14 Jul 2015

Catch Up 2: Modern Heritage Craft Project with Spring Fling

 
At the beginning of this year I joined a project with Spring Fling supported by The Holywood Trust and The Heritage Lottery Fund. The project, in it's second pilot year, gave 15-25 year olds the chance to create contemporary functional objects with professional makers in Dumfries and Galloway. We worked intensively together for 10 days, learning not only the physical skills to create a piece of glass but also an insight into the daily life of a maker culminating in an exhibition of their work in Designs Gallery in Castle Douglas.
 
'Craft makers work with their hands and using tools, machinery and technology to make (usually) wearable or usable objects such as jewellery, clothes, shoes, furniture, pots, bowls and hats. They use materials such as metal, wood, glass, plastic, fabric, leather and clay. Some makers use traditional techniques and machinery, some use cutting edge new technology, and some may use a combination.'
                                                                                                            From the Spring Fling website

I was a bit hesitant at first as I felt 10 days was too short to produce exhibition quality work for those who hadn't worked with glass before. I also hadn't taught this age group before. I shouldn't have worried, from the first meeting we had at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries I knew they would be an excellent group. All very interested, quick to learn and took on ideas in an unknown medium so well. Maybe it was because of the unknown but they had no fear and all had very strong concepts from the start that grew at each step as they learnt more about glass.

The whole project was documented by Colin Tennant, taking stills and creating a film from both years (see end of blog post). This two year pilot project will be used to secure funding for a long term apprenticeship project in the region which I highly support. All images here (apart from a few indicated) are taken by and copyrighted by Colin Tennant along with Spring Fling (soon to be Upland).

We spent two days in the print room at Gracefield getting to know one another, learning the basics of glass and some printmaking to inform our glass work, a similar pattern to how I work. Next, to produce samples and the finished pieces I led two blocks of 4 days in my workshop, learning fusing, slumping, sheet glass and powders (all Bullseye Glass) and cold working techniques such as hand engraving, diamond wheel lathe engraving, diamond flat bed grinding and sandblasting. As you can see from the images we had a brilliant time and the work they produced by themselves was excellent. I think it was a little daunting for them to have work finished for an exhibition but they all rose to the challenge in style. They were involved in the whole process right through to the professional photography by Colin of their finished work. I was so happy to hear that they loved the experience and has informed their choices for the next step of their careers.

I'd like to thank all those involved for instigating a vibrant scheme for the young people in D&G, inviting me on the project and producing amazing marketing materials and putting on an excellent exhibition that was very well received (especially as the students didn't want to sell the work and this was in a commercial gallery)....but especially to my lovely students who I'm very happy to call friends and have back in my workshop at any time. I look forward to watching what they achieve in the future.


Working in the studio on their separate projects
 Glass powder application
Working from printing research
Detail of glass powders ready to be fired
Application of glass powders onto previously fused glass building a depth of colour

Working with the huge range of glass powders from Bullseye Glass

 


Finished piece - Large vessel form working on the devastating effect of the Lockerbie air disaster

Finished work - Water falling through free form vessels (on custom built stand in the exhibition)
 
 Looking for bubbles and how the light comes through the glass



 
 Finished work - Moons, tides and gravity
Setting up for photographs with Colin Tennant
 Finished set - Vessels representing memories, monuments and fragments
 
 
 Colin Tennant behind his camera and in front of mine
 
A selection of snaps taken by me before the exhibition at Designs Gallery opened


 
 
video
The final film by Colin Tennant that documents the two year project with the 3 other professional makers.

http://www.spring-fling.co.uk/
https://www.holywood-trust.org.uk/
http://www.hlf.org.uk/ (Heritage Lottery Fund)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/colintennant/sets/72157634675185429/ (Colin Tennant's Flickr site as website undergoing revamp)
http://www.designsgallery.co.uk/
http://www.bullseyeglass.com/

7 Jul 2015

Catch up 1: Spring Fling Open Studios


It's been a difficult year interspersed with some lovely moments. These images were sent to me by Spring Fling Headquarters today, all taken by Colin Hattersley on his travels around the Spring Fling Open Studio event at the end of May.

It was a record year for visitors with wonderful weather and again my lovely Mum and sister Kim helping out loads with cake, sales and generally keeping me upright. I managed not to bake one cake and to only wrap up a few things the entire weekend.

Great sharing with the very lovely jeweller Natalie Vardey, our third time and a beginning of a jewellery collection with this years theme of Flotsam and Jetsam.

Unfortunately I didn't have as much stock as anticipated due to kiln breakdown and my compressor blowing up but luckily had a good collection of some larger pieces that I exhibited at SOFA Chicago to make a good display.

This years firsts....bunting inside and out, framed and mounted prints and lovely pansies in Hannah MacAndrew's wee mugs, used as table decorations at the potters wedding of the year, Hannah and Doug Fitch.

Next year I will be celebrating our 10th year here in Corsock so hopefully (selection permitting) will be making some limited edition vessels, panels and re-visiting some of my favourite older pieces from the past 10 years.


 Space Drinking Vessels (Orange and Yellow)
 

 One of my lovely returning visitors (Hope you liked your surprise!)
 


All images copyright Colin Hattersley / Spring Fling Open Studios 2015

13 Apr 2015

Spring Fling International


Some wonderful images by Colin Tennant for Spring Fling Open Studio's first International exhibition in Berlin. Very happy to have been selected for this great exhibition...more images here.

(all links above for more details).


30 Mar 2015

Emerge Evolve at Bellevue Arts Museum


A few shots from the Emerge Evolve show taken by Lani McGregor on her recent visit. Lovely to see the work displayed so beautifully and lit so atmospherically. Happy kiln former!

http://www.bellevuearts.org/exhibitions/emerge_evolve_2014.html A link to the Museum

For more about Bullseye Projects http://www.bullseyeprojects.com/index.cfm


My work on plinths and wonderful wall work by Martie Negri.



All Pictures by Lani McGregor Bullseye Projects

27 Mar 2015

Crafts Council Makers Directory goes Live


The Crafts Council have just launched the new Makers Directory. There are some familiar faces and a wide range of contemporary craft to search through. Here's the link to my profile...still have some projects to load.


https://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/directory/maker/amanda-j-simmons/
 
(Cluster II - from Collect 2014 with Contemporary Applied Arts)

18 Mar 2015

Spring Exhibition at The Green Gallery


New spring-like pieces are headed off to the Green Gallery in Aberfoyle for their Spring Exhibition opening 22nd March

See www.greengallery.com for more details.

21 Feb 2015

Vessel Forming Course at North Lands Creative Glass


Vessel Forming Course

7 day course at North Lands Creative Glass



Blooming Vessels

21 - 27 June 2015
 
Inspiration from the beautiful Highlands in full bloom with gardens perched on the edge of the land overlooking the North Sea; the starting point for a new skills class at North Lands Creative Glass this Summer. Amanda Simmons will lead a 7 day gravity formed vessel course for experienced kiln formers looking to experiment with larger scale vessels and hand made moulds.
 
Playing with gravity, mass, heat and time, you will make unique kiln formed vessels inspired by field trips to Dunbeath Castle in Caithness and Dunrobin Castle Gardens in neighbouring Sutherland. The group will investigate these two sites, the gardens, the plants that withstand the harsh conditions and the stunning sea, sky and landscapes we see along the way.
 
Fusing, slumping and cold working experience is preferable as Amanda will be spending more time on a one to one basis with each student. We will cover the basics of vessel making by producing small vessels as samples for the larger project.
 

6 Jan 2015

London Boat Show

 
 

My first show of 2015 is at the London Boat Show at ExCel London, exhibiting work with Princess Yachts via the art agency Artelier.

A few neutral toned pieces for the luxury yachts on display.