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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.


Mary Hill - mindfulness workshop

March 30, 2017 by Rosie Pearsall   Comments (0)

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I organized a workshop with AA2A artist Mary Hill, the workshop was titled –

How to develop a Mindful Drawing Practice. 

It was ‘An opportunity to explore the experience of drawing mindfully to then discuss how this could help your practice as artists and creative practitioners.’ 

The workshop was a great opportunity to gain an insight into Mary's work and a chance for a diverse group of people to interact through the drawing practice. Mary led two exercises, the first was to create a drawing from our imagination and the second was to create a drawing from an object. Both of the exercises were quite short and this later led to a discussion on having the workshops more regularly, allowing students and staff the time to stop and take a step back from their usual routine. Not only could students share their new found approaches to their work but we could also invite Mary back in to participate and lead the sessions.

Mary introduced the concept of being more mindful during the exercised, being conscious of posture, the body, the breath, the surroundings and of our intuitive observation. It was fascinating that although we were in a fairly noisy space it did not distract us from working peacefully, everyone was very involved in their drawing. We reflected on our personal experiences from the practice, I personally became more aware of how my body was positioned during practice and I began to be more aware of how this might affect my drawing.

It was nice to be able to work free from our own and others judgment with the ability to be able to freely express ourselves through drawing. I think the mindful practice was particularly beneficial because it was within the university, a place where people are usually moving around and constantly working to meet deadlines, so being able to work creatively without an agenda was therapeutic and a chance to let the mind relax from thought.

I found the workshop beneficial because it opened up a window of time where I could let go of all other priorities. I personally usually only draw when I create sketches of my planned sculptures, so it was nice to be able to return to a skill that inspired my initial artistic journey.


Drawing with Mindfulness

March 24, 2017 by Mary Hill   Comments (0)

Here we go again! Sometimes work seems to have a cyclical process. Sometimes a piece of work runs its course or runs out of steam. It seems uncertain where to go next. This is when I return to drawing. I recently completed a Mindfulness Training Course which gave me lots of insights to combine with my drawing practice. The skills of concentrating on a task and learning through a process are often things that many other artists do already. The mindfulness adds an opportunity to become more aware of the skills we have and enables us to use them to serve ourselves and our practice more effectively.

So how can mindfulness help our creative practice?

Mindfulness is about being fully here in the present moment. It is about developing awareness of the body and mind. This can help to slow our minds down. This in turn enables us to make physical space to focus on the task here and now. In this space there is no right and wrong only experience and the ability to notice our own experience. This can enable us to move from a judgemental mind to one that is curious, and asks questions- What if? Where? How? 

What is Mindful Drawing?

When we draw mindfully we bring awareness of our body/posture, thoughts and feelings to the process we are engaged with. This enables us to become aware of the feedback between the physical act of drawing and the creative mind.

Mindfulness training involves repeating meditations which helps to develop concentration and awareness. A drawing meditation combines mindfulness skills with drawing practice. An example of a practice follows. Allow about 10 minutes though can be longer if you wish.

A Mindful Drawing Practice

Before you start your practice you need to have all your materials ready in front of you so that you can stay in the practice and not have to go looking for materials. Its good to have a clear work area so there are not too many distractions. Chose some paper and something simple to draw with such as a pencil or pen.

Make your self comfortable.

Bring your awareness to your posture with your feet on the floor.

Be aware of how you are sitting balanced on your chair and your arms and shoulders relaxed.

Notice your breathing and how the breath comes and goes with out any effort.

When you are ready bring your attention to the materials in front of you noticing how your hands and arms can move effortlessly to pick up the pen and begin to draw.

This is an opportunity to trust in the wisdom of your body and mind.

Just draw whatever comes- there is no right and wrong. It is an opportunity to explore mark making, texture, imagination,observation-what ever is right for you.

When you come to the end of the drawing and put down your pencil bring your awareness back to your breath and the body and then open to the wider room.

This is the end of the practice.

This is something you can do every now and then when you have a moment or you can make it a regular practice. It is important to work in a way that suits you and the way you work as well as exploring new ideas and ways to work which may sustain you and your practice as an artist.