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.
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.
From 2015-2016 I was a member of the Saturday Young Arts Club at the Plymouth College of Art. The course was 25 weeks long, split into five chunks with a different subject each time. My student ambassador was metalsmith Luke Axworthy who has a studio at Flameworks.
The first section was Fashion with Sharon Morgan, fashion tutor and milliner (twitter). The students made patterned fabric using screen printing ink freehand on cotton, and I chose to do a zig zag design. I used a sewing machine to create a pencil case and a phone case with my colourful fabric.
Sharon also asked us to come up with fashion label ideas. I used KitBIT because at the time it was my username for videogames. I took it further by actually designing items for the label in my sketchbook.
The designs I created were videogame influenced because I enjoy gaming but I can rarely find clothing and accessories to express that.
The next section was Animation with Jamie House. We watched the shorts Dots by Norman McLaren and Black Dotsby Luana Veloso. We used DSLR cameras on tripods to take photos of our own drawings as we added to them. Our next project was to draw shapes and objects then cut them out and make an animation by rearranging them on a background. I chose to use coloured dots and I made them interact and glide around. Then we moved on to working in teams, and I worked with a few of the other students who I had made friends with. We made an animation using the same technique as our last project, but instead of on a paper background we were allowed to animate with blue tack on a wall. In our animation we had Homer Simpson open his mouth and eat doughnuts flying towards him. He then closed his mouth again and because he ate so many he blew up! Part of our project was to use a person, so we talked about which one of our group would wipe the doughnut remains off the wall, pull a disgusted face and walk away (I was nominated..) After we finished animating we used iMovie to add music.
Finally, for our last project all of my team starred in the animation. It was about a girl who travelled through time using a ‘Chairlorean’ (Flux Capacitor included) and had to run away from freaky future people. She manages to get back to the Chairlorean and ended up getting stuck in the past. For the futuristic people we just wore our clothes oddly and to show the time travelling girl was in the past I drew an old newspaper as a prop. Again, we edited on titles and music after. I’m not sure where my films from this part of the course are unfortunately but if I find them I will try and upload them.
The third section of the course was Experimental Drawing, Printmaking and Sculpture with Janine Rook. This section was very interesting because I tried out some new techniques for the first time and really enjoyed them. We drew on pieces of different kinds of paper and stuck them onto a large sheet of thick paper in a collage, made sculptures by twisting long wires, and created odd and slightly creepy sculptures by taking three plaster moulds of parts of our hands then sticking them together with more plaster, using glue and paper to decorate them.
I was a member of Plymouth College of Art Young Arts Club 2015-16. One project we did was to design a t-shirt for a competition run by the National Aquarium. The workshop was led by graphic designer Terry Maughan (early 2015).
Seahorse in seagrass design
The fourth section of the course was Graphic Design with Terry Maughan. We entered a competition to come up with t-shirt designs for The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. The winning designs would be printed and put on sale to raise money for the Community Seagrass Initiative (CSI) which helps preserve seagrass which is the seahorses habitat. We were advised to research surf fashion and tattoos because they have a popular and contemporary style. I did that and I also researched seahorses and seagrass.
Finally, for the last section of the Saturday Arts Club course, we did fashion again with Sharon Morgan and this time we made hats. We started by soaking bamboo millinery net in water then moulding it into the shape we wanted on a hatblock. We had to pin the corners down, and I used glue to bond three layers of net together for strength, then left it to set. Next I trimmed the sides to create a semi-spherical shape then stitched on a piece of elastic to hold the hat on a head. I cut out pieces of fabric and layered them to make a flower and sewed them to the hat with beads in the centre. I arranged a piece of floral lace around the hat edge and glued it on and added a feather. I used black net and chose different patterned fabrics in shades that matched with the feather.
Our hats were displayed at the Graduate Show at the College in the Young Arts Club room. It was the first time I had my work displayed at an exhibition and it felt amazing. I visited the room twice on different days and I was impressed by all the other young people’s work. There were some great mural designs on large sheets of paper and I also really liked a section of printed tote bags. We were all given a Certificate for having attended for the year.
Over the summer I thought a lot about the course and I wanted to join in again this year 2016-2017. I found out about a scheme called the National Art and Design Saturday Club with only twenty places locally for 14-16 year olds who “demonstrate commitment and passion for art and design”. I applied and I had to have a reference and fill in a personal statement, which I had never done before and so I was very nervous about it.
I am really pleased to say that I got a place in NA&DSC and I had my first session last week! First we looked around the new Pre-degree center of the Plymouth College of Art, then we met our tutor and drew self-portraits from pictures and mirrors. I used a mirror because I felt it was more challenging for me. I have tried to draw realistic self-portraits in the past but didn’t really like doing it, but this time it was more enjoyable because I had more support and I was working in a room with other artists. I am really looking forward to next week’s session!