The Drawn Exchange: A collaborative project

Alice Howard and Georgia Hunt

Falmouth School of Art student Alice Howard collaborated with her good friend and BA Photography student Georgia Hunt in the development of The Drawn Exchange, an art group involving residents at Abbeyfield Residential Home in Falmouth.

Georgia, a final year student of BA(Hons) Photography, had wanted to develop a photography workshop with residents after she discovered that some were creating beautiful artistic work in the privacy of their bedrooms. Georgia described as an immense privilege the access she gained to the private world of this community, but her plans soon broadened. She says, ‘The initial plan to begin a photography workshop was scuppered as I saw a greater need to encourage drawing, the most basic yet fundamental form of seeing. The purpose then shifted to center on relationship, the relationships between the residents and their relationship with drawing’. It was here that Alice became involved. A 3rd year student on BA(Hons) Drawing, Alice brought a love of literature and a foundational understanding of drawing, which underpinned the art group model, based on emotional awareness and creative freedom. Similar to the practice of Art Therapy, the emphasis lay in the process of making art. The success was in the quality of relationship as opposed to the final outcomes. The Drawn Exchange was born.

Each week the group got together around the living room table, with materials selected by the residents. The sessions began with an exercise to engage the emotional mind, to invite and express the unseen and then – responding to how they felt – they began to draw. Sometimes they worked with their non-dominant hand to activate the right hemisphere of the brain, to stimulate emotions, to open up a channel for feeling and to encourage emphasis away from the visual aesthetics of the drawing. Georgia says, ‘I think of it as preparing the ground  for further art making to occur, yet it was often the most profound. There is a raw and unknown quality that emerged through the drawings’.

The art group worked predominately from imagination and memory and the residents communicated their internal world, bringing a shift from emotional to physical. Georgia says, ‘The magic of drawing is that it has the capacity to bring to life those fading fragments of memory, unfolding like silent stories on paper’.

Alice introduced poetry into the group, to act as a catalyst for sparking memories and understanding feelings, which could then feed into drawings. Alice says, ‘In a number of sessions, we did collaborative drawings between two people. Starting from a poem enabled the drawer to delve deeper into their emotions sparked by that poem. The collaborative aspect meant that as the paper was turned and we each worked into the other’s drawing, it was no longer about responding to the poem but to the other persons drawing’. The drawing became a form of exchange.

The culmination of the project was a showcase of the work made and curated by the Abbeyfield Art Group.  The exhibition was shown in the communal areas at the Abbeyfield Residential home to the joy and acclaim of residents, students, and visitors. Georgia and Alice intend to explore the possibilities of continuing elsewhere the model they have developed here in Falmouth, following their graduation this summer.

 

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Falmouth School of Art Drawing Forum 2018

The Falmouth School of Art Drawing Forum 2018 posed the question ‘What Does Drawing Do?

It has been a long established assumption that drawing underpins most disciplines within the creative sector, but what drawing does, and how it functions for different practitioners, is probably an ever-changing and essential component.

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By asking a series of speakers to talk about what drawing does for them, this forum hoped to develop a better understanding of the possibilities and functions of drawing. As well as Falmouth-based researchers, the event welcomed guest speakers of national and international standing, including:

Storyboard Artist Jay Clarke worked on the Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit & the Curse of the WereRabbit and other projects with Aardman and was lead storyboard artist for The Grand Budapest Hotel, which won Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Production Design. He is currently storyboarding Universal’s The Voyage of Dr Dolittle and creating an illustrated children’s novel.

Multi-disciplinary artist Solveig Settemsdal lives and works in London and Bristol; she won the Jerwood Drawing Prize for her video work Singularity in 2016.

Ed Eva and George Baldwin formed the drawing research partnership eegb after graduating from Falmouth’s BA(Hons) Drawing in 2014. eegb’s practice lies at the intersection of drawing and technology; they build machines that draw, have been awarded a number of residencies and grants and have exhibited in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the USA.

This video shares sections of the eight short talks on how drawing is used in contemporary creative practice:

 

 

 

BA(Hons) Drawing Students: Field Trip to Coverack

Artist Peter Mathews joined a group of BA Hons Drawing students for a three day field trip to Coverack in early March.

Photo: Emma Edwoods

Coverack is a small fishing village on the south coast of the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall and is surrounded by a geologically rich and diverse coastline. The village provided the perfect location for a series of drawings that responded to the dramatically changing weather that the students experienced during their stay – including warm sunshine that glistened off the water to huge crashing waves that gave everyone a good soaking.

The students had exclusive use of the local youth hostel which proved to be a welcome sanctuary to eat and shelter together, discussing and sharing their work and experience with Peter and their resident tutors.

Photo: Emma Edwoods

 

As the wind gusted in off the sea outside the hostel windows, evenings were spent cooking together, eating a lot, playing games, and even more drawing.

All photos by Emma Edwoods

 

Falmouth School of Art Summer Intensives: 9-13 July 2018

Falmouth School of Art will again this summer be running its popular five-day Intensives delivered by specialist tutors. Intensive courses in Abstract Painting, Drawing and The Figure offer practicing visual artists and art educators the opportunity to immerse themselves in their work with daily guidance and input from the School’s expert tutors, including some of Cornwall’s leading artists.

 

Participants take part in studio tutorials, group discussions and practical sessions, working alongside other practitioners in well-appointed studios in the subtropical garden setting of Falmouth Campus. Nearby are Falmouth’s vibrant town centre and glorious beaches; our participants tell us that we offer the ideal place for concentrated creative activity.

 

 

Dr. Ginny Button, Director of Falmouth School of Art, comments: ‘Our students benefit from our unique mix of beautiful location, great facilities, inspiring legacy, pedagogic excellence and friendly, supportive atmosphere. We’re delighted in the summer to open up our facilities and offer our teaching expertise to artists and creative practitioners who want to further develop their work and their professional networks too.’

Previous Intensives participants’ testimonials:

“The course was perfect – very well planned and organised with good mixture of presentations, tutorials, studio development and opportunity for socialising”.

“…the best thing I have done for years: It was like a creative vitamin injection. My practice travelled a very long way in a short space of time.”

“The opportunity to take time out from a busy teaching schedule to focus on producing my own work was energising and inspiring…the course has enriched me on both a personal and professional level, giving me ideas for teaching at sixth form.”

“I loved the studio space and the time spent contemplating work with no distractions…There was a great balance of tutorials and time to work. Met some great fellow artists, there was a great buzz of creativity.”

The deadline for applications is 5th May. For more information and how to apply, please visit:  www.falmouth.ac.uk/fsaintensives

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Shelterbox exhibition by BA(Hons) Drawing Students

BA(Hons) Drawing students from all years are exhibiting work during February and March in the Shelterbox Visitor Centre, Truro.

Course Coordinator & Senior lecturer Isolde Pullum says, ‘The students were very moved by their recent visit to Shelterbox. I think it really hit home to many of them the importance of an immediate response to an emergency situation. The idea to make drawings that could raise money came from them, and the theme of Temporary Housing seemed broad enough to encompass a range of different approaches and ideas.’


‘Also in the exhibition are The History Box drawings, which aim to capture the passage of time by including elements of change and movement within the same drawing. A drawing, unlike a photograph, has the potential to encompass time passing by the artist’s reaction to changes. The staff and students really welcome this opportunity to work with Shelterbox and hope it can be the start an ongoing relationship.’

 

All the drawings on display can be bought, some for as little as £10 each, with all the proceeds going to ShelterBox.  Visitor Experience Assistant Ellie Howell-Round says, ‘This is very generous of the Drawing students, and the artworks are fascinating and thought-provoking. Everyone can empathise with the people that ShelterBox helps, as we all fear extreme weather and appreciate the importance of safety and shelter.’

Last chance to see…at Imagine Falmouth

Beth Garnett, alumna of MA Illustration: Authorial Practice, is currently showing a collage – From the Headland at Mawnan I – as part of Falmouth Art Gallery’s Imagine Falmouth exhibition until this Saturday. The piece was produced during Beth’s participation in Falmouth School of Art’s Observational Drawing Intensive last July.

Beth Garnett, From The Headland At Mawnan I, 2017, Collage

After the success of Falmouth Art Gallery’s inaugural submissions show last year, ‘Imagine Falmouth’ has grown in scale, and is now a bi-annual exhibition and arts prize. The gallery invite emerging and established artists from across the county to submit their work. With no theme and no restriction on medium, the exhibition has reflected the very best of Cornish art today. The exhibition, which opened in November, closes on Saturday 20 January.

Falmouth School of Art Intensives offer a selection of 5-day courses for artists and art educators, all taking place in the studios and grounds of Falmouth Campus, and the surrounding area. Of her experience at last summer’s Intensive, Beth says, ‘The course was a really great timeout from real life to get back to drawing again, in beautiful surroundings. The tutors were supportive and offered really practical advice. The group size wasn’t too big and we had a lot of fun. I was able to find new directions for my work and new ideas for my process which has really refreshed my practice. I’m am sure will continue to impact on my drawing work for a long time to come’.

for 2018, Falmouth School of Art will run three Intensives; in Drawing, Abstract Painting and The Figure. Course descriptors will soon be available online, at www.falmouth.ac.uk/fsaintensives, where you can also find images from previous intensives, terms and conditions and a short application form.

First Year BA(Hons) Drawing – A Pop Up Exhibition.

The first year BA(Hons) Drawing students transformed their studio to create a pop up exhibition, curated by John Howard, Associate Lecturer. The exhibition was held in the drawing studios and featured over 100 drawings from the students’ first term of work and covered a wide range of subjects and artistic techniques.

The students worked together to prepare the space for the exhibition. First year student Maria Meekings felt that this process shifted the collective vision from viewing their work as practice pieces, to viewing the pieces in their own right and she was excited to get feedback on her work. “Being able to present work to fellow practitioners and the wider public is gratifying in that it helps you understand that as an artist you are part of a community and that your work exists in a context of both other pieces of art and as something which others can take pleasure or interest in, and not merely as art for its own sake.”

The exhibition also prompted discussion among the students about what they had learnt during this first term of immersion, their response to each-others’ pieces and the aspects of the course that they had most enjoyed so far. Maria says “Being able to explore a variety of techniques and viewpoints has been quite fascinating and useful I feel to understand myself as an artist and the work I want to produce. I think that the understanding in many ways is just as important as the work I’ve produced, if not more, as that is part of my future while each piece finished is automatically assigned to my past.

Reflecting on the process of drawing, Senior Lecturer Peter Skerrett considers that it can be a very introspective activity. “Having the opportunity to share this practice with a wider audience enables the students to see their work from a critical distance, almost like encountering it for the first time. This increases their ability to understand their own and their colleagues work from a more critical and reflective viewpoint.”

Isolde Pullum, Course Coordinator for BA(Hons) Drawing, was impressed with the students’ professional manner and the way in which they worked together to put the show up in a very short space of time. She was also delighted with the quality of the drawings produced so early in the course, during which time they have created work on location during study visits to Tresco on the Isles of Scilly, The National Trust’s Trelissick, Trebah Garden and Paradise Park wildlife sanctuary. They also visited ShelterBox in Truro to prepare for an upcoming project for next term.

There will be more opportunities for the students to develop their professional practice and to exhibit their work, as future exhibitions are planned for the Fox Café on the Falmouth Campus.

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