I will be at The Clipper this week making badges, taking commissions and most importantly talking to people about YEA Plymouth our PAW 2018 project, and about the Plymouth Zine Library and zine workshops!
The Clipper is open to the public on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st July from 12-6pm, and Saturday will be a Community Open Day with food, music and activities. Come down and see what is going on and have a chat to me at 65 Union Street, Stonehouse PL1 3LU!
P.S. My poster was inspired by a detail in an amazing mural in The Clipper and the sign in the window:
Today my plan was to visit as many of the Plymouth Art Weekender events as possible before the festival ended. I wanted to make sure I took part in some of the different art workshops around Plymouth, so finding venues with workshops happening was my highest priority, and I had two boxes left of zines to take with me. I sat down with my family and we made a plan together.
Our first stop was Ocean Studios. I dropped off some YEA ’17 zines in the cafe area and had a look at the portrait exhibition U + ME = US by Jojo on the way to the Made In Plymouth Maker’s Table, where we created papier-mache people for a family sculpture. I haven’t worked with paper-mache much before, and though gluing layers and layers of paper over each other was messy and fiddly, I had a really good time. While I was there, lots of families and young children came and had a go at making the sculptures, and the atmosphere was friendly and active, but also relaxed. We left our paper people with there to be arranged later into the bigger sculpture.
I wanted to see Laura Edmunds’ drawing and sound exhibition A Soft Introduction upstairs, so I left the workshop early to check it out. I spoke to Laura and learned that the sounds had been recorded on very sensitive microphones placed around her body while she drew and painted her pieces. There was a circle of speakers and I stood in the centre to listen, the sounds were soothing and mysterious, and reminded me of the sea. On display were around 69 of Laura’s drawings, and she described drawing them as almost like making musical notation. I thought they looked like a visual representation of her subconscious train of thoughts, and the overall feeling was serene.
I made my way back downstairs to join Sue Lewry’s monoprinting workshop. I was given a small rectangular plate which I inked with a roller, then I arranged pieces of textured wallpaper, cardboard and other materials on top of it, and each piece I inked with a different colour. I placed it carefully for registration with a piece of paper on top then it was put through a rolling printing press. This workshop was more quick paced than the earlier one as lots of people were around the table using the inks and press, but it was still a lot of fun. I like monoprinting and would like to try incorporating it into my illustration work in the future.
I headed off from Ocean to my next destination which was to Plymouth School of Creative Arts (PSCA). I delivered the last box of YEA ’17 zines here, and went up the stairs to visit the exhibitions. First I looked at Three In One, an exhibition by Janet Sainsbury, Andy Coldrey, and Charlie O’Sullivan. Their art worked well together, and I liked Charlie’s sculpture of paper houses and paintings made on a long scroll of old book pages.
We then headed up to Janine Rook’s inkblot painting workshop. Janine was one of my art tutors during my first Saturday Arts Club at Plymouth College of Art, so it was good to see her again and tell her about my new college course. This workshop was also popular with families, and there was a big display of inkblot paintings from lots of children that had taken part as well as more paintings on all the flat surfaces around. I used pipettes to carefully place a small number of coloured ink drops on my paper and then folded it down the middle to create patterns. I learned that inkblot painting is called klecksography and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere with even the smallest children very quietly concentrating on their pieces.
On the same floor as the inkblots was one of the highlights of the day, Funny Blind Date, an exhibition of collages sent to Plymouth from around the world that has been collected together by Object Recordings. Everything in the collection is an analogue collage, meaning it was put together physically using magazines, posters etc, and scissors and glue, rather than being produced digitally. There was work from eleven different artists and I was surprised how each one had a very different style and mood to their work. Some of the pieces were very humourous or witty, and others were more serious or political. I have never been to an exhibition of collages before and Funny Blind Date was inspirational, showing me that collage can be just as visually interesting and meaningful as drawing and painting.
I had to move on but I paid a quick visit to the Union Street Party just around the corner. It was smaller than previous years and the road hadn’t been closed off, but even the rain hadn’t stopped people gathering to play drums and dance. I was disappointed that I didn’t find any participatory art projects here this year as in previous years I have really enjoyed that element of the Party, but it was good to see that even in the rain Plymothians can have a good time!
I also stopped to have a look at Bouys and Girls by Mary Trapp in PSCA’s playground. This installation features wire and foam sculptures of children wearing lifejackets, suspended over water alongside orange buoys. It made me think of public information films, on first look the figures look like they are having fun, jumping or dancing, but as I spent more time looking at them they looked more like they were struggling against currents or trying to escape. I thought it was a really interesting piece of art and I would like to see where Mary takes it next, as she suggested that she would change the arrangement when she moves it to new locations.
My next stop was to the Park Bench Reader by Bram Thomas Arnold, who was going to read from Jurassic Park, but unfortunately my family made a mistake and went to the wrong location so I missed this event. I was disappointed as it sounded like a fun piece but I am going to look out for Bram’s future projects. I then went to the Athenaeum to take part in a zine workshop from Make Stuff/Drink Stuff, but unfortunately that had been cancelled! I think I need to pay more attention to messages on social media next year so I can keep up with the changes that can happen in a big event like the Art Weekender. Fortunately there were other things to do at the venue so I watched some of Rhys Morgan’s video and sound collage Platform, revisited the Handling Collection, and listened for a while to some poetry on stage (about pants!) for Tears In Rain. There was a real variety in the building!
I was feeling quite tired by now but I really wanted to see some more of the things on my list. I headed for Studio 102 which had a really interesting sounding exhibition in the PAW programme, I Don’t Believe Birmingham Exists by Adrian Bishop. I am really glad that I decided to keep going because as soon as I entered I felt energised by Adrian’s paintings. This is a collection of absurd beliefs illustrated in ink, and the paintings are colourful and energetic and got us all talking and really actively engaged by the work. Adrian’s exhibition is on until the 8th of October and I would recommend everyone interested in illustration or political and satirical artwork visits the gallery to experience it. (I only just realised I have seen work by Adrian at Studio 102 before and wrote about it here)
Our last stop was Plymouth Arts Centre as it was just around the corner and I wanted to have a better look at the Dwell installation upstairs. There was a peaceful tented area with cushions and books by Niamh Lily Wimperis, and a quiet and contemplative arrangement of a dresser with items on top where everything was painted white, by Megan Kathryn Heywood. I have a copy of their zine (also called Dwell) which I plan to read later.
I had another look around PAC which has been repainted for Ciara Phillips’ work which is ongoing and will be added to over the course of the exhibition. I plan to visit regularly to check on it and see how it grows as she works with local groups of people.
That is the end of my Weekender posts this year! I didn’t manage to get to all the things I wanted to, but some exhibitions are still available to visit so I will try to get to them. I wish the Weekender was on for longer, some of the things I missed but really wished I’d had a chance to get to were Rosie King’sG O N E (preserve us) and the Flameworks Open Day. I also missed Sketch 2017 at PCA but luckily that is on until 6th October so I will make sure I go before then.
I hope everyone else had as good a Weekender as me and I hope to get even more involved in PAW 2018!
This year was my first year taking part in the Plymouth Art Weekender with my own art project. I worked with other young artists from YEA Plymouth to put together a zine, YEA ’17, full of our art and interviews. I was the project manager and zine editor and we have been working on the project for the last couple of months. We applied for funding from Vital Sparks and Horizon and we were able to create 200 copies of our zine, including handmade badges, to give out for free for PAW17. We numbered all the copies because they are limited edition and exclusive to the festival. We delivered small handmade boxes full of YEA ’17 zines to some of the Plymouth Art Weekender venues this morning, including Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth College of Art, and Plymouth College of Art Pre-Degree Centre (my own college).
Our group was also offered the opportunity to have a table event in the Plymouth Athenaeum. So today we made up our table, then we spent the day giving away copies of YEA ’17! We also sold solo zines (including my Gurt Noodle #0) and YEA Plymouth badges to raise money for future projects and materials. We put a section of our Zine Library out on display for the public to have a look through and brought a typewriter and zinemaking equipment for people to play with.
This was the first time we had ever had our own table at an event/fair, and even though there weren’t many of us to share the load we still had an amazing time. It gave me an idea of what manning a stall is like, which I really needed since I have my very own stall at this October’s DevCon! We had to sit and wait for visitors, and when they came we had to talk about our group and our project. We met some interesting people and they had a lot of questions for us, especially about how YEA Plymouth began. I was also interviewed by Eleanor (Ellie) Burfitt for her film about the Weekender.
The Penryn Handling Collection is a “collection of objects made by artists, using traditional and modern craft skills in untraditional ways”, and was developed as part of the Penryn Arts Festival (2017). Visitors were allowed to touch, play, read and talk about the objects on the table. Some of the most interesting pieces on display were a giant blue plywood hand by the Juneau Project and a travel wallet by David Shrigley.
The book-making workshop was organised and led by Muster Press. A few YEA Plymouth members (including myself) took part in this. Our theme was ‘trees and growth’, and we created stamps of trees. We made the stamps by carving stamp foam with scissors, pens and scalpels. We then stamped our creations into books in arrangements, to seem as if we were “growing” a forest.
It was refreshing to try work on objects normally seen in backgrounds, as I struggle with drawing backgrounds and need practice. We sat round the table and formed a production line, which was fun to work together with other people I had never met before, and the books we created are really beautiful. We weren’t able to bring the books home as they needed some finishing but the guys at Muster Press are going to send them to us later and I will post pictures then.
Flikkin is a ‘Flicking Counters’ game, and the first to three goals wins. Lots of people (even complete strangers) played together and bonded over it. Some interesting facts about Flikkin are:
There are only six boards in the world (so far) and the creator Holly Knowles brought three along today.
As well as being the creator of Flikkin, Holly is also the current world champion!
My dad, brother, and little sister loved it!
Jenson (my brother and another YEA Plymouth member) demonstrated how to use one of our typewriters to lots of people. Younger children were really fascinated by it but lots of people had a go. One of the people there put together all the words and phrases that different people had written into a minizine of found text.
YEA Plymouth members also helped visitors to create their very own minizines, and we added photocopies of them to our Zine Library. We have eight new minizines from this event.
It was a long day but a really good experience being part of the Weekender as an artist and as an organiser. I got to participate in a workshop and meet a lot of people. We sold a good number of Gurt Noodle and Sweet Tooth zines and our badges and I feel that the event was successful!
Find out more about the Plymouth Art Weekender here.
Last year I documented what I saw of the Plymouth Art Weekender, an annual city-wide art event where different galleries and venues open up to the public with temporary art installations made by artists based in Plymouth and abroad. It takes place over three days, and there are lots of exhibitions and events to enjoy. This year, as an official blogger for PAW, I will try to cover as many of this year’s art installations as I can!
Today, I was part of an art tour surrounding We The People Are The Work, a project that “will explore ideas of power, protest and the public” and involves exhibitions by five sets of international artists in five different venues. Each project involves working with the public in some way.
We did our tour in a slightly different order, but still began in Plymouth University’s Peninsula Arts (PenArts) gallery, with a video installation by artists Antonio Vega Macotela and Eduardo Thomas called Advice From a Caterpillar. The artists are from Mexico City and when they were approached to create a piece for WTPATW they researched Plymouth and decided to do a piece collaborating with extras who had been in the Tim Burton film Alice in Wonderland. The piece features locations which appeared in the movie or that the actors wanted to talk about.
Peninsula Arts also has the first of two big black walls called We The People Are The Words which the public are encouraged to write words or doodle on using the provided chalk.
We moved on to the second part of our tour, an exhibition in Plymouth Arts Centre (PAC) by Ciara Phillips. The space has been transformed with new colours, shapes and patterns on the walls and large prints everywhere.
Parts of the gallery have been turned into workspaces with a darkroom, screen printing area, and a relaxing space for reading. Every week new work will be created here by different groups of people working with Ciara, and that work will be added to the display changing the space over time, until the show ends in November.
The second big black wall and chalk set is at Plymouth Arts Centre, and I drew another cat.
We moved on to the Council House which is not usually open to the public because it is still a working building, but the city museum have been negotiating with the council to be able to use it while the museum is being remodelled. The piece here has been planned by artist Peter Liversidge. Peter started with doing text generating projects with different members of the public, and the pieces of text were reviewed by the council (to check for anything “problematic”) then compiled into a large book.
The gallery space is taken up with a large white stage where every day two or three sign painters will take requests from visitors, who can choose any piece of text from the book, and create big cardboard signs from them.
On the way to the next exhibition, we stopped to look at the billboards outside the Council House for the #AtlanticProject. These bring up questions about what it means to be a good neighbour.
We moved on to KARST for the next WTPATW exhibition. The artists here are a feminist collective called Claire Fontaine. As soon as the door opened we smelled burning and smoke. The first piece here is a huge arrangement of thousands of matches set in the shape of the United Kingdom. Students from Plymouth College of Art took five days to place the 58500+ matches, and they were set alight on Thursday evening. The whole place filled up with smoke and parts of the gallery have actually been burned and melted by the process, which was documented.
The second room is completely filled with red light and here there are neon signs, some of which are animated and seem to respond to each other.
On the way to the last exhibition we passed by another PAW art piece, The Truth Wall. This features political letterpress prints by Kiss & Bite Letterpress Studio.
The last stop on our tour was Plymouth College of Art (PCA). In the gallery here is a film and sound installation by Matt Stokes. This piece looks at DIY culture and how live music venues are disappearing locally. Four local independent bands are filmed playing their music live at the locations of once iconic, but now closed, music venues.
Tomorrow I will be going to The Plymouth Athenaeum to take part in PAW myself at the YEA Plymouth table. We will be giving away free copies of our collaborative zine YEA ’17 which features work by ten young artists aged 11-16. This is a Plymouth Art Weekender project and our first big project together. We will also be selling zines by YEA Plymouth members and badges to raise money for future projects together.
I will be blogging all throughout the Plymouth Art Weekender from different events, so look out for me and keep checking back here! I will definitely be at the Athenaeum for parts of Saturday, alongside other YEA Plymouth members, giving out free copies of our PAW exclusive zine, YEA ’17, and selling badges. I’m going through the PAW17 map now to decide where else to visit!
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).
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!
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I added some character art to the Sketchathon piece at Ocean Studios during Plymouth Art Weekender (Oct 2016). I reported every day of the Weekender on my blog and visited as many of the exhibitions and Open Days as possible. My blogposts were promoted by PlymouthCAN and several of the artists who participated in the art festival.
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.