Events and Exhibitions, Personal Work

Flameworks Open Days

blacksmithing
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. 🙂

 

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Events and Exhibitions, Personal Work

Graduate Show at PCA

Illustrators at PCA
Illustrators clockwise from the left: Cameron, Alice, Emma, Lorna, Elena, Alice, Cameron

I’ve been to the Graduate Show several times this year, partly because I have something on display in the Young Arts Club section.  I’ve been really interested in the Illustration and Game Arts exhibitions, because those are the areas i’m hoping to study and work in, but I had a good look around the other galleries too.

This year I met Elena O’Neill and Lorna Davey who are graduating in Illustration.  They showed me around the exhibition and talked to me about their course.  Elena had some beautiful patterns on display and had pencil cases and pouches made from printed fabric of her work.  She also had really cute tiny clay(?) birds scattered around her section. Lorna had an amazing self portrait up on the wall in a comic style.  She also had a book of other portraits there and I love the details in the hair and how her portraits have loads of character.  Lorna is staying in Plymouth after graduation, so i’m really hoping we can meet again to do some sketching.

I bumped into Alice Kensington, who is also graduating Illustration, on opening night.  I’ve met Alice a couple of times before at DevCon (the local science fiction/comics convention) and we are both into cosplay, cartoons like Gravity Falls and Steven Universe and games like Zelda.  The first time I saw her she was in costume as the Other Mother from Coraline and I was Mabel Pines,  the second time she was Scarlet Overkill from the Minions movie and I was Frisk from Undertale.  I really like her illustration work, which is so colourful and soft and curvy.  Alice is really sweet and i’m definitely going to meet her soon to buy her a piece of cake and do some drawing together :3

There was a badge making machine in the Illustration shop and I made three custom badges with my own quick sketches.  One was for a friend and I didn’t take a photo, but here are the other two, one is a picture of my brother and the other is the character Ellie from the game The Last of Us:

custom badges by midnakitThere were so many amazing things in Illustration and I got a zine called Floating Around by Cameron Williamson.  It’s about someone who’s anxious about going to the Art College, but makes a decision to give it a shot. In the center theres a great picture of him staring out to sea on Plymouth Hoe.  It reminded me of what it felt like when I started at the Young Arts Club.  I also fell in love with the work of Emma Baker for zines, fanzines and the characters she designed to illustrate phobias.  I wanted to buy one of her zines but it wasn’t on sale, so i’m going to contact her about it to see if she has any copies.

I’ll do another post about the rest of the exhibitions another time.