Events and Exhibitions

Ancient Scent: Ireland

Today I went to St. Saviours’ Hall on the Barbican for an exhibition by Ancient Scent, a group of artists who take residencies in different places.  Their project Ancient Scent: Ireland was a residency “inspired by the spirit of Ithell Colquhoun’s own journey to Ireland, recorded in her psychogeographical memoir”.  During this project, Ancient Scent spent a week in Ascendancy House in Ballycumber, and visiting sites such as Durrow Abbey, Clonmacnoise, and Leap Castle.  The work in the exhibition was made after their return in April 2017, and created during group art workshops.

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The OTT cult’s (founded by Lally MacBeth) fashionable knitwear

 

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Ceramic bowl and knife and fork set
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Donation box, a book of stories, and zines made for the exhibition
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Big ceramic bowl

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A few my favourites from the collection of ceramic pieces made by Ancient Scent!
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Collaborative ceramic pieces
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Andrew Sneyd/Lyn Andrewes – Interaction Between 3 Elements – Oil painting
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Lyn Andrewes – The Wells of Leamonaghan Parish, The Dark Well – Mosaic
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Collaborative pottery – inspired by the “banquets” Ancient Scent had during their residency!
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Postcards of Phebe Placement’s artwork
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“Sad Spaniel Bird” – Weird and creepy!
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An OTT wall decoration
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Altar Slab – I love how mysterious and witchy it looks!
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Drawings made by rubbing charcoal on paper and then making “her ancestors” from the shapes
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A huge collage painting
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Two cute characters made using Rorschach print methods
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A small sculpture trapped in glass
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“Everything gets Embroidered”
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Two of three creepy clown-like sculptures – Where did the last one go..?
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 Loads of small ceramic pots made for holding different sorts of things
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Phoebe Placement – Drawing (or a print?) on silk
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Close up of Penny MacBeth’s Eiru Beneath the Sea of Green on a lightbox
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Penny MacBeth – Head of Lugh II – Seems almost angelic!
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A print of one of Phoebe Placement’s pieces

The artistic styles and the mediums which Ancient Scent use are really diverse, from photography, to pottery and ceramics, all the way to creating an imaginary cult.  The individual artists within the collective inspire each other’s work, so the exhibition isn’t just a lot of different objects on the same theme, but feels more like a full fusion of all of the artists’ skills and ideas.  Walking around and looking at the pieces was like wandering through a folktale, serene and magical at times then creepy and menacing at others.  I’ve never been to an exhibition quite like this before, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of Ancient Scent’s work.

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Events and Exhibitions

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.

Events and Exhibitions, Personal Work

Flameworks Open Days

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Blacksmithing with Piers Edsall at Flameworks

This Summer I went to two Open Days at the Flameworks Creative Arts Facility (Twitter) in Plymouth.  My student ambassador from Saturday Arts Club at PCA, Luke Axworthy, is a metalsmith who does work there and I hoped I might see him at work but unfortunately he wasn’t there on the days I visited, although I did get to see his very neat work space!

On the first day, I had a quick look around the building.  There were artists working on jewellery, ceramics, metal and painting. We spoke to Louise Rabey (Etsy) who was working on a watercolour illustration of ‘two Nidorans nuzzling in the sun‘ (click to view that on her Instagram page).  She showed us her portfolio and we realised that J had bought one of her pictures at the last DevCon.  Her artwork is brightly coloured but softly drawn and cute and she draws animals and fan art of things like Pokemon, Disney characters and Undertale.  She had a friend with her who was really nice and talked to us about doing professional cosplay as Daryl from The Walking Dead.  Louise shares a studio space with Luke, Lorna Davey (another brilliant artist who I met at the PCA Graduate Show) and another artist who I unfortunately didn’t meet.

Downstairs, I watched Piers Edsall (Twitter) helping a young girl with blacksmithing and she looked like she was having a lot of fun so I asked if I could try too.  I went in with my brother J and Piers gave us gloves, aprons and goggles to wear.  He explained how we would be working with very hot equipment – so hot that if we touched it our fingers would fall off before we had a chance to feel it!  He showed us the tools and anvil that we would be using then gave us both a hammer each and metal rods.

Piers put the metal rods in the forge and heated them until they were red-hot.  Then he explained how to hammer the rods around the tip of the anvil to make them curved.  It was satisfying to hit the metal into shape but it was also very noisy!  We also had to bend the rods to make a wavy shape.  Piers was really friendly and we saw one of his kraken creations which J loved because he’s really into monsters.  Piers is going to be building a huge sculpture soon and I hope we get to see it.  He also talked to my brother about a ‘Little Smiths’ course that they hope to run at Flameworks which sounds really interesting.

On our second visit we took my friend along and she got to have a go at the blacksmithing too, while I watched from behind a safety screen.  Afterwards all three of us got to do some pottery making at a pottery wheel with Christina Peters.  It was really fun but tougher than I expected because you have to put a lot of weight onto the clay.  The pictures above show mine and J’s pots ready for firing.  Christina talked us through the whole process while she created a sample pot. She was really good at explaining about the different types of clay and how to work the wheel.  She’s extremely enthusiastic and I could tell she loves her work.  She also talked to me about how she was making mugs for the cafe Rumpuscosy next door to the Radiant Gallery.

We also met Jill Coughman who was gathering ideas for a new piece.  Her studio is bursting with paintings including a huge artwork of mermaids.  Downstairs I watched Lesley Peate polishing some tiny pieces of copper jewellery.  There was so much to see and I enjoyed walking around a lot and I recommend that anyone interested should visit on their next open day. 🙂