This week, I’ve been working hard on something that could be really exciting!

I’ve been putting together an application for the Goldsmiths Precious Metal Bursary Competition! The deadline was this Friday, and so I thought, now that it’s all sent off and handed in, I would share with you some of my design sheets that I sent off.

We had to include examples of our research, inspiration, sketches, designs and a final proposed design for the competition.

For my application, I decided to collage together a collection of my own photographs, images of other practitioners work and scanned drawings from my sketchbooks.


development-pageI was quite pleased with how these all came together on a page, which I then added hand written annotations to.

For my final design page, I took some of my drawings from my sketchbook and manipulated them in Photoshop to create drawings to scale and to add textures/colour. I then also annotated this page by hand with information about sizing and my materials cutting list.


It would be super exciting for me to receive this Precious Metal Bursary, because it will allow me to really expand my collection for the degree show, which I would not be able to afford off my own back.

I also think that working with silver will help me to explore the contextual concepts behind my work with much more depth.

Ultimately, I’m just really excited at the potential that I could win this competition and be able to have my work associated with the Goldsmiths name!

The winners of the bursary will be announced in the new year, with the final pieces to be made by the 1st May.


For now, I’m just going to keep all of my fingers crossed!

In an attempt to help fund my final university project, I am planning to apply for the Precious Metal Bursary from the Goldsmith’s Company and this week, I ran a test casting in silver, to check my conversion calculations of bark to silver weight.

I used our amazing American Neutec J-2R Vaccum Casting Machine and sprued up a tiny little tree with three small pieces of bark on it.

I was super nervous about my calculations for the conversion rate – as working with direct burn-outs of bark is much less predictable than a standard lost wax conversion! But it turned out to be more than enough!


Once the silver had cooled down and I had removed it from the plaster mould, I was left with these lovely pieces of silver bark!

I’m super excited to send off my application to Goldsmiths now – I just have to keep my fingers crossed that they like my designs and offer me the chance to work with more silver.

For now, I’m hoping to work with these pieces to create an interesting piece combined with bronze – so keep your eyes peeled for an update!




This week I have been working on my latest model that I plan to cast in the foundry. I am using a technique that I began to explore last year; which involves composing individual pieces of bark onto a cardboard cylinder and then modeling wax to fit between the gaps in any layers or overlays.

It is important to fill these gaps, so that the ceramic shell coating does not become trapped within the final bronze once the casting process has been completed.

This is a very long process and has taken lots of time to complete. The final thing stands at roughly 1.75″ and has a diameter of roughly 80mm. And I plan to sprue it up alongside another piece, roughly the same size.

Although this is a long process, the overall making time will not be far off my pieces that are assembled after being cast, because once this piece is turned into bronze, I will not have as much finishing to do.

I am very pleased with this piece and I feel that I have finished the wax modelling to a good level. I’m excited to see how it turns out!

I’ll leave you with this little time lapse video of me working on it:



For Thursday and Friday this week, my University (University for the Creative Arts) held a symposium and design project at Farnham Maltings for the School of Craft and Design, which includes over 300 students.

The Thursday held a series of talks and discussions from current students, recent graduates, university academics and guest practitioners; Julian Stair, Simon Hasan and Kate Blee.

The talks and discussions were really interesting and sparked lots of enthusiasm from the students! It was such a great opportunity to have the guest speakers come in and discuss their work too. They were all very open and happy to talk about their practices in both practical and conceptual discussions.

The Friday was dedicated to a one day design project for the students. We were given a brief that asked us to create a large structure built up of repeating unit components, and we were set the challenge of keeping the cost either very minimal or non existent.

We were divided into groups, which included a range of students from different courses within the School of Craft and Design and from different levels of study.

My group decided to work with tin cans; which we collected up over a couple of weeks prior to the day. We wanted to look at how we could use them in arrangements of different shapes to create a structure similar to that of honeycomb or a wasp nest.

We used a hot glue gun to construct it and it stood on it’s side, as a three-dimensional structure. I was fascinated how a circular object could be repeated in triangular patterns, and come together to form a hexagon!

Each group came up with original and amazing ideas, some very intricate, some interactive and others quite conceptual. What was nice is that no two groups ended up with the same outcome!

Overall, the two day symposium was very successful and the students all enjoyed taking part in collaborative work with peers from other courses and levels.

I found it very interesting to see how students from different courses approached the work and it was inspiring to see how so many ideas came out of the same brief!


Thanks to Colin Holden; head of the School of Craft and Design for organizing it!

“It’s time to go big!”

This week, I spent my time spruing up some larger pieces of bark (roughly 1ft in height) in our foundry waxroom at University!


It has been so exciting to make a start on some larger scale work – as I’ve been itching to do all summer! Although, I’m still starting relatively small for this first cast, so that I can judge the technicalities without risking some of the best pieces of bark that I have collected.

After some discussion with the technicians about the burn out process, we decided that coating the back of the bark in a thin layer of wax would potentially aid the burning, encouraging the best results.

These layers were applied with completely molten wax and a brush:


The spruing became a little complex at times, because I am working with a fairly unpredictable material, with difficult shapes. I had to make sure there were enough sprues on each piece, so that the bronze will reach all spaces in my ceramic shell, and provide me with a full, successful cast.


The individual spruing took me a whole day – which was a lot slower than I initially thought it would be, however I think this part of the process will speed up once I become more confident with the technique.

I just thought I would share with you a little time lapse of me working – as it is a bit more interesting for you to see – and might make sense of the process a little more for some of you:

I am also working on a full length youtube video of me working in the foundry waxroom – so keep an eye out on my channel for that!

I have come away with lots of notes for the next tree I sprue up – but hopefully I have done enough for this one to cast well!


I shall post again once it’s been poured, and share my results with you!

This week, we had a brilliant visiting lecture organised by the Surrey Hills Arts to talk about their recent project; Inspiring Views, which includes work from five artists, a poet and a sound artist, responding to five breathtaking viewpoints along the Surrey Hills.

The lecture included talks from Ali Clarke, the programme manager at Surrey Hills Arts and three of the artist’s who were selected to make the sculptural seating.

I was so drawn into this project after having attended the lecture, that I decided to go out and visit each location myself…


I started off at The Hurtwood, which had three of the benches in it. The first of which was Matthew Burt’s ‘converse’ bench on Holmbury Hill. This was one of the benches which was designed as wheelchair accessible and the spaces between each bench is big enough to fit a wheelchair.

It is a really sociable arrangement and I like how it encourages people to enjoy the views together. Burt has used sweet chestnut to make this bench, which has such a rich colour once varnished and it looks really striking in this space. I also really like that the reason he has chosen to use this wood is because it grows in abundance in the Surrey Hills and he is conscious about sourcing his materials locally in order to maintain a sustainable practice.

From here, I went on to Reynards Hill where Russell Jukubowski’s ‘contour’ bench sits at the top of the pathway that leads from car park 4 of The Hurtwood.

Jukubowski’s bench is the only one which is made from a material other than wood, however it doesn’t feel any less of a part of the space than the other seating. The materials used are all recycled and the bench is constructed from a series of layers that build up to recreate the effect of layers of earth and marine sedimentation.

I really liked how this piece plays with depth perception and how it looks different from different angles. At the time of say I visited, the light also has a beautiful effect on these layers. My only disappointment with this bench, is that it did not make me feel as close to the space around me as some of the other benches did.

The third seating sculpture of my trail was Giles Miller’s ‘perspectives’ piece at Winterfold Hill. Unique from the rest of the works, this seating also had a shelter structure attached to it, which really felt like it transported you to somewhere magical.


Miller was inspired by commemorative messages that are often left in areas of natural beauty by people or their loved ones. He really highlights this with the way he incorporates new words and messages from local visitors in the work, which encapsulate their feelings and thoughts about the area.

I felt that these small editions of poetry, personal messages and contemplative thoughts engraved onto the individual ‘leaves’ of this sculpture were a lovely contribution to the space, and created a very personal atmosphere. You can tell that Miller holds his own personal connections to this place within the Surrey Hills.

The next bench I visited is situated on the most private piece of land of all the sites; on Hascombe Hill, up a small lane (Nore Lane) beside the White Horse pub. Located here, is Tom Nicholson Smith’s ‘Grains’ bench.

Comprised of individually carved wooden forms, Smith’s bench is a representation of giant grains of sand, which are piled up in a very informal manner. I felt that this bench was encouraging to be interacted with and I can imagine it would be very popular with passing children and dogs.

As it is so tucked away, this space felt like a really special, secret place, far away from any evidence of human dwellings. I couldn’t help but feel like this was somewhere very exclusive, and a place that I felt privileged to be experiencing.

The final bench is located a little further out; at Hindhead’s Gibbet Hill. This one is Walter Bailey’s ‘xylem’ and it sits among the ferns just to the right of Gibbet Hill’s main viewpoint.

Bailey has already created numerous works in collaboration with Surrey Hills Arts and his work sits beautifully in these kind of locations. This particular piece is inspired by the material charcoal and it’s historical relevance to the Greensand Way. The design was developed from photomicrographs of charcoal and the bench was charred onsite, once it had been installed.

Although it is not far from the path, and is in fact one of the wheelchair accessible sites, this bench too feels quite tucked away and it really blends in with the shrubbery. It also felt so refreshing to look out towards a different view than the standard viewpoint at Gibbet Hill, that I had visited so many times before.


Overall, these benches really succeed in making you appreciate the space you are in more. Perhaps because you are witnessing the materials that surround you in a new form, or perhaps simply because someone else has spent the time to create something and give back to the environment. It is a very respectful project and I thoroughly enjoyed investigating each one!



Now that we’ve been allowed back into the workshops at Uni, I thought I would share with you a few things that I’ve been working on!

My current project out on the bench is these couple of bronze castings that I de-molded at the end of last year:

I cut these trees apart with a junior hack saw, as close to the casting as possible and then finished them with an angle grinder.


I also had a small textured steel vessel that I had put together from last year, made up from shapes of negative space taken from a landscape in Ashurst in the New Forest:


I decided to dive straight in and try out an experiment of combining both steel and bronze together; which is an aesthetic that I am interesting in exploring with lots more depth this academic year.

I am quite pleased with how this piece looks! The bronze and the steel fit together really nicely, and seem as if they were designed to do this, which I am really happy about.

I would really like to see if I could incorporate some more bronze in the next piece, to create a slightly more balanced effect, but I am happy with this piece as it is.

Another element I am interesting in exploring with more depth this year is patination and the concept of deception of materials in my work. I would really like to incorporate precious metals to try and create this effect, and for the next experiments, I would like to try either silver plating, silver lustres or perhaps using gold/silver leaf to coat the bronze.

I have finished off this week by prepping my next tree for casting:



Can’t wait to show you guys my next load of experiments!


I returned back to University this week! I feel quite nervous about progressing into my final year, but I’m also very excited to start taking my practical work to the next level.

To kick-start my creative juices, I took a little trip to the University library. We have a large collection of art, design and craft books, as well as a huge archive of online journals.

Seeing as my designs have started to grow in scale, I thought it would be good to look into the realm of sculpture a little more. I started off with James Kelly’s ‘The Sculptural Idea’ (1981).

This had some really strong concepts in it that I liked, and a few really interesting statements that I could potentially look into with some more depth for our contextual studies unit for this academic year.

“To be a practitioner one works hard to refine those ideas and forms that have relevance to oneself and the world.”

“Sculpture is dependent on space. Without space, sculptural form would not exist.”

I then stuck my nose into some books about particular sculptors, including Andy Goldsworthy, Tony Cragg and Nancy Graves.


There are particular elements of each of these sculptors that draws me to their work, and for different reasons. I think it is important for me to keep an open mind when researching, because you never know what you might take away from someone else’s work.

One particular piece of work I discovered; Nancy Graves’ ‘Variability and Repetition of Variable Forms’ (1971) I found particularly interesting. I really loved how this piece is arranged, as it reminds me of looking into the forest, and I found myself naturally picking out the negative spaces from it, as I do in a forest landscape.

In fact, James Kelly references this piece when discussing negative space in ‘The Sculptural Idea’ (1981):

“Negative space is primarily the area of air mass that is not occupied by matter but has a direct proximity and influence on the appearance of form.”

I decided that I would take out the book about Graves’ sculptural work, so that I could look closer into her concepts behind her work. I also want to look more closely and the way she colours her bronze sculptures, as it is a unique way of working that I want to learn more about.


If you don’t hear from me for a while – I’ll be stuck in my little research world!

Before I head back to University, I thought it would be a good idea to spend a day collecting up lots of bark from different locations in the New Forest to bring back with me to the workshops.

I wanted to gather a fairly substantial collection of bark from each location so that I had plenty to work with once I bought it back to the workshop.

It felt great to be back in the New Forest after having been away for over a month!


The first location I travelled to was Ashurst. This is my local village, and where I grew up. I did not find a very large collection of bark here, as this area of the woods can be cleared by locals fairly often.

However, I found one tree stump that was particularly interesting and had some nice large pieces of bark on it, which were already starting to decorticate. Perfect for me to strip it all and take home!

The second location I went to was Beaulieu. This is quite possibly one of my favourite parts of the new forest and I couldn’t resist visiting!


There was lots more for me to look through at Beaulieu… including some forest bivouacs which are great because the logs are naturally kept dry and the bark is in a better condition for me to use.

I found some really interesting pieces in Beaulieu, including pieces with moss on and some pieces which had been infected with woodworm. I’m hoping that these textures will come through in the casting process well, as these could add a fresh new look to my work.


Once I took everything home, I started to play with some construction ideas for working on a larger scale:

The tallest pieces here are about 3ft and reach roughly my waist. I think I would quite like to push my ideas more in terms of scale and start working bigger, because I feel that my conceptual ideas will be communicated more clearly.

However, when casting, I will have to cast them all separately and then assemble them with welding afterwards, because otherwise it will be too big for the silicone and plaster coating process.

There’s lots of exciting experiments to come! So keep an eye out!



For the last month, I have been travelling across Hungary, Austria and Switzerland. This was a trip that I decided to encounter on my own, for a chance to discover new cultures and cities and travel between them all via inter-rail train journeys.

I had the most amazing experience and enjoyed every moment! Across the cities that I stayed in, I visited a total of 11 different galleries and museums, and sketched almost everyday.

Some of my favourite galleries I visited include the Leopold Museum in Vienna; the Rosengart Museum in Lucerne and the Kunsthaus Museum in Zurich.

I collected a nice selection of postcards from these galleries; which were of my favourite works:



I also visited a town called Pécs in Hungary which is the home of Zsolnay ceramics; the pioneers of Eosin glazes. The ceramics quarters of the city were just breathtaking and the range of ceramics they had in the museum was really impressive.


I’ve had a great summer exploring and taking in lots of art history and culture! It’s got me excited to go back to University and start making again!


Note to self: keep visiting new museums!

For my last contextual research essay at University, I investigated into the degree in which craft practice may embody an alternative lifestyle. Some authors work that I cited for this essay included David Boyle, Peter Dormer, Christopher Frayling, Paul Greenhalgh and David Pye. However my main focus text for this study was a book written by Robert Penn.


This book was such an inspiring read and I actually thoroughly enjoyed following Penn’s creative journey. It also complimented my practical studies and made me more reflective about the use of materials in my work.

I just wanted to share with you a few extracts of my essay which outline Penn’s investigation, and my research into the lifestyles associated with woodcraft:

“Craft has been imaged as a pleasurable way of filling time, or alternatively as a subsistence practise that is done alongside other things.” (Greenhalgh, 2003:6) At this time, people were looking towards “some kind of balance, whether by slowing down, or simplifying,” (Boyle, 2004:159) and hoping to find fulfilment in their “devotion” to their craft. (Leigh, 2002:36) “It is generally believed that the best craft work is done for love, not for money,” (Leigh, 2002:35) suggesting that there is a need for “downshifting” in the field of work. “Being less busy, taking more time,” (Boyle, 2004:165) allows craftsmen to “express individual style,” (Leigh, 2002:39) and comfortably deal with things such as “addressing design problems, refining working methods, and resolving technical issues.” (Leigh, 2002:39) This is a concept that Leigh describes as ‘Chronomanual craft’. However, craftsmanship, or ‘workmanship’; as it is described by Pye, “involves more than simply making things in a slower, more time-consuming manner.” (Risatti, 2007:196) It involves “technical mastery,” (Metcalf, cited in Dormer, 1997:78) or the “ability of the hand to work physical material.” (Risatti, 2007:163) It is this “proportion of patient tedious work” that is necessary in order to achieve the “pleasure in any kind of livelihood,” (Pye, 1995:118) that was desired from the movement.


So, what is it about wood that particularly intrigues us? Although “opportunities to learn a craft have moved out of the family and the neighbourhood, and into educational institutions,” (Metcalf, cited in Dormer, 1997:76) it is claimed by many woodworkers that “no manual can teach it.” (Breck, 1908:163) Breck even suggest that “a man should make up as soon as possible for the weak points of his university career by getting acquainted with trees.” (Breck, 1908:169) There is a special relationship noted between woodworkers and their material. George Nakashima, a Japanese American woodworker believed very strongly in the “spiritualist dimension of craft.” (Adamson, 2010:219) He claimed that there “must be a union between the spirit in wood and the spirit in man.” (Nakashima, cited in Adamson, 2010:220) In the declaration of the Woodcraft Folk, it says they will use “the creative faculty both of our minds and our hands,” (Prynn, 1983:83) and in Canada the spiritual nature of the craft created a “popular image of craftspeople as ‘hippies.’” (Afoldy, 2005:141)

On a journey of discovery into this concept, British writer Robert Penn took part in a 2 year project, where he found and fell his own ash tree, which he then cut into planks and commissioned different craftsmen to make him a range of objects. His book follows his journey “with accompanying passages of history and science.” (Cumming, 2015) He identifies that “many of the craftsmen are in family businesses and are in the main a dying breed,” (Cumming, 2015) but also that they all feel a part of a “mutually beneficial relationship between people and trees.” (Penn, 2015:223) They felt they had a duty of “responding to the givens of a particular piece of wood.” (Britton, 2003:24) This reinforces the spiritual concepts that have previously been recorded, and Penn explains that “the objects spoke of the skill and the idealism of the artisans and craftsmen who had made them.” (Penn, 2015:226)

Penn also looks into the general effects of wood as a material on people. He describes his own feelings as when you “walk fifty paces in to a wood and there is a sense of things being different: you are out adrift.” (Penn, 2015:222) Likewise, he discusses research into physical effects wood has on people; how “leisurely forest walks reduce heart rate and blood pressure,” (Penn, 2015:113) and research studies that show “in classrooms and offices with wooden furniture, blood pressure and pulse rates tend to drop – wood is thus responsible for reducing stress levels and improving quality of sleep.” (Penn, 2015:111) It is evidence such as this, which allow us to understand why, for craftsmen like Jim Partridge “the outdoors has influenced his whole working identity,” (Britton, 2003:28) and why woodcraft is not only about the product, but a way of life and a mind-set.

These ideas of our emotional connection with our natural surroundings is something that I would really like to return to in my final year studies. I want to establish a strong professional stance that carefully considers the materials I use, where they come from and how they inform my audience about my creative process.

Another concept that Penn addresses in his book with quite some depth is the ethical side of craft practice. I would also like to really focus on working with materials that are responsibly and thoughtfully sourced; taking care not to waste materials, or take more from an environment than I need.

I think this last essay has really helped me to develop my practical work with more thought and contextual awareness. It has highlighted to me the importance of researching more than just visual stimulus to develop my work. I want to try and extend my theoretical research in my final academic year at University, because I believe it will help me to really develop as a craft practitioner and an artist.


I will just leave you with the citation list relevant to these extracts!


Greenhalgh, Paul (2003) The Persistence of Craft : The Applied Arts Today. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press.

Adamson, Glenn (2010) The Craft Reader. Oxford: Berg.

Boyle, David (2004) Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life. London: Harper Perennial.

Britton, Alison and Swift, Katherine (2003) Jim Partridge. Aldershot: Lund Humphrie.

Coatts, Margot (1997) Pioneers of Modern Craft. Machester: Manchester University Press.

Dormer, Peter (1997) The Culture of Craft: Status and Future. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Penn, Robert (2015) The Man Who Made Things Out Of  Trees. United Kingdom: Particular Books.

Pye, David (1995) The Nature and Art of Workmanship. London: Herbert Press.

Risatti, Howard (2007) A Theory of Craft: Function and Aesthetic Expression. North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press.


Cumming, Ed (2015) The Man Who Made Things Out Of Trees Review – A Well-crafted Tribute to the Ash. At: (Accessed on 02.04.16)


Afoldy, Sandra (2005) Crafting Identity: The Development of Professional Fine Craft in Canada. [online] At: (Accessed on 28.03.16)

Breck, Edward (1908) Way of the Woods: A Manual for Sportsmen in Northeastern United States and Canada. [online] At: (Accessed on 01.04.16)

Leigh, Mole (2002) Chronomanual Craft: Time Investment as a Value in Contemporary Western Craft. [online] At: (Accessed on 11.03.16)

Prynn, David (1983) The Woodcraft Folk and the Labour Movement 1925-70. [online] At: (Accessed on 28.03.16)

Lately, I have been considering the importance of the context of my work and how it can change the meanings, perception and aesthetics of my pieces.

I have been torn between the benefits of both a gallery or ‘white cube’ environment, and the original environments of the materials used in my work. I think that a removal of context in terms of displaying my work can be beneficial, as it allows me to create my own new environment for people to interact with, however I feel somewhat instinctively drawn to the idea of placing my work back into the environment; offering my artistic representation back to the landscape in some way.

One of the major influences for me in terms of context for my work comes from Andy Goldsworthy. Even as one of the most renowned British land artists, he still creates work that is intended for a gallery or indoor environment. He claims:

“It’s not a contradiction for an artist who’s committed to working outside to work inside.”

andy golsworthy.jpg

To consider the aesthetics further, have looked at a few photographs of Goldsworthy’s work, where similar structures can be seen both indoors and outdoors.

‘Surface Tension’ is a piece I was particularly drawn to. It is made from a structure of sticks, suspended between the walls of a gallery space. But Goldsworthy can be seen constructing a similar structure suspended from a tree in his 2001 documentary ‘Rivers and Tides.’

I think the concept that this structure can be created in any space and relate to either environment in it’s own way is really fascinating. I like how in the gallery, the piece looks as though it is attempting to burst through the walls; it looks strong and complex. However, the similar structure outside looks more like an extension of the tree; an abnormal growth. It seems to have physically grown from the tree that inspired it, and yet it looks much more flimsy and temporary.

I have photographed my own work in different contexts in order to see how it changes the feel of the pieces.

As you can see, the two are very different. What I am very happy with, is that they do in fact take on the same kind of transformational power that of Goldsworthy’s work. But I find it really hard to choose which environment I prefer my work in.

I think the removal of visual context allows the details of my work to become a lot clearer. It highlights the craftsmanship involved more than when placed outside. This makes them appear much more striking, and I feel that they have more weight to them; they stand for themselves.

When placed outside, I do feel as though they start to become slightly lost within the background. They don’t have the same dominant aura to them that is evident in the white, gallery setting. The main concept behind this work is also that of creating a new form from elements of negative space from the landscape, and by placing the work back into the environment, I am running the risk of them becoming negative space once more and not allowing them the chance to stand for themselves.

I think I would like to find a way of displaying my work in a gallery setting that brings elements of the natural world into play. I experimented with this a little bit for the ORIGINS Exhibition at the Farnham Vineyard:


But I think I could start to play with options that are a lot more interesting than just plinths.

One idea that I am keen to develop is the accompaniment of film with my work. I would like to experiment with creating installation style environments for my work, that include film footage of the forest or soundtracks of the forest perhaps. This is definitely something I wish to develop and play with once I return to University for my final year!


Lots to chew on… here’s hoping I make sense!

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