 by Julie Cassels   Comments (0)

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The jacket is finished and handed in to Chester Military Museum of the exhibition. Relining it was a challenge and I now could write a chapter on 'things you ought to know about replacing a lining, before you start'. Incorporating technology in to the outer design has been fun and also an education.  

Art of Possibility Art Show and Sale

April 24, 2017 by Lucy & Layla Swinhoe   Comments (0)

 We are part of the 2017 Art of Possibility Art Show and Sale – Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, Minneapolis, April 28 – May 19 2017, for artists with disabilitys (ongoing struggle with mental health). Our works 'Images and Illusions No. 58', and 'Everyman Film Stills (Frozen Warnings) No. 42a & 42b', will be on sale.





April 24, 2017 by Amanda Wells   Comments (0)

I can't believe that AA2A is almost at an end.  I am making the final touches to my pieces in preparation for the exhibition, we don't have confirmed exhibition dates yet so I want to make sure that I am ready.  Although the journey to Chester is quite far, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as an AA2A artist.  Having no set space to work in, sometimes it has been a bit difficult finding a room to work in, but I've always managed to find somewhere to squat and work.  I did a workshop on disability issues with some students and thoroughly enjoyed that, it would have been good to have a bit more student contact.  I would like to commend Rosie Pearsall for her hard work as the student rep, she did a great job.  And many thanks  to Lecturer Paula Johnson for printing off my fabric, it caused endless problems and even set the fire alarm off and the whole building had to be evacuated, oops!  Are we allowed to apply to AA2A again?  If so I would really like another go, I have had a good time and explored my work in ways that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.


'Reclaiming Earth - "Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without: Lessons from Our Grandmothers"'

April 1, 2017 by Lucy & Layla Swinhoe   Comments (0)

We are part of the WEAD (Women Eco Artists Dialog) member's exhibition 'Reclaiming Earth - "Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without: Lessons from Our Grandmothers"', at the San Francisco Library's Jewett Gallery from April 8-June 24 in celebration of Earth Day 2017. https://weadartists.org/april-8-wead-member-exhibit-reclaiming-earth

Our work 'Images and Illusions No. 99' will be shown - check out our profile page too. 





Amanda Wells – Don’t Dis Me Workshop

March 30, 2017 by Rosie Pearsall   Comments (0)

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Amanda Wells – Don’t Dis Me Workshop

Amanda’s workshop gave a brief look at disability equality and disability art from her perspective, the workshop included art activities, where we were able to express our thoughts and ideas visually.

We started the workshop by drawing ‘what being disabled means to us’ It was a tricky question to try and answer visually, drawings varied from colourful abstractions to figurative and representational ideas. We shared our ideas and then Amanda shared with us the terms established by organizations which dictate what disability means. A lot of the definitions seemed to mention restrictions in normal and everyday life, yet we began to discuss how the restrictions in everyday life are a due to faults in societal functions and not a part of the person.

We discussed how different disabilities aren’t always visible, I think that education on different disabilities is lacking in schools as there is a lack of knowledge on the topic and this lack of knowledge leads to a segregation and ignorance in society.

We discussed how people with disabilities might be treated, how funding is being cut which will affect their everyday life. 

The second activity we did was with the modelling clay, we were asked to create a visualization of a barrier that we might have overcome, however big or small. Some were literal and some more abstract, my own was a basket with blue and white eggs inside with one larger yellow egg, this was a representation of learning to prioritize my jobs, picking out the most important job to do first rather than trying to do them all.

Amanda shared with us a lot of useful information in regard to stereotypes and prejudices in society. It was really interesting to answer questions visually, where images and ideas could take a more symbolic form.