This week, I spent a few days with family, camping out in Beaulieu. This is one of my favourite places in the New Forest and it’s full of fantastic walks!

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Whilst staying in Beaulieu, I decided to gather some bark up to bring back with me to University. There is a nice range of trees in this part of the New Forest, including quite a lot of Silver Birch.

There was lots to rifle through! The best part is, some logs were completely rotten in the center, and I was able to collect almost full bark ‘skins’ which I can put back together after the casting process to basically re-create the pieces almost exactly.

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I am quite taken with the concept of developing pieces or small collections that are made entirely from bark in one area of the New Forest. The idea being to transform these original elements of the space into something new. A physical object; arisen from the forgotten spaces in the landscape.

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I think I have managed to collect a substantial pile of bark from Beaulieu in order to start experimenting with this concept. Now I just have to find somewhere safe to store them until September!

I also want to say a thankyou to my cousin, Emily, for accompanying me on this trip to take some photos of me in action!

 

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I hope you are all enjoying your summer breaks!

 

So, I have officially finished my final term of second year at University! It’s gone past so quickly and it feels so surreal to think that I will be starting the final year of my degree in only 3 months time.

I have been so pleased with how my work has developed in this last semester, and I feel as though I am in a very strong position to carry on with it once I return to study after the summer.

I just wanted to share with you some images of my final works that I took in the studio.

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I am planning to use the time I have over the summer to collect new materials to work with for the coming year; travelling around the new forest to find interesting textured bark to use within my casting and recording the environments through the use of drawing and film.

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That’s it for now, but I’ll keep you updated with anything interesting that develops!

Something new today! I have been playing with the idea of creating a jewellery collection based on the same themes and inspiration as my current project; almost as an extension of the project.

I think it will be interesting to explore the concepts of physically bringing my audience closer to nature, by the means of items of jewellery, as well as continuing to explore the ideas in my other collection, of recreating an experience aesthetically for my audience to interact with.

I have had a very ad hoc attempt at wax modelling some brooches and rings this week to do a standard cast with, just to get an initial feel for the pieces, and see if I like the idea.

I think the prospect of creating two collections of work that run alongside each other could be a really contemporary and exciting approach within my practise, and I would like to explore it a lot more in my final year of study.

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As always, leave any comments/feedback as to what you think!

 

I recently came across an artist called Lee Borthwick and I have instantly fallen in love with her series entitled ‘The Common Gaze’.

Borthwick too, works with wood in a sustainable way and embraces the unique narratives of her materials to produce work that draws out the beauty in natural forms. Her series ‘The Common Gaze’ is about offering up a new perspective and allowing us to experience woodland “through the eyes of the trees.” 

The use of mirrors is such a simple concept, but Borthwick’s compositions capture some truly breathtaking results which seem to have an other-worldly aura to them.

I really love the play on perspectives in this work. I am particularly interested in how she draws the elements of the landscape that she likes most and projects them into a new part of the environment.

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This is a concept that I am hoping to develop a response to in my own practise. I want to find a way to transform segments of the landscape and then have them interject the original environment.

I have therefore been quite strongly focused on negative spaces within the forest; as I am hoping to materialise new forms from these shapes, in an attempt to visualise the potential forms that could exist in these spaces.

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Ultimately, I have found myself forming a strong connection with this series and I think Borthwick’s work offers a new and exciting view of the landscape; one which I have not seen before.

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It’s always great to discover new work that fuels your own ideas and artistic concepts and I have walked away from this with a whole bunch of fresh inspiration!

 

This week, I just felt like sharing some of my drawings, sketches and maquettes with you.

I quite often draw out lots of design ideas and possibilities all on one page, which gets kind of crowded, but it helps me to see lots of new avenues. I am interested in exploring how different final objects; originating from the same inspiration, will interact together in a new environment.

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Using watercolours is my favourite way to add colour to my design sketches. I also really enjoy creating full pages in my sketchbook of colour swatches and palettes.

The most effective way for me to visualise my design is through paper maquettes and models. This helps me to process how I might construct each element of my pieces together, and consider which elements of the design are most important to me.

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I create my maquettes and models using a range of materials including, paper, photographs, plasticine, card, fabric and wood. Using photographs is a great way to explore surface patterns and to understand how images are manipulated by the form.

I have enjoyed creating final pieces in card and wood during my casting process, because it is very similar to working with a model. It releases any anxiety I may have over how the individual elements might come together and I am free to play, without feeling as though I am wasting materials.

 

 

I recently had one of my sketchbooks digitised at University and I am really pleased with the result! If you want to check it out, go ahead! You can find it here.

 

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I am hoping to get my second sketchbook digitised soon too, and will let you know once that is available!

Here’s a little update on my recent castings for you! My last pour was for the pieces I made as models (seen below), which I did a direct cast from.

I experimented a little bit with textures for these pieces, using wax to build up layers, in an attempt to make the bark look as if it was merging into the rest of the piece.

So here are the results!

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I am extremely happy with the results of this casting and they look very impressive next to the 3rd piece I made, which was assembled of individual pieces of bronze bark.

I will now be exhibiting this miniature collection of work alongside my tryptic of steel vessels at the Craft Study Centre, for our end of year showcase; running from the 6th – 13th May.

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Feel free to go and have a look at them for yourself!

After receiving some amazing feedback from people at our exhibition, I was inspired to develop my work even more, and took to the woods to collect some new materials to work with!

I collected another pile of Scotch Pine bark, as this was the texture that I liked the most, due to it’s depth and density.

I was also really intrigued in the textures of some of the stripped wood that I found, where bark had naturally fallen from already.

Working from these primary sources, I began to construct some pieces using a cardboard tube as a starting point; adding bark to build up layers that I couldn’t achieve with singular cast elements.

The plan with these is to continue with the direct one time casting process, and cast the whole thing as a finished piece.

I have also begun experimenting with adding some wax textures to these pieces. I’m not sure if I will like the results or not – but we’ll find out!

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Watch this space to see the results of the casting!

This weekend was the weekend of our group exhibition, ORIGINS, at the Farnham Vineyard Centre! It was a really successful show and I just wanted to share some photos of the show for you guys to see.

It took us a total of 6 hours to set everything up. There was lots of driving around with the equipment and a few technical mishaps!

The private view kicked it all off on the Thursday night, and we had a good number of people turn up, including our tutors and technicians from the University!

Over the three days, we had roughly 60 people come and visit, which was so many more than we expected. Thankyou to anyone who came along and supported us!

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I was particularly pleased with how my own work looked in this space. I think my choice of plinths demonstrated a subtle and sophisticated suggestion of context, which was highlighted with my film too.

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The video of my work was filmed, produced and edited by Wesley Productions, which is my brother’s promotional film company.

The whole space worked very well, and I think our arrangement made great use of the space. I loved this venue for our work, and I would definitely consider using this venue for another future exhibition.

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I’ll leave you with this photograph of us all with our tutor, Rebecca Skeels!

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For the final semester at University this year, we have been putting a strong focus on contextualizing our work and establishing a methodology that applies to our practice.

During this personal exploration of my work, I have found myself more interested in the physical processes that I use and the overall approach that I take to my work is what I feel to be the most important aspect in my designs.

I tend to identify more easily with land artists because of this, as they typically have a very free and exploratory way of working. One of the artists who I have always admired for this is David Nash.

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Flame Column, David Nash

Nash works only with wood that is made available naturally, through circumstances such as storms, lightning strikes or diseases and his work is about helping people to understand their place in the natural world.

I think his work demonstrates a very respectful relationship with the materials and I like how the original material or shape is still visible in his designs. He works in a way that responds to each individual piece of wood, which I love.

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(From left to right) Cut Corners Pillar, Pentagram Pillar, Sea Oak Pillar, Palm Pillar and Mosaic Pillar, David Nash 

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Black Dome, David Nash

I think that the selection of my materials is also very key to my methodology. All the pieces of bark I have collected so far, have been naturally peeling from the branches. Peeling bark is a common occurrence in both Scotch Pine trees and Sycamore trees; two common woods found in the New Forest, which is where my bark has come from.

I also feel as though I want to re-create the most honest representation of these materials in my work as possible, which is why I work with the casting process. It allows me to pick up on the finest details of the tree’s bark.

I do feel as though we have a natural inexplicable connection to the forest, and I want to try and collate my personal thoughts and feelings about these spaces into unique responses, formed organically from the individual pieces that I have collected from the environment.

I think that listening to the materials themselves is really important. I was most pleased with my last experiment, because I allowed the individual cast pieces to guide me towards a final form. Reacting to the shapes as I assemble each piece feels almost as if the tree is re-growing on it’s own.

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Although looking into the work of David Nash has helped me to pinpoint the important values of my own practice, I do still have a lot of aspects that need to be refined more, and I have a long way to go in establishing a methodology that I am content with.

 

I just wanted to share with you some images of the finished pieces that I have created using the bits of forged steel and cast bronze that I have been experimenting with!

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I am really pleased with how this assembled steel vessel looks once it has been placed with my smaller vessels. I feel as though my visions of a collection are starting to materialize here, and I love the new relationships that are created between them.

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My bronze vessel was harder to construct than the steel one, as the pieces were all of varying sizes and thicknesses, which means every individual weld requires a new setting. However, I am very pleased with the final outcome, and it has given me a whole range of new ideas to explore.

I am particularly interested in combining these two textural experiments together, to see how the two metals may interact or sculpt each other.

I would also like to try attaching the bark to a tube of some kind, and try casting the whole piece at once. I am interested in creating some kind of contrast in my work, whether that is a contrast of texture, colour or finish.

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I shall leave you with a few of my design sketches to look at for now!

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Outside of University term-time, I work in a small, community interest gallery in Romsey, New Forest. At the moment, there are two exhibitions running alongside one another. One is called Rhythm & Blues, which consists of textural wall pieces by Julien Masson and the other is called ‘Earth Tones’and is a range of Paintings by Maureen Davies.

The gallery also has a continuously changing array of 3D work. I just wanted to share with you a few images of the work they had this season!

Soft-stone carving by Moira Ross and porcelain ceramics by Harriet Wesley:

Glazed ceramics by Jackie Giron and Colin Jones:

Animal sculptures by Pippa Hill and Sandra Bidmead:

Jewellery by members of the ACJ and glasswork by Angela Perrett:

Raku ceramics by Ollie Chappell and copper birds by Mike Savage:

I really enjoyed going back to the gallery and having a chance to practice my curatorial skills. It’s very interesting to see how the placement of objects can make them seem so much more prominent in a space.

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I’ve definitely got some good tips to take back with me to University – and I can use them to help set up our group exhibition!

 

Over a weekend at home, I collected some pieces of bark from the New Forest. The best bits were ones that I got from logs which had been slightly dampened by the British weather. This is because, when the log is damp, the bark lifts away from the log in large chunks, and it does not crumble away.

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For this process, I sprue the pieces of bark up, directly to a wax tree, without creating a wax version of the bark. This is because I burn out the bark in a kiln overnight, and when properly dry, I have found that the ash does not interfere with the plaster mould too much.

It also allows me to get the best results in terms of textures, and each piece becomes a unique cast.

At university, we have an American made casting machine with a vacuum, which allows slightly more complex forms to be cast with a bit more ease than traditional pouring cast methods.

It also means I do not need to add any return sprues to my wax tree.

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Here’s the results! These have been cleaned with a water-jet blaster and a grit blaster.

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With the bigger pieces, I began to arrange them into a tube shape, similar to my initial experiments.I really loved the more natural shaping this had. I can visualize this as an element of a bigger piece, maybe fitted as a kind of collar to another form.

With the smaller pieces, I used the D.C welder to assemble them together, overlapping them and keeping the welds small, and on the back.

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This is what it looked like from the front! I think this method is really effective and I would definitely like to continue working in this way with the pieces from my next casting.

Here are a couple of examples of how I imagine these bronze pieces to be incorporated with another form. I think it works well against the dark colour of the steel, but it also looks really effective when contrasted with a machined, high finished form.

I think I am likely to continue with this concept of assembling my work together, as I have really enjoyed the creativeness of the process.

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I’ll be sharing some finished pieces with you soon!

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