Saturday, June 16, 2012

North Glasgow College BA (Hons) Degree Show 2012 - Jewellery and Visual Arts

Well, it is all over for another year. The work is done, the results are out and my students are off into the big bad world. Last night (Friday) was the first night of their degree show - which they shared with the BA Visual Arts students - and I have to say that I am very proud of their efforts.
For various reasons, notably the late-arrival of the all-essential bar, I've not had a chance to photograph everyones' work, so I will be posting later next week with updates of photographs of the work of those whom I missed.

The students have put together an online "poster" for the show. Please do come along if you can.

The opening of the show was announced by pipers, one of whom is Ainsley Wilkie, a fantastically talented printmaker (more later) and her friend who is not one of the students:

North Glasgow College BA (Hons) Degree Show - 3

The whole show was arranged by the students and this was an especially cool touch as it brought everyone to focus on the opening of the show, it being impossible to ignore - or talk over - two sets of highland pipes in an enclosed space!
There were various speeches - as there always are at these events - but we are fortunate in that our head of section, Iain Abercrombie and out Scheme Board Leader, Michelle, are smart enough to realise that nobody wants to listen to rambling speeches:

North Glasgow College BA (Hons) Degree Show - 4

North Glasgow College BA (Hons) Degree Show - 5

Our degree programme is somewhat unusual in that it is validated and awarded by an external body - North Glasgow College being FurtherEducation (what used to be called "a technical college") and Michelle is the representative Leeds Metropolitan University, the body which actually allows us to offer degree-level courses. This very happy marriage allows our degrees to be very skills-led, as opposed to being all about theory.

North Glasgow College BA (Hons) Degree Show - 7
Margaret Johnstone talking to Colin and Lisa, some of her lecturers from a college she previously attended. It was really decent of them to come and keep up with how she is doing. Photographs of Margaret's work to follow later in the week.

North Glasgow College BA (Hons) Degree Show - 8
Overview of the show in the lovely "Winter Gardens" space in the college.

Alexs McIlwraith - 3

Alexs McIlwraith - 4
Work by Alexs McIlwraith. One of our two First-class Honours Students.

Jay McLean - 7
Jay McLean setting up her Tres Demented Jewellery stand.

Jay McLean - 3
Ring by Jay McLean.

Donna Stewart - 1
Donna Stewart setting up her display stand.

Donna Stewart - 3

Donna Stewart - 6
Work by Donna Stewart.

Lillian Docherty-Wightman - 1
The stand of Lillian Docherty-Wightman, our second First-Class Honours student. Photographs of Lillian's work to follow later in the week.

Jackie Graham - 2
Jacqueline Graham's fantastically fresh stand for her "Lah-di-dah" range of jewellery.

Jackie Graham - 4

Jackie Graham - 6
Work by Jacqueline Graham.

Anna Dunlop - 1
Anna Marion (Dunlop)'s stand for her "Oui Designs".

Anna Dunlop - 2

Anna Dunlop - 3
Work by Anna Dunlop.

Cara Dobson
Cara Dobson's stand. More photographs of Cara's work to follow in the next week.

Stephanie Craig - 2

Stephanie Craig - 1
Work by Stephanie Craig.

Jera Edwards - 4

Jera Edwards - 1

Work by Jera Edwards.

Over all, I am very, very pleased with the way in which the students have developed in terms of both ability and design. It has been a pretty stressful few weeks for everyone - I spent most of last week stuck in closed rooms marking or in meetings with external examiners and the exam board - and the degree show is a kind of release. I have to confess to going straight home and having an early night.
As I mentioned above, this was a joint show for the Jewellery Students and the Visual Arts Students. I didn't get a chance to take many photographs of the work of the Visual Arts students as I was mostly concerned with my own Jewellers. Two of the exhibits were worthy of mention, however. First of all, hanging in the same room as the jewellery were the marvellous prints by Ainsley Wilkie:

Ainsley Wilkie - 1

Ainsley Wilkie - 2

Secondly, I was really taken by the paintings hung in an installation called "The Workshop" by John Wright. These are executed in rust and other mixed media:

John Wright - 1

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I like these pieces, of course, given my own fascination with industrial parts and rust!

John Wright - 2

John Wright - 3

And that is it over for another year.

Over For Another Year

I'm mulling over the crazy idea of following my own degree programme while I teach it next year with a view to "re-booting" my own practice. Everyone seems to think it is a fantastically nuts idea. I'm still not sure it will happen...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Degree Shows Again

It is that time of year again... it barely seems like moment since I last shared some of the exciting things going on in the Art Schools in Scotland and the time has come to do it again, kicking off with the Glasgow School of Art show which opened last Friday. (Clicking on any of the images will take you to Flickr, where you can see larger versions.)

Glasgow School Of Art Degree Show 2012 - 1

The quality of the work was pretty varied, as were the ideas presented but it was really pleasing to see that there was a good representation of very solid craft-skills in the work shown, from some of the most interesting enamelling I've ever seen, to exquisite piercing. The enamel work was by Scarlett Cohen-French and although cool and sophisticated, the work had a ravishing sensuality that just begged to be caressed:

Scarlett Cohen-French

This image does it no justice at all but I can testify that the surfaces are all silky smooth and with very subtle gradations of colour.
The show was in a "temporary" workshop which has been constructed whilst the new workshops are built and the light in the exhibition space was very challenging, making some of the exhibits somewhat difficult to see. This was true of what is probably my favourite piece in the show, Lynsey Hayton's taxidermied magpie wing brooch:

Lynsey Hayton - 1

The wings can be worn separately or together and with or without the chain. Most of Lynsey's work was based on bird motifs.
In terms of pure craft skills and elegance, I really enjoyed the work of Jane Harrison, who also uses bird motifs to great effect, combining fantastic piercing with enamelling to create work in what is becoming a somewhat "new Glasgow style", rather in the manner of Marianne Anderson or Hannah-Louise Lamb:

Jane Harrison - 2

Jane Harrison - 1

Amongst the less-conventional materials being used, two artists were working extensively in paper, albeit in two very, very different ways. Claire Johnson uses architectural tracing paper, origami folds and digital models of origami folds to create a very clean, precise collection:

Claire Johnson - 3

Claire Johnson - 2  Claire Johnson - 1

Lisa Catterson approached the material very differently, but no less impressively, using hand-made papers and handcutting from digital patterns to make her mushroom-inspired collection:

Lisa Catterson - 3

Lisa Catterson - 1

It is also that time again when my non-degree students, those doing their NQ and HND qualifications (my own BA students' degree show is next week) enter their work in the prestigious Trades House Of Glasgow Craft and Design competition. As ever, we won three out of the four prizes for the jewellery and silversmithing categories!

Grand Event

The event is held in the Trades House, which is a magnificent building from around 1800, with an Arts-And-Crafts interior in the main hall (above). It is open to any student studying a non-degree, craft-based course and they win sizeable cash prizes, as well as help with business advice and other useful and enticing awards.
This year, Carol Doherty won the NQ prize with her bracelet based on her year on the NQ course, showcasing the skills she learned alongside motifs representing the lecturers and other students on the course. An impressive piece for someone with only 9 months' bench experience:

Carol Doherty

The HND prize for jewellery AND the prize for silversmithing were both won by Shirley Gray. Her stoneset brooch won the advanced jewellery prize:

Shirley Gray - 2

And her mixed-media memorial to her father - a highland fisherman - won the silversmithing prize:

Shirley Gray - 1

What with all the marking and arranging things, I've not made anything myself!