It’s nearly the end of yet another year and the third years are putting up their work ready for assessment. Once that is done its time for the final shows. End of year rights of passage are things that art courses do really well, I forget that other courses don’t have this celebration of the best work done, simply exams and a long period of waiting for the results.
Besides the occasional help with holding something in place while someone tightens a screw, I’m mainly wondering the studios and giving advice; simply operating as an extra pair of eyes. Sometimes you are so on top of the work that you can’t see things. It’s good to be able to just talk on a casual basis with students that you have watched grow and change over three years. Hopefully they are still hungry for more, ready for that next step out in the real world. As I go round there are so many possibilities being opened out, ways into making that if just pushed that bit further could be really great. The hard bit is though yet to come. How do you get enough money together to rent a studio, how do you get access to the right level of technical support and equipment? I really think it’s time Leeds had a proper sculpture workshop, a place for fabrication on an ambitious scale. There is so much empty property about at the moment, surely a group could be formed with the skills and interest to put something like Glasgow sculpture studios together.
Perhaps this could be something the three Leeds degree institutions could help put together. In Glasgow the sculpture workshop benefits the city as a whole and also services the School of Art helping to take pressure off their workshops in busy periods and at the same time of course, giving students an experience of what it is like to work out in a professional workshop.
Beginnings are also very important, for years I used to help think through and set up the opening large drawing set-ups for Foundation. Every summer we would re-think what could be constructed for the beginning of the year. Grids and geometric solids were always important, but just as vital was the decision as to what would work against these constructions. Some years it would be students being asked to create giant tools out of cardboard, other years objects chosen for their personal histories or stories, whatever it was these situations had to be immersive and capable of being measured, composed and selected from. There were a whole range of different approaches to this though and a different approach at Foundation level as opposed to degree level; I shall try and unpick what these approaches and issues were in the next post.