The Best thing about Being Education Coordinator is…

…Getting to meet loads of great artists!

Charles Hadcock FRBS at 'Encounter'

Charles Hadcock FRBS at ‘Encounter’

Ok I have to admit it, being on a committee was not exactly high on my agenda – but when I was asked by Surrey Sculpture Society (SSS) to take up the role of Education Coordinator, how could I resist?  I’d been coming across loads of great sculptors by attending talks at the RBS (Royal British Society of Sculptors) and at joint exhibitions and through social media (especially twitter @garyscottartist) etc etc and it was a great opportunity to get to know these guys even better!

Laurence Edwards FRBS

Laurence Edwards FRBS

Seeing great art at exhibitions at the RA, Tate or wherever is important – but there is something extra special about the company of other artists.  I can’t articulate exactly why but they are for me a special bunch and are best encountered first hand.  If this can be at their studio then even better – there is something intimate and therefore especially revealing about an artist’s productive space.

Above is Charles Hadcock FRBS (http://www.charleshadcock.com/) pictured at his London Show last Autumn and right Laurence Edwards FRBS (http://rbs.org.uk/artists/laurence-edwards) in the Suffolk Marshes immediately behind his foundry.  These guys have given the first two Lectures I have organised and they were brilliant – the feedback from SSS members and others was incredibly positive.

Laurence Edwards FRBS in his studio

Laurence Edwards FRBS in his studio

It’s easy for artists to get stuck in repeated patterns of production – and therefore really important for them to look within once in a while and to ask questions, to push their practice and move on to potentially richer ground.  Seeing inspirational talks is one way of catalysing this process.

Patricia Volk in her studio

Patricia Volk in her studio

The talks are held at Surrey University in Guildford – lovely modern lecture facilities with all the necessary technology to provide fantastic visuals and a great platform for the speakers.  Details of forthcoming talks are on SSS’s web site:- http://www.surreysculpture.org.uk/

In Patricia Volk's studio

In Patricia Volk’s studio

Next up we have Patricia Volk MRBS (http://www.patriciavolk.co.uk/) on 12th May and then Sam Shendi MRBS (http://www.samshendi.co.uk/) in November – details soon.

The Bench by Sam Shendi MRBS

The Bench by Sam Shendi MRBS

 

 

 

I’m speaking to some great names for next season’s programme, so keep in touch!

 

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Flux Art Fair and Royal Society of Artists

 

I’m really excited about this new Art Fair called FLUX as it’s been very carefully and thoughtfully selected for with a good number of the best emerging talent around – and yes I know I would say that but take a look for yourself!

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Also I’m delighted to announce that Black Widow has been pre-selected for The Royal Society of Artists’ show at Mall Galleries – this will be in March – details to follow if I make the final cut!

Black Widow

 

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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For the Love of Bronze

IMG_1928Little did I know, but I was in for a real treat on my last visit to Milwyn Fine Art Foundry.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll already know how much I love bronze, the alchemy of it and the ancient skills involved in the processes (previous blog posts are in the archives – Sep and Jul 2011).  But for all that, I had never witnessed an actual ‘pour’…

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The clue was the gentle roar emanating from the corner of the foundry and the flames rising up from the furnace.  I had only gone to check the metal work on my latest two commissions and to oversee patination so I was super excited when Alex mentioned that I might also get to witness the pour of his latest batch.

 

IMG_1954Every now and again Alex would pop across to cautiously drop another bronze ingot into the hungry flames.  They were now taking on an impressive green hue – I guess from the high copper content of the bronze…

Eventually, Alex declared that it was time to start suiting up – all manner of protection, from dark glasses through ear defenders and heavy overalls & gauntlets.

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Alex swung open the furnace and the workshop suddenly took on a menacing orange hue and the air temperature climbed noticeably – I stared into the crucible of palpably menacing molten bronze – now an incandescent bright orange.

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Before swinging out the crucible with the aid of an overhead gantry and pulleys, Alex ladled off impurities – he was then ready for the pour itself…

What really surprised me was just how liquid molten bronze is – I thought it might be like say syrup but in fact it was as viscous as water.

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The molten bronze is poured into the ceramic shell moulds which themselves are buried in a sand box with only the entry funnels showing.  Alex made it look easy as he dextrously wheeled the glowing crucible and poured the precious metal – without spilling a drop!

For more information on Milwyn, you can see their web site here; http://www.milwyn.co.uk/milwyn/Home.html

 

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Charles Hadcock FRBS Lecture

CHSketchingIrelandThis was my first outing as Surrey Sculpture Society’s ‘Education Co-ordinator’ and to be honest I was a little bit nervous in the lead up to it – wanting it all to be a success and all that…

I needn’t have worried of course, mainly because with my choice of speaker, I couldn’t have gone wrong.   Charles is an accomplished and engaging speaker and had prepared a fantastic visual presentation representing a canter through his stellar career – we were all thoroughly engaged from start to finish.charleshadcockmarketingimage

I first met Charles about 5 years ago when he presented at a ‘Sculpting a Living’ day at the RBS and was impressed then and more recently I saw his ‘Elements’ Show in the city, which was super impressive – the private view was like a ‘who’s who’ in the London scene.

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The appeal of his work, to me anyway, is that it’s ambitious and compelling and somehow succeeds in combining a blend of geometry and repetition with an intriguing organic quality.  Charles’ influences range from rock formations and geology through music and poetry and on to change over time.

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The fact that it is often on a truly monumental scale and is or has been in so many prestigious locations across the country and shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Antony Gormley, Anthony Caro and Lynn Chadwick makes for a heady mix!

Further details can be found on his web site http://www.charleshadcock.com/

For us folk nearer the beginning of their artistic journey, there is nothing better than hearing from stimulating artists – offering insights into how they operate, what inspires them, the challenges facing them and so on.  So it is just brilliant that sculptors like Charles are prepared to give their time…

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A couple of references from the evening intrigued me; one was that his tutor at the RA referred to his casting of found objects (polystyrene) as a ‘hand made – ready made’ – Charles saw the beauty in the form of the otherwise disposable ready made and wanted to preserve it in bronze forever – and amplify this by putting it on a plinth.  Ahead of his time I’d say.

Something which resonated with me is that Charles often refers back to older pieces when developing new – both in the making and conceptually – an artists journey could never be a straight line after all!  Oh and to be proud of being a ‘maker’ and not to be afraid to use the word ‘beautiful’ in referring to work…

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He also likes to leave a sculpture unfinished, to leave something for the eye of the viewer to complete – and nothing is ever perfectly symmetrical even if it may at first appear so – rather like nature itself.

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Back in Bed with Emin…

and a whole bunch of other amazing artists / designers including Terence Conran, Helaine Blumenfeld and Ivon Hitchins …

Please follow the link below if you would like to see the lots available in this on-line art auction for Bedales School’s new art complex.

A Benefit Auction ForBedales

Rupert Muldoon, River Avon/May/7pm, 2014 (detail)

A benefit auction supporting Bedales School, England, raising funds for a new Art Studio, a Design Workshop and to provide a full Arts Scholarship for talented students in their final years. The school would like to thank Old Bedalians, parents and patrons of the art world who have kindly supported this auction, which ends at 5pm EST/10pm GMT on 25th November 2014.

http://paddle8.com/auctions/bedales/

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Charles Hadcock FRBS lined up for the SSS Autumn Lecture!

In my capacity as Education Coordinator for Surrey Sculpture Society I have lined up the amazing sculptor Charles Hadcock.

His work is ambitious and compelling, it succeeds in combining a blend of geometry and repetition with an intriguing organic quality; he is also an engaging speaker so I am incredibly excited to be welcoming him to the Society’s lecture programme.

All welcome, non members only £3.

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