Stone carving weekend workshops for all abilities at New Brewery Arts Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
20/21/22 Nov. 2015
15/16/17 Apr. 2016
8/9/10 July 2016
Weekly Classes at New Brewery Art
Every Monday starting 11th Jan. 2016 until 21st March 2016
Every Friday starting 8th Jan. 2016 until 18th March 2016
At New Brewery Arts, Cirencester
As a sculptor, with 20 years experience in direct stone carving, I have develop a strong sense of working with a natural material in a physical direct way, alerting my senses in the process of it. In recent years I have experimented with materials and techniques. Focusing on the process of making I incorporate materials like cloth, wax, paper, discovering qualities that expand my sculptural skills, returning new finds indirectly to the direct carving. I am interested in light, shadow, form as negative imprint, form fully realised, mobility of form. My aim is to observe and capture fleeting moments, combining permanent materials like stone with ephemeral materials and processes. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to share this approach with young adults and adults who have taken part in my direct stone carving courses over the last 10 years. On this background I have been commissioned by New Brewery Arts/ Cirencester to create a project investigating with the aid of digital tools my process and the process of groups who partake in direct stone carving. As well as me being ‘wired up’ in my studio, spring 2015 ‘Echo’ will take part in several secondary schools where I am running stone carving workshops and digitally record those. ‘Echo’ is a project in it’s early stages, my experiences with the digital medium are new and I am excited where a connection between handmade and digital will take me in my own practise. The impact of information and communications technology is vast and gains importance in many creative areas, with a multitude of possibilities, the restrictions are of a very different nature to the once in a handmade process, where qualities of a material and the engaging process through skill form possibilities and boundaries. Pretty much anything in the material world can be made through 3-D printing, products in engineering and design to medicine, touching into all areas of our society, with it grows fascination and many questions.
So how can the handmade connect to the digital?
Whilst making by hand experiences move to a holistic memory inside the maker. It is a process that encompasses a multitude of skills and continuously develops because of it, we see, we act, we touch, we think, we decide on the next step to take which tool to use, out of this grows the journey to the finished object, with a new set of skills of how to use a tool to extract certain aspects out of a material, a understanding of how the material responds. As a skilled maker I know instinctively about the restrictions of a material and it’s possibilities.The hand made process of learning consists of repetition and a collection of embodied memory.
The digital process differs from the handmade and connects equally. When using ‘Rhino’ 3-D modelling software, forms are generated and designed through CAD, when moving and shifting forms on the screen, all is much faster, almost instant, a fluid experience, opposite to the weeks it takes to create a carving. Yet I notice the same gut feeling towards the form on the screen as to the one on the workbench, perhaps my memory of form is so embedded that it relates to all forms,physical as well as virtual ones. So how can I build on this connection between the two?During direct stone carving a soundscape is generated by which the experienced stone carver can tell a lot about the material and about the person interacting with the material. In ‘Echo’ I am using digital technologies at different points to survey the ‘intuitive knowing’.
-During the carving process as a tool for collecting data, the sound of carving/ the physical touch of the maker with the material/ the internal sound in the stone when it is being carved/ scanning of forms at different stages of the process. -Followed by the analysing of data, detecting emerging patterns and forms. -Finally utilising ‘digested’ data, I am designing sculptural forms which will be 3-D printed. With the hand carved sculptures and 3-D printed sculptures I am creating a installation as part of my residency at New Brewery Arts summer 2015.
‘Echo’ is a starting point for my own practice to enrich the direct intuitive approach with digital technology. I see ‘Echo’ as a opportunity to engage with contemporary making practise, rooted in the oldest tradition of making.
‘Echo’ highlights some aspects of the direct stone carving process through 3-D printed forms ‘grown’ out of a digital data.
‘Echo’ is supported by
New Brewery Arts, newbreweryarts.org.uk
Dr Paul Harper, academic and writer on visual art and craft
Dan Hughes-Mc Grail, sculptor, specialist in 3-D modelling, digital-sculpture.co.uk
Stephen Ives, sound artist, ‘Hackerfarm’, hackerfarm.net
Paul Lewis, managing director of ‘Cadventure’, cadventure.co.uk
I am spending my weekend teaching stone carving, a lot of the students are new to the material and or the idea of carving a form. Enthusiasm for it seems easily passed on as I am talking away and bombarding everybody with my ideas on the subject matter, hoping not to leave students bewildered. Not only does it light up new enthusiasm in myself, I also want to pass on the techniques that have become of value to me. So I sat here last night drawing up ideas for the little piece I started myself whilst teaching. It is good for me, without the pressure of feeling that to much of the material has been removed whilst still not knowing where I am going, to draw and be playful with ideas, reminding myself it is not about shaping a concrete form but more the idea of a form and here are my ideas for today.
Spend a few days at “The Sheds” in Whiltshire, friends of mine have created a amazing home for their family, a oasis of creativity, whenever I had the opportunity to stay with them, surrounded by original artwork and their deep passion for art, encouraging and supporting artists…I return with the belief that what I am doing has a place, is important for me to persude. I was teaching a stone carving course there and it could not have been different to the weekend in March when we had some snow at the Rococo Garden. We were carving in blazing heat all weekend long, with the luxury of a dip into the pool at the end of the day. I met the artist Andrew Vass during his residency, the conversations I had with him sparked many thoughts about the process of working, decisions during mark making and seeing drawings in a completely different light to creating representations. I do have hang ups about my drawing, because I still have that expectation that a drawing needs to be recognisable, NO IT DOESN’T! Making marks can be a different world, a line can have a massive story to tell, a mark can be changed, has it’s own history and time scale, a shadow of it’s own existence, can disappear leaving nothing but a memory. The conversations with Andrew inspire me to explore drawing in a totally fresh way, it also brought me closer to the work of my colleague and friend Emily Joy. Thank you to Aubrey and Kay Newman for hosting a deluxe stone carving weekend as well as putting up my drawing “Ceasura” this weekend, good to see that one in a new light too. Watch the space!