Art, reviews and thoughts from a young artist in Plymouth, UK.

Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Emerging Natural Beauty exhibition at Ocean Studios

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Today I went to the Ocean Studios gallery to see the exhibition Emerging Natural Beauty which is part of the Home Grown series of pop up exhibitions by local artists.

Alice and Bethany Antliff are sisters who are studying 3D Design Craft, specialising in ceramics and glass, at Plymouth College of Art. Both artists’ work takes inspiration from nature. From a distance Bethany’s piece Symbiotic Beauty looked like real twigs covered in blossoms and moss, but up close I could see her detailed work with porcelain and glazes wrapped around wire. It is pretty and fragile and stepping back again I thought that each branch looked like a dancing figure.

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Bethany’s Charred Bark vases are incredibly realistic and it’s hard to believe they were created and not grown. She has created ceramic bowls using the same colours and shades that seem as if they are ancient finds.

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Several of Bethany’s pieces feature mushroom shaped glass which appear to be growing out of them. I really like Bethany’s work which made me feel very calm.

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Alice’s pieces are incredibly fragile and delicate. Her Daisies Daisies Daisies collection are porcelain vases, bowls, and decorative pieces which have been ‘wallpapered’ with tiny porcelain daisies. She creates the daisies from a mould made using real flowers, then hand applies them individually so the entire piece is covered in overlapping flowers.

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Alice’s piece Destruction is inspired by deforestation. This piece made me feel sad and is a really effective statement about this issue.

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Alice has also created delicate flower-shaped jewellery and I really liked her intricate earrings and how she has displayed them.

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Renovat Moody is an African born artist also studying 3D Design Crafts, specialising in glass blowing, at PCA and is influenced by nature and their African heritage. Renovat’s The Essence of Africa vase collection have strong and bright colours and shapes and made me think of fruit and seeds.

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Renovat also has some framed pieces on display, including a copper wire piece that has been twined and threaded with beads. This piece looks like a tree covered in colourful birds.

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One of my favourite pieces on display was Renovat’s framed picture of the world where all the land is made of computer chips and circuitboard. The piece is put together so carefully and accurately, and even tiny islands are marked out. I could look at this and follow the coastlines for hours with my eyes and i’d love to see a bigger piece made the same way.

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The three artists completely filled every corner of the exhibition space and it’s amazing to consider how much work these students have created already! On display was also projected footage Behind the Scenes of their work in progress by Emma Pontin, and a film called Ink Flows by Jake Davey, Matthew Howard, Nat Goddard, Kristin Dodge, and Terry Lee Thurlow. Their films provided a relaxing soundtrack to the whole exhibition.

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Finally there were some pieces on display and up for auction to raise money for the Devon Wildlife Trust. I really liked Jane McEwen’s bowls with endearing messages stamped into them.

The new exhibition at Ocean Studios Gallery will open on Wednesday.

The Art of Truth In The Digital Age

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Ocean Studios Opening Hours!

Today I went to see a pop-up exhibition at Ocean Studios in the Royal William Yard.  The exhibition is The Art of Truth in the Digital Age and the artists are Oona Wagstaff and Alan Qualtrough.  The work on display “explores the cosequences of digital communications technology on our society such as the spectacle and the changing nature of truth and reality.”

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Prints by Alan Qualtrough

Alan leads workshops on letterpress printing and explained to us how it was done.  It sounded similar to using stamps but instead using big wooden blocks with letters carved into them.  I’ve seen one of the prints in the PCA Pre-degree Centre, and Alan said that he has been working with a group of students there.  This installation of his letterpress prints  seems like a protest against misuse of social “meedia” and lies that are spread digitally.  It is a striking and colourful display and the simple slogans made me really think about the messages I see and hear every day.  Interestingly, one of the most interesting prints seemed completely blank until I took a very close look, but you’ll have to visit to see it for yourself! 

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Letterpress print by Alan Qualtrough

This print feels louder then the others because of it’s huge, blocky typeface and dark colour.  I liked the way that the print isn’t completely finished in places and Alan explained that this technique is called a ‘kiss’, whereas a strong complete print is called a ‘bite’.  I’ve never done any letterpress printing but seeing this exhibition and meeting Alan has gotten me really interested in trying it out for myself!

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Oil on board by Oona Wagstaff

This abstract piece by Oona Wagstaff is a painting, but her paintings felt more like sculptures when I viewed them up close.  She layers oil paint on board and there are sections cut out of the boards which made me want to stroke them and feel the edges. 

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"Information Bomb" by Oona Wagstaff

Information Bomb is a silkscreen of a graphite drawing by Oona.  It is dark and scary but still beautiful, and so are her black and white monotype prints. Both Oona and Alan will be in the gallery at different times throughout the exhibition if you want to talk to them or have any questions.

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A story box by Fi Smart

The shop at the front of the gallery has several pieces by artists from Ocean Studios including this story box by Fi Smart.  Her story boxes are cute and inspiring.  We have been making houses with story box rooms at my Saturday Arts Club and these have given me some ideas.

The Art of Truth in the Digital Age exhibition is part of Home Grown, a month of pop-up exhibitions at Ocean Studios by various Plymouth Artists.  I hope I can go to and report on all of them!

Links for more information:

Ocean Studios

Alan Qualtrough and his
Kiss & Bite Letterpress Workshops

Oona Wagstaff

Fi Smart

The House of Marbles

Yesterday I went to the House of Marbles in Bovey Tracey with my local home-ed group.  The House of Marbles has galleries of marbles and old pottery, a glass shop filled with artwork made in the building’s own glass-making workshop, and giant marble runs.

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Curriculum Vitae marble run by Alex Schmid

The marble runs by Alex Schmid are hypnotic to watch.  My favourite is Curriculum Vitae.  The marbles are lifted to the top of the run by a chain then let go on to the track.  I counted at least five different routes the balls could follow, including loop-the-loops, staircases, and counterweight trebuchets.  The marble runs are all made of thick wire welded together and the name of the piece, the year it was built and Alex Schmid’s initials are spelled out in the metal body of the marble runs.

Upstairs there is an enormous marble run, the biggest in the UK, called Snooki.  This one uses snooker balls and includes staircases, trebuchets, and a Newton’s Cradle.  There are also sections where you can’t see the ball but can hear it whirring round a funnel or rolling down inside a pipe, it is exciting waiting for the balls to reappear from these parts

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Some of the marbles on display.  I like the eyeballs and the printed designs.

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I really like the glittery swirls on the left of this picture.  They remind me of ocean waves.

The marbles gallery contains hundreds and hundreds of marbles and there is a lot of information about the different types, materials, and the methods of making them.  I learned that people have been collecting and playing with marbles for centuries and that they have been made from clay, steel, stone, glass, and precious rocks.  There are several different types of marbles, including Clambroth (striped swirls on creamy background), End of Day (made with “grits” which are leftover bits of glass), Sulphides (a clear marble with a clay figure in the centre), and Clears and Opaques (single colours).  Some of the materials used to colour glass marbles include Gold, Copper, Cobalt, Silver, and Uranium and the swirls and spirals inside some marbles are made using coloured glass canes.

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Tiny glass animals made in the House of Marbles glass workshop.

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Watching glass birds being made by glassmakers in the glass workshop.

The shop selling Teign Valley Glass has tons and tons of beautiful pieces of art made out of glass.  There are glass apples, birds, vases, and glass bowls that look like sea foam and waves.  Each piece is made right there in the workshop and is a unique object, and the whole room is full of colour.

There were glassmakers making small glass birds while we were there, and we watched them work for ages.  First, one glassmaker would put a glob of glass onto the end of a large metal rod and heat the glass up in the pot furnace until it was glowing orange.  He then rolled it in coloured powdered glass, then fused it all together in the pot furnace again.  He did this several times with two different colours.  Next, he used a pad of wet newspaper to shape the glass into the bird’s body.  He then took a pair of tweezers to stretch out a bit of the glass to make the bird’s tail.  Finally, he spun it around a few more times in the pot furnace and used the tweezers again to pull a smaller part of the glass out to make the bird’s beak.  The process was mesmerising to watch and it made me think about how much effort and time is put into making glass art by hand.

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“Do what you can, Being what you are, Shine like a glow worm, If you can’t be a star”

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“K stands for Kindness”

In another room at the House of Marbles is an exhibition showing the history of the Bovey Potteries.  The first thing I saw was a scale model of the potteries as they used to be.  All around it are cases full of pottery that was made there or found nearby.  There are a lot of different types of pots and cups with inspirational messages written on them, and little clay figurines.  Much of the crockery is decorated with detailed and pretty patterns, and I’ve taken pictures of these so I can experiment with the patterns at another time.  There is a lot of information on cards throughout the room, and a short video about the potteries’ history.

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I really liked this clay diorama of a person making pottery in a clay oven.

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A cat produced by Wemyss Ware.  I love how it has a cute but slightly creepy look.

The House of Marbles was fascinating and seeing all the different kinds of artwork has definitely given me some inspiration, and I haven’t even seen everything that’s in there yet!  There is a whole section on board games that I didn’t have time to explore.  Hopefully I’ll be able to visit again sometime soon, and I recommend a visit to anyone interested in marble runs or local history.

Titanic Exhibition

On the 23rd of January I went to an exhibition about the Titanic and White Star Line at the Duke of Cornwall hotel, organised by Nigel Voisley.  Nigel said that he was a Titanic enthusiast since he was seven and that most of the items on display were part of his collection, but he had hired a few to put on display, like the old rivet that came from the Titanic itself.

Some of the items on display included a scale model of the Titanic, a life jacket, and tons of everyday objects, like cutlery and crockery.  The model of the ship was interactive and had two buttons hooked up to speakers, when these were pressed they played actual recordings of the Titanic’s horn and the sound of its engines.  I thought it was a particularly fun part of the exhibition and the younger children seemed to enjoy playing with the buttons a lot.

The life jacket was a prototype used as a model for the lifejacket props used in James Cameron’s movie Titanic.  I learned that the life jacket design was one of the leading causes of death on the Titanic.  The lifejacket was cloth with pockets built into it filled with large chunks of cork.  The cork was effective in keeping people afloat, but it was so effective that it wouldn’t sink at all below the water surface.  This means that if someone fell or jumped into the water from over 10 feet, their bodies hit the water but couldn’t go under and so their necks would snap!  This showed me how important it is to look for unintended effects when designing something because they could be serious, even fatal.

I was really interested in the designs on the White Star Line crockery, because they were really pretty.  The designers had used only a couple of colours but the patterns were so intricate and delicate.  I copied some of them down to use as inspiration.

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Sketches of the patterns on the White Star Line crockery.  Unfortunately one of my sketches is smudged..

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One of the crockery display cases – One of my favourites in this one is the butter pat dish.

One of the other exhibits I looked at was a rivet from the Titanic.  I learned that not all of the rivets were made from the same metal, and this made the ship have weak points meaning the Titanic broke more easily, and was one of the causes of the disaster.  This taught me that choice of materials is really important in designing.

Another object I looked at was a commemorative print on tissue paper.  Nigel explained that White Star Line didn’t take responsibility for the sinking of the Titanic and so survivors and families of the victims didn’t get any compensation from them.  At that time there was no welfare system so that left many of those families destitute.  In order to raise money for these families people and organizations would make and sell objects like this commemorative paper.

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Commemorative tissue paper print

The exhibition was brilliant and I learnt loads from my visit and from talking to Nigel, who is very passionate about the Titanic.  Nigel gave some of the children in our group Commemorative Medals for doing some drawing of the Titanic and J was lucky enough to earn one.

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After the exhibition I went down to Millbay Pier to look at the memorial plaque.  The plaque was made with just a few colours but they worked very well together, and there were lots of tiny details and texture to it.  The plaque made me think of some of the linocuts and blockprints I have seen.  There are also plaques there for the Fourth Eddystone Lighthouse and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

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Unfortunately my photos from the day have shadows across them but I do recommend a visit to see these plaques if you can.

After I got home we found the movie Titanic on Netflix and watched it together.  It’s a really long film and the soundtrack was repetitive and too emotional, but once the disaster kicked off I really started to enjoy the film.  When I was watching it I was reminded of the different facts I had learnt earlier at the exhibition and it definitely made the film more interesting!

NA&DSC London Trip

On the 19th of November I went with my National Art and Design Saturday Club on a coach trip to a Welcome Day for all our groups at Central Saint Martins college and the Tate Britain gallery.

At 6am our coach was in front of the old Plymouth museum.  I found a seat next to a friend and chatted while we waited for the rest of the group.  It was my first time on a coach and it had soft seats with buttons to make them recline and red curtains in the windows.  We set off at 6:20 and me and my friends were excited but tired from being awake so early.  A lot of my group slept for the first part of the journey but after we stopped at Exeter services to stretch our legs and get some snacks almost everyone stayed awake.  We had another five hours or so of travel ahead so we talked about visits that each of us had made to London in the past and told each other funny anecdotes from our lives.  I did some sketching trying out different character faces but my lines were a bit wobbly from the movement of the coach, and I kept dropping my rubber down the side of the seat.

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Character sketches I made on the coach

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I did these sketches of Marvel characters in pencil on the coach and added the ink and watercolour later.

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This is what my pencil sketch of Quicksilver looked like before inking.  I did this one for my brother and Skyped it to him back at home.

As we travelled through London we took pictures out of the coach windows and pointed out buildings we recognized, like the Gherkin, MI6 and Big Ben.  Our coach dropped us off close to Central Saint Martins and we walked the rest of the way.  Central Saint Martins is a huge building and we noticed that the inside room was so vast that it was almost as cold as it was outside.  We were given stickers to wear to show we were from Plymouth College of Art and ‘perylene maroon’ goodie bags from Cass Art.  In my bag I had an A4 sketchbook, some pencils, a bottle of water and some snacks.  We sat down to have some lunch while our student ambassador Ben played on a piano and we waited for some of the other groups from around the country to arrive.

After lunch we looked at all the other self-portraits from the different groups and a photographer took a picture of us in front of our own portraits.  It felt amazing to have my self-portrait up in a gallery with other young artists’ work.  There was a lot of variety in the style and techniques used in the portraits I saw.  One group, from the Victoria and Albert museum, had used concertinaed paper with two portraits drawn on it so the one that you could see depended on the angle you viewed it from.  Some of these were quite creepy to look at because one side would be a regular portrait and the other side looked strange or demonic.  Other groups had worked with print, photography, pencils or collage.  My group used acrylic paint on pieces of wood and I wrote about that process in a previous blog post.

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My PCA sticker (stuck to my usual sketchbook), and my new grey sketchbook and perylene maroon bag from Cass Art

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The Plymouth group photo with our self-portraits and goodie bags, posted by @natsatclub on Twitter.  I am on the left in the front row.

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My photo of our self-portraits hung in Central Saint Martins.  Mine is the third from the left on the bottom row.

After looking around the portraits all the groups were shown into a large room for a series of talks.  We learned that even though there were hundreds of us there that day we only represented a third of the total members nationally!  Some groups were so far away they couldn’t make it together and so one family had come alone.  Those of us from Plymouth spent at least 12 hours travelling to London and back that day!  We heard from Cecilia Weckstrom who told us that when she was younger she didn’t know what she wanted to study, and got an apprenticeship with a children’s book company and learned about graphic design, and now she works for Lego and is a Trustee for the NA&DSC.  The director of the Saturday Club Trust, Sorrel Hershberg, and Jeremy Till, the Head of Central Saint Martins, both gave us information about the Saturday Arts Club and thanked the founders Sir John Sorrell and Lady Frances Sorrell.

When we came out of the room, ginormous pieces of paper were rolled out for us all to draw on and there were people holding big buckets with tons of crayons, pens and pencils for us to use.  My group didn’t have a lot of time before we got back on the coach but we sat on the floor for a short while and I drew my friend and myself.  There were a lot of cool doodles and there were tons of kids drawing each other.  After that I bought myself a big red NatSatClub hoodie and we got back on the coach for the next part of our trip.

All the groups headed to different venues around London and mine headed to the Tate Britain gallery.  We got a short tour around a few of the pieces of art on display and our tour guide and our tutor Kate encouraged us to talk about and critique what we saw.  We studied each piece for a few minutes and tried to think of single words that described how we felt or the impression we got from the artworks.  One piece that I found intriguing was Fiona Banner’s Break Point which is a huge canvas painted white with red marker pen text describing a chase scene from the movie Point Break.  The shade of red that she used and the way the text got closer together towards the bottom of the piece made me tense and it seemed very aggressive.  I haven’t seen the film, but I hope to soon so I can see what happens next!

We moved on to the Turner Prize 2016 Exhibition.  The Turner Prize is a contemporary art award given every year to a British artist chosen from four nominees.  My favourite piece on display was an installation by Michael Dean which was a pile of pennies equal to one penny less than its title, United Kingdom poverty line for two adults and two children: twenty thousand four hundred and thirty six pounds sterling as published on 1st September 2016.   Me and my friends thought it would be fun to roll around in it all.  It sounds like a lot of money but it didn’t feel like it when I saw it as a pile of pennies.  There was an enourmous gold sculpture of a butt by Anthea Hamilton called ‘Project For Door (After Gaetano Pesce)’ and people were laughing and taking silly photos near it.  I thought it was absurd in a funny way.  Visitors were invited to write their thoughts about the exhibition and pin them up outside the gallery, so we did that and then left to make the long trip home.

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My sketches of my friend on the left and myself on the right surrounded by other young artists’ contributions to the big drawing papers

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Me at home in my hoodie

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Michael Dean’s installation

On the journey home I took some more pictures of London lit up at night, and everyone was wide awake and in the back someone was playing music.  It was such an exciting day, me and my friends ended up having laughing fits for ages for no real reason.  We stopped at services to get dinner, but we panicked because we thought we had taken too long but it turned out we were back before most of the group.  We settled down eventually and it got quieter and some people fell asleep, and I carried on working in my sketchbook.  We got back to Plymouth at around 11 and I was exhausted.  The whole day was absolutely amazing and I’m really thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of it.

Plymouth Art Weekender Day 3

The 25th of September was Day 3 of the Plymouth Art Weekender.  Here are links to my earlier posts about the event: Day 1 and Day 2 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

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My little sister on the merry-go-round at Union Street Party 2016

Day 3 was a Sunday so we relaxed in the morning then headed to the Union Street Party, where last year I took part in my first public participation art project “Painter Pitcher” (organised by Amy Whittingham), with my brother and my dad.  That was a lot of fun and I was looking forward to seeing what was happening at the party this year.  The flyer for the Weekender said there would be a print workshop from Double Elephant and I really wanted to give that a try as I have seen their workshop leaflets at PCA in the past and they look really interesting.

We arrived as a band was setting up on the main stage and a woman from the We Are Plymouth booth asked if we wanted to take part in their photo project to celebrate Plymouth’s people and communities.  Me and my brother were given a small whiteboard to write “We are Plymouth” on (I added a doodle of my own!) and a badge each to wear for our photo.  Unfortunately we didn’t take a photo of our own because we thought they would be posted online but their Instagram account is empty!

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Instructions and ticket for Marcella Finazzi’s installation at Sloggett and Son, and my We Are Plymouth badge

We carried on walking around and had fun messing about on a bouncy castle and a rodeo bull.  Next to the bouncy castle were two men playing music with a guitar and drums and they were encouraging members of the public to join in. We watched a woman singing an Elvis song and a few young boys taking turns on the mic and drums, and there was a really great atmosphere around this part of the Party.  Right next door was Sloggett and Son, a shop that sells vintage furniture and they were hosting an installation of instant photos and sound recordings called “What we talk about when we talk about love” by Marcella Finazzi.  We got into line to participate and Marcella gave us a ticket and instructions on what to do.  We wrote about what love means to us on slips of paper and she took our photo for her album.  Being around all the vintage furniture while listening to to the conversations through the headphones made me feel like I was inside someone’s house and part of their family.  When we left we were given another slip of paper each with a ‘love thought’ printed on it.   Mine read “You look good today” and my brother’s read “I believe in you”.

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Instant photo of my family by Marcella Finazzi

We heard music and saw people dancing and went to watch for a few minutes then went into the Camper Obscura.  This is a camper van that has been converted into a Camera Obscura that you can sit inside!  We all went in and the man running the van closed the door to shut out the light.  We sat opposite each other on benches and he gave us a big whiteboard to hold flat on our laps.  He opened a hole in the roof with mirrors inside and the reflections of outside the van came in and were shown on the whiteboard.  We had to raise and lower it to get the picture in focus.  I loved this, it was a great experiment and I want to build my own camera obscura at home to better understand how they work.  After we came out the man took a polaroid of us to put on the door alongside pictures of all the other people who had visited that day.  I have my own Instant 1000 Polaroid Land Camera which I used last year for my Max Caulfield cosplay, I don’t know if it works but I am going to save up and get some film (there is a shop on the Barbican called So Perfect Images that sells it) to try out because I really like the way they work and the photos they make, and I’ve been really inspired by the different artists using instant film throughout the Weekender.

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Polaroid in development of my family by the man with the Camper Obscura

 

We looked up and down Union Street again and ate some delicious apples which we hand-turned into long spirals with a little machine, but we couldn’t find the Double Elephant workshop.  We were a little disappointed about that but otherwise we did have a really good time at this years Union Street Party, and I really liked all the different ways there were to get involved in the artworks happening there, however it was time to move on to our next destination.

We drove over to Devonport Guildhall for the Chrysalis exhibition of work by the artists from Flameworks.  All of the artists are making different things, from illustrations to metalwork and jewellery.  One of my favourite displays was “Teapotty” by Peter Heywood which was a selection of teapots made from different materials, including tea leaves, cubes of beech wood, lead, cocktail sticks, and chocolate.  The teapot made of cubes of wood made me think of 3D pixel art brought to life and there was something quite humorous about the collection.  I also liked “Resurrection” by Ati Charlesworth, a mixed media drawing of an old tree trunk with fresh branches and leaves growing from it.  The trunk was drawn with ink dots but Ati used watercolour and gold paint on the leaves and the new wood to bring it to life.  Another drawing I liked was “Shadow of a Previous Life” by Louise Rabey.  This was quite a sad picture based on a memory Louise had of a beloved pet who passed away when she was young.  There were lots more pieces of art on display here, my brother and sister’s favourite was “Salix II” by Piers Edsall which is a big steel musical sculpture with rods that the two of them made a lot of noise with!

Before we left the Guildhall we went downstairs to the cafe and I had a piece of treacle tart that had a layer of jam in it, and looked around Lynsey Johnstone’s exhibition “Floral Abundance”.  Lynsey works with acrylic paints, metallic paints, and glitter to make vibrant and colourful paintings which are full of life.

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Close up on “Summertime Magic” by Lynsey Johnstone

Our next stop was Devonport Live at 56 George Street but unfortunately it was closed, so we carried on to the Royal William Yard and the “Being Human” exhibition.  As soon as we entered we saw the “Participate” installation by Alain Pezard.  This was a collection of porcelain figurines which were quite unsettling, and some of them had been broken and stuck back together in creepy ways.  This has given me some ideas for things I would like to (un)make and it reminded me of Sid’s experiments from Toy Story!  I wish we had known about this piece beforehand because Alain had invited members of the public to bring in their own figurine and I would have liked to do that.

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“Participate” by Alain Pezard

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Creepy figurine holding her own head in Alain Pezard’s “Participate”

I found a lot of this exhibition quite alien to me because I haven’t experienced much fine art before.  Every piece of artwork was different to the other works on display, and there was photography, video, installations, collections, oil paintings, even performance works. I enjoyed another of Alain Pezard’s installations called “Water of the World”, which is a range of bottles of water collected and sent to him over 32 years by participants from all over the world.

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“Water of the World” by Alain Pezard

Another one of my favourites was “Devon Words” by Caitlin Hennessy.  Caitlin is interested in old words that are disappearing from our language as it evolves.  Caitlin talked to us about her research and the meanings of the words she had chosen were sometimes quite funny but sometimes there wasn’t a better word for what was being described, for example we found out that a ‘griggle’ is a small apple left on it’s tree!  I liked this piece so much I bought a small book of words hand-printed (and signed for me!) by Caitlin.

 

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“Devon Words” collected by Caitlin Hennessy

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A page from one of Caitlin Hennessy’s printed books of old words

Before we left RWY we popped into Martin Bush’s gallery of oil paintings.  Martin creates huge bright and warmly coloured abstract art inspired by jazz music and landscapes, and influenced by Matisse and Jackson Pollock.  Martin’s paintings are really beautiful and full of energy and we all really enjoyed our visit to his gallery.

And that was the end of my Art Weekender! I got to see such a wide variety of art but there were still exhibitions I couldn’t fit in, in particular I was sad that I didn’t make it to the Plymouth Arts Centre or the Karst Gallery.  I’m really looking forward to seeing more exhibitions by local artists at the next Plymouth Art Weekender in 2017 and especially finding out what opportunities there are for members of the public and young artists like me to experience being part of the creation of different artworks for the festival.

Plymouth Art Weekender Day 2, Part 3!

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For the last part of Saturday I went to Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard.  We started upstairs at Emerge which is “a communal workspace for artists and creative businesses.”  I looked at Esin Forster’s ocean inspired clay pieces and paintings, and I really liked her character design and marker work.  I looked through one of her sketchbooks and found comic style drawings of adventurous characters and they were full of energy.  I met Gabriella Van Der Stelt who was working on vivid and warm feeling acrylic paintings of fruit in bowls and buildings.  Gabriella was very friendly and I looked her up online afterwards, she also does manga and videogame influenced painting and drawing.  I really liked the open space of Emerge studios and can imagine how peaceful it must be to have an area like that to work in.

We went into Lisa Stokes‘ studio and talked to her daughter.  Lisa paints large oil paintings which are dark and ominous.  Along the corridor, Mary Hick does linocut printing of animals and insects.  Her work is intricate and she patiently carves out every blade of grass and hair.  Sarah Smalldon (instagram)and Shayne House share a studio where she works on her illustration work and he works on his photography.  Sarah showed us her brightly coloured and cheery pictures of houses and buildings, and her hand-decorated plates and furniture.  She primes the surface and then draws on them with Uni Posca pens.  I am going to try this on some of my own things and for cosplay.  Shayne has been working with pin prick photography and talked us through the process.  He takes photos and vintage postcards and pricks them with an awl to highlight certain parts, then places the photo on a lightbox and photographs them again.  He said he has been inspired by Amy Friend.  Pin prick photography gives a really beautiful effect and I recommend you visit his site and see his work, you can also read the backs of the vintage postcards he has collected to work on.  I also met Stella in their studio who is a young artist with similar tastes to me, and who I would like to meet again and maybe collaborate with.

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Items I collected on my visit, showing (clockwise from top left): Ocean Studios flyer; oil paintings by Lisa Stokes; mixed media on canvas by Teresa Pemberton; wire sculpture by Nikki Taylor; business cards from Martyn Cross, Annette Daly and Melanie Cassidy; jewellery by Rachel Darbourne; glass and concrete sculpture by Matt Tomas; and linocut print by Mary Hick.

There are so many other artists at Ocean Studios and many of them were happy to talk to us.  Matt Tomas works on contemporary sculpture, mixing concrete and glass.  He showed us the moulds he uses to create glass spikes.  Rachel Darbourne makes jewellery from colourful plastic sheets, similar to that used in plastic bags.  She folds and bends lots of tiny pieces to make shapes that look like carnations or coral, or Chinese dragon costumes.  She also makes art from dismantling teddy bears!   Teresa Pemberton is a mixed media artist whose work is inspired by Devon and Cornwall.  We looked at her canvases which included oil paints, wire, bits of metal and other found objects.  We didn’t meet her unfortunately but the two ladies in her studio were very welcoming, and her artwork has a sense of being welcoming and natural.

The last studio on the top floor we went to belonged to Martyn Cross.  Martyn works with unusual materials in experimental ways, and he has ironed plastic bags and shaped them into the shape of  a hat and a shoe.  He collects old knitting patterns, cuts parts of them away and rearranges them to create strange images.  I really liked his simple character drawings that were framed at the side of the studio.  Downstairs  Annette Daly and Melanie Cassidy share a glasswork studio where they make jewellery and decorations.  We quickly looked into a couple of other studios and glimpsed some acrylic paintings we liked by Mike Hanny, but the Studios were closing and so it was time to leave.  Looking online afterwards I found out that the paintings I liked are part of a series called ‘The Architects Glittering Plan’, and involve lots of patterned coloured ‘worms’ on a black background.  I would love a poster of one of these on my wall.

 

Outside me and my brother took part in a ‘sketch-a-thon’ and spoke to Nikki Taylor about her wire mesh sculptures.  Nikki uses sketches, photos and exact measurements to create life-size sculptures of human bodies in motion.  There was so much more I didn’t have time to see in the few hours I was there, as Ocean Studios is filled with all sorts of artists and craftspeople.  The Royal William Yard is a very peaceful place to be and I’d like to spend more time there.

In my next post I will write about the Union Street Party, the exhibitions at Devonport Guildhall, and the fine art exhibition also at Royal William Yard.

Links to previous posts on this years Weekender:

Day 1

Day 2, Part 1

Day 2, Part 2

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