Photography courtesy of Pam Kelly
It took me at least quarter of an hour to scrape the windows on the college minibus this morning. However, the effort would be repaid back by my class that same morning when they helped me hang my 'Pilgrimage'
exhibition at The Meffan in Forfar.
One of the Units in the HND Contemporary Art Practice framework is 'Professional Practice'. It is designed to equip students with the skills necessary to promote themselves and apply for opportunities. What better introduction to the Unit than to immerse and involve them in the setting up.
When I joined the Masters Course just over two years ago I was not prepared for the friendships that would come into and enrich my life as a result.
The one that has had the biggest impact on me is my pinhole friend Donald Tainsh that I met at a Dry Plate Workshop in Glasgow. There are many qualities that I admire about him, a few of them being: his kindness, his wit, his technical and photography skills and his humility.
To help me with my studies Donald not only imparted much valuable pinhole advice but he offered me a spare tripod that he owned to aid in my dry plate adventures. Instead of taking the tripod for nothing I insisted upon a barter deal.
Since then I have met up with Donald and his lovely wife Maggie to take photographs: Maggie forgiving us of our analogue obsession waiting patiently at a close by café!
Donald and Maggie also came to the preview of my Masters Show. It was here that he admired one of my pinhole prints and offered to buy it. Rather than take the cash I suggested another swap; my pinhole image for one of his. Today we met in Edinburgh to close our deal.
The early morning drive to Banchory was consumed by mixed emotions of anxiety, happiness and sadness. I was anxious for two reasons:
The morning rehearsal saw the composer David Ward, myself and my companion Andrew in the front row being treated to a private recital. When making the video I only had a computer simulation of the music to work with so I was excited to hear the musicians.
The intimacy of our private premiered performance was indeed overwhelming. It was a surreal experience. It goes without saying that I was moved to the core. The afternoon performance to an audience did nothing to diminish this emotion. Feedback from the attendees was positive with many kind words said.
The whole experience has been amazing. I have enjoyed very much working with David Ward, Rohan de Saram, Suren de Saram, Kausikan Rajeshkumar and Mark Hope. Accomplished professionals who have treated me kindly and taught me much.
I was completely unprepared for the depression that followed the dismantling of my Masters Show.
On analysis I should be very happy for I had presented an exhibition that I had worked very hard to produce. I shared the opening night with close family and friends who had travelled far and wide to be with me. My exhibition was well received and I was duly awarded a Distinction by my tutors.
However, the depression set in when the new term began. No longer did I have a Friday to look forward to where I would either be travelling to Gray's School of Art or making in my studio. So where to begin?
What I have learned from My Masters experience is how important making is to me. Although I no longer have a Friday to play I know that it is necessary to create time in my busy life to continue making. However instead of rushing into my studio and continuing where I left off I have chosen to take time to reflect. To spend time surrounded by my collections and works to date and take stock..........and what better way to do this than making a new pinhole camera.
Friday 25th August found me in the company of family and friends who had put themselves out to join me at the preview of my Masters Show. I feel privileged to be so well thought of for they had travelled far and wide to be with me.
I have said it before, but it really is a mystery to me how quickly two years has flown by. The Masters Show marks an end point but it also marks the beginning of a new chapter of making too. Although my show filled a number of spaces I was frustrated that I didn't have enough time to make all that I wanted to. That said, I must be thankful that I own a sketchbook full of ideas to continue my journey............I am so happy to have rediscovered making again.
The morning of Monday 14th August was the deadline date for the hand in of our dissertation and Monday 21st for our Masters Show of practical work.
It seems only a few months ago that I traveled early by train one autumnal morning to nervously meet with my classmates and principal lecturer in the foyer of Gray's School of Art. However, two years has passed and I am now setting up my final summation of this amazing journey. Along the way I have made many news friends, forged collaborative adventures, learned new processes and produced a show that I am proud of.
Far from being an end point though, my Masters Shows marks a new beginning. As I graduate I leave with a sketchbook full of new concepts that I intend to develop. My plan is to continue making in my studio at home and applying for opportunities and competitions. I have already been accepted for a one woman show for 2018.
The photograph above shows only some of the works that I will be showing. Rather than have a large space I chose 3 spaces that linked together so that visitors may experience it as a journey of inspired collections.
Today my classmates and I met with our principal lecturer Dr Jon Pengelly to discuss our requirements for our forthcoming Masters Show.
The first item of the agenda was the Masters Brochure. Each student will have one A5 card in portrait (this is an A4 Card with fold down centre = A5) for images and one for text. All cards will be held together with a paper ‘rap’ held in place with 'sticky dot’.
The second item was to state our requirements such as projectors, plinths etc. We then went along to the Contemporary Art Practice studios to negotiate and claim our spaces. I bagged myself two spaces that lead from one to the other then into a darkened viewing space for my film.
There is now only just over one week left to finish off and mount works before the practical deadline.
To date I have made two brass sculptures using the lost wax process for my MFA Show. It is truly a magical moment when they are born from the investment mould. Your baby has arrived into the world intact! However, there is still much preparation work to do before each cast is ready to be shown.
Firstly they must be cleaned to remove the investment, slag and wax that is still stuck to the surface: for this process I used the sand blaster. I then employed a wire brush to polish each building. Great care must be taken and protective goggles are essential. A quality wire brush is a must also as inferior tools can result in stray wire projectiles penetrating your soft skin at speed!
This could have been the final stage but I required a finish that made my buildings look old. To achieve this I used an antiquing fluid applied with a brush to a grease free surface.