PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
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.)
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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!
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:
The HND prize for jewellery AND the prize for silversmithing were both won by Shirley Gray. Her stoneset brooch won the advanced jewellery prize:
And her mixed-media memorial to her father - a highland fisherman - won the silversmithing prize:
What with all the marking and arranging things, I've not made anything myself!