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Heading east

January 29, 2018 by Sally Stenton   Comments (0)

On Friday the aa2a artists were invited to take part in a 'Compass Safari' with Simon Fathfull. We set off from the centre of Parkers Piece with a compass, each in a different direction. I headed east and soon found myself back at Anglia Ruskin. The compass took me into the new science building (see previous blog entry). It created a different way of navigating the space and the building interfered with the compass, so I could no longer be sure which way I should be going. I tried the different floors to find a way out - the compass pointed direct to a fire exit, I hesitated and thought about pressing the bar. The camera hanging at an angle from my coat created a film of my journey that was unfamiliar to me when i watched it - the disruption to my former view and relationship to the place was unexpected and provocative - thank you Simon!

Olivia Punnett- AA2A Student Rep Review.

January 29, 2018 by Virginia Hussey   Comments (0)

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Looking through the AA2A website I came across Olivia Punnett. What inspires me are quite a few things. Firstly, I like she uses varied techniques in producing her work, such as printmaking, installation, film and projection. This could be the fact I enjoy working a varied way also, using the letterpress machine to contemporary use of Adobe package software on my Mac.
A keen part of my interest is based on the use of exhibitions as Olivia is a director of Haarlem Artspace- a contemporary and exhibition space, as I would like to design exhibitions in the future, but having work displayed at The British Library, Tate Library and Archive-Tate Britain are extremely ambitious and fantastic to have! Let alone being a member of The Editions publishing group producing some of her own books! She has achieved a lot and I admire her achievements to date!

We wished to meet before, with discussions over e-mail in regard to writing this mini blog yet, last minute circumstances have not allowed us too. Hopefully, in the coming week, we will be able to meet over a coffee with a lovely meet and greet.

Below is a book she has published called “States of Uncertainty" and the Haarlem Artspace.



(NOTE: these are not my images and are found via these links. These are for documentary use only).

‘Art International Contemporary’ Magazine, issue # 6 – November/December 2017

January 25, 2018 by Lucy & Layla Swinhoe   Comments (0)

We are featured in the ‘Art International Contemporary’ Magazine, issue # 6 – November/December 2017, and received ‘The Genus of Art’ Award.


Going mobile but where?

January 25, 2018 by Jayne Murray   Comments (0)

One of my residency goals is to explore making screen print a mobile process. I am becoming knowledgeable about the print making process, but I now need to see where I can take it physically. I asked one of my peers SIan MacFarlane if she would meet me to discuss Wolverhampton as a place. Sian is a long term Wolverhampton resident. I presented Sian with a map I call 'Bits Of Wolves' which looks like a flower. Sian talked a lot about how Wolverhampton has a lot of resources but also how they are vulnerable to threat of closure, that the people are friendly, and that Wolverhampton gets a bad rap: it's perception does not match it's reality. On the basis of this exchange I have decided to visit a couple of 'bits' next week as a start to finding a place to work. Closure could be a good theme.  


January 24, 2018 by Sally Stenton   Comments (0)


I began with the notion of ‘Tripping over digital objects’ and whilst I might deviate, this is serving as a kind of anchor point, an ambiguous place to return to! In amongst my varied enquiries I have

-       taken photos of an open form resembling a laptop, cut them out and placed them in spaces where people walk, on the floor and skirting board of the Forensic Science corridor.

-    used the plasma cutter to make a metal version of the 2d object

-    met with a Forensic Science lecturer and discovered that Forensic Science will be moving into the new science building (it is currently adjacent to the School of Art) and that there will be a new crime scene suite to replace the one on the Forensic corridor

 -   went in search of the new crime scene and found a sign to the psychology testing cubicles...

I realise now that the false starts, diversions and sense of not knowing are necessary precursors to the more comfortable (but probably transitory) sense of a way forward. I am thinking about the physical postures that are unwittingly assumed during interaction with digital devices, about turning this into a journey through the spaces that I am discovering....about connecting spaces for art and science.

Hello Everyone!

January 22, 2018 by Virginia Hussey   Comments (2)

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I just wanted to reach out to you all as I am new to AA2A and would like to get to know people along the way!

Please feel free to contact me,


Paper Residency Manchester and AA2A

January 15, 2018 by Olivia Penrose Punnett   Comments (0)

This year I received the ‘Exploring Paper’ residency at Paper Gallery Manchester. This runs through January and ends on the 10th of February 2018. Following this will be a solo show on May the 19th.

Researching paper, I found that bronze mirrors were packed in paper in China and because I often use mirrors in my projection work, this is fuelling my work at the gallery and on the AA2A. I have been inking up round mirrors to mono print from, and this circular mirror design is repeating and being reflected across all the work. The photogravure prints made at Derby are taken to the gallery and used to monoprint on also. Mainly I have used a photogravure print of a plain ‘foxed mirror’ background to monoprint on.

The circular mono prints also reference traditional Chinese Mountain River landscape painting or other more abstract forms. Monoprint seems to work particularly well with the watercolours I am using to draw from. Teaching print to Chinese students, I asked them what paper means to them and they described it as being ‘magical’. The mirrors themselves being inked will become black mirrors and reference this.

 The black mirror—an ancient gadget used by artists, magicians and scientists from Mexico to India—offers an insight into another history of “technê” that connected art, science and magic, producing enchanted technology of wonder. European painters used black mirrors to focus on composition, perspective and perception itself.” Svetlana Boym.http://www.e-flux.com/journal/19/67475/the-off-modern-mirror/

 In an earlier sculptural piece from 2016, Something in Between I used berries squashed into the surface of a self made screen, and for this residency I have made mulberry paint to wash back onto the black and white prints, referencing mulberry trees in paper making. Bronze tissue paper and pen is also used to create a berry, bronze and black and white palate across all the work.

This has been the focus of the first 2 weeks of the Residency at Manchester, that and finding my way around. I have also looked at materials and tested different types of paper, and ink. I have mixed in the mulberry paint to the ink also and this has introduced specs of seemed to inked surface and when printed these are areas of no contact. They prints appear dusty or mottled. When I first began printing I always took ink from the crusty surface of the ink pot to print from and not the smooth wet ink below the surface. I enjoy the effect of this and the way it makes prints look inky. I ink my plates up to mono print in heavier ink than clean thinner coats as I enjoy areas the paper unintentionally contacts. Printing on crunched paper or metallic paper also needs heavier ink to transfer the image as it has to get past shine and texture to be read as a whole.

I began at Derby on the AA2A printing nebulae from old glass plate slides and it is these images that I have started to make wall size coverings out of. This is made possible through the Artists Access to Colleges scheme at Derby University. Using the residency period at Paper to be between these 2 sites for making, using the Paper Gallery for the studio installation, mono printing and projection site, and Derby for photo etching and large format printing is so far working well.

Being so close to Chetham Library and the John Rylands Library, I visited these two sites last week.  Next week I also hope to make an appointment with the visual curator at John Rylands to explore any images relating to the history of paper, and the ‘alchemy’ of papermaking.

I now however am starting to feel restricted by working only in 2D, and I realise that, even though I am a printmaker primarily, I need to work more sculpturally now. Mirror, glass, screens, and light projection need to reenter the work now, so the next few weeks I will start to pick up on these materials as well as exploring alternative photography and printmaking methods.

I have started to make wall covering prints to be worked into with mono prints, mulberry washes, and cut into, but need this element to progress further. These will be swapped over, placed on the floor with mirrors, an OHP projector and glass plate negatives.

Next week, Artist and Curator Katherine Mager is coming to collaborate with me at Paper Gallery, and we will look at alternative photography methods together. Katherine will also document this process photographically.

When working in the studio I am trying to get my hands to work faster than my brain and resist the temptation to review, because I know this can only happen in true hindsight. Walking away from the work and ‘sleeping on it’ is so important. It also allows for the things your yearning for to re surface, and be found again. At this point, 2 weeks into Paper Residency, and 2 months into my AA2A, I can see I need to bring more elements together and concentrate on a physical frame to hold this work together or incorporate all the different things cohesively. Screen structures are something I have used before and also marry well with the history of paper. Projection has always used screen also and this is where I want to go next!

Slow progress on the "flying lampadario"

January 14, 2018 by Chris Meigh-Andrews   Comments (0)

Finally heard from the company in Italy who can replace the broken component of my Murano glass lamp. I have ordered the new part, sent off the old one (so they can match it), and now await further developments.

Meanwhile, my quest to get the brushless motors to work via the arduino carries on, and I have orderd yet more components that seem to be required to make it all function. I'm encouraged with this "progress", and am determined to solve the various challenges this work has presented me with!

Update on progress

January 8, 2018 by Annette Pugh   Comments (0)

I have now spent an intense period of time in the studio re-examining and re-photographing archival imagery. I have explored macro techniques, considered the implications of editing and re-purposing existing histories and am currently at the stage when I am starting to look at the process of bringing what may seem quite disparate images, together as a film. Although I have previously created visuals that stand alone, I am curious to see how these new pieces will function with regard to a timed element and what if any, notation or voice over may be required. Unknown territory can be a little daunting but after today’s session all looks promising so far.

Back Then

January 1, 2018 by Emma Davies   Comments (0)

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I have realised how much I have missed printmaking. Why has it taken me so long?

I do know.

When you leave the comforts of University with all of it's facilities, at first it doesn't seem like that much of a wrench; as you are embarking on the next stage of your artistic journey (over used word I know) so in part, it is quite exciting as you are full of ideas and visions as to how your work might progress. 

However, as the years go by, you find that you have established a practice that is quite different to the one you had anticipated as you have navigated around NOT having the facilities that you had at university - i.e. the print room, the woodwork room, the editing suites. As these are not readily at your disposal once you have left. 

However - this is coming from a 40+ year old, who when graduating way back in 1993, the internet, mobile phones and all these technological gadgets like digital camera's and sound recording equipment etc that one can now buy through Amazon - well none of that existed. So, to access our information as to where we might access any form of technical help, we had a PRINTED copy of A-N sent to us every month and we relied very heavily on word of mouth, leaflets and art magazines. Now - well - you just 'google it'. I sound like I have just emerged from the dark ages - I can assure you that I have not been living under a rock for the last 25 years, BUT 

Back, then, when we all left university, we had to keep in touch via the TELEPHONE and WRITING LETTERS. Who'd have though it! So, keeping in touch and keeping or establishing networks, was very difficult. Especially, when, on my financial knees, I had to move out of the city and into rural Northamptonshire to live in a house with free rent (long story).

And thus began my 'lost years' as an artist. I had fits and starts and a few successes and became quite known locally for my landscape and figurative work. However, I knew that drawings and paintings, framed and hung on a wall, was not the whole me, not even close. When studying for my degree, I would say that I probably had the most radical approach to my practice out of my cohort. Not the most skilled, or consistent, but I revelled in being non conformist and pushing the boundaries. The network was there to encourage me to do this. The travel, the questioning from tutors, the visits to galleries. It all helped. And my rebelliousness.

Rural communites don't take to radical ideas too well (well they didn't then, things have eimproved since then), so my audience for that was non existant. I began to drift into being a very confused artist, trapped by circumstance, trapped by the untruth that to be a successful artist, one has to 'sell' work. By thinking, 'will this sell', immediately strangles any intuitive and experimental thoughts out of ones mind. Art becomes a product. It limits.

I also became a parent. Mum's and Tot's groups, Primary Schools, local parent networks, embarrased child - not conducive to boundary pushing. I tried it once,local school visit to my studio, my daughters class, aged 11, pre teen - she did not want me talking about a nude self portrait and how it symbolised fertility and ageing in women. But talk I did. She's never forgiven me. 

Now of course, aged 17, she's all about boundary pushing, so 'I'm free, free who I want to be' (cue an iconic 1990's Manchester track). It hasn't been that cut and dry - ever since 'nude self- portrait gate', I have been edging forward, poking my boundary pushing stick now and then. So, in a nutshell and as a very rough estimate, I had about 10 years being lost, about 10 years finding my way back and then particulary over the last five years, my work has begun to get back to a place, a direction where I think it ought to be. And I am defintely much more clued up than when I left university. As I have lived and breathed surviving as an artist and navigated many of the pitfalls along the way. 

My network is now expansive - and crucial. Friends and colleagues who are on similar wavelengths and who can question my work. An audience that can stretch internationally (thank you social media) and the opportunity to build upon my contacts daily. Impossible back then. The facilities issue can still be problematic. I have used printmaking in my practice away from the print room - as you are forced to investigate more domestic techniques - a rolling pin, and blistering my hands through applying pressure was my strategy. However AA2A enables you to access equipment (printing in this case) that will produce work that would be impossible using soley basic techniques. 

I was going to talk about the processes that I am working through in the print room, as I am fully immersed in it - and am becoming addicted once again - to all it's idiosynchrosies (sp?) and nerve wracking moments, but I got side tracked by asking myself why it had taken me so long.

I shall endevour to do that next time.