Initial group meet-ups
Welcoming in the new year we introduced our artists to our skilled practitioners. During each meeting, the excitement of the artists grew as they realised the potential of the project and its ability to influence their practice.
Newlyn Copper Work Day Trip
Jess and I travelled down to The Newlyn Copper Works to meet and discuss the project with the owner and skilled coppersmith, Michael Johnson. We were greeted by a very smiley man who immediately welcomed us into his amazing Copper Works! We were both reminded of how much we love visiting other people’s workshops. Michael’s is full of beautiful and quirky copper creations, antique copper furniture and lots and lots of hand tools.
After a short introduction and tour of some of his work, including a copper fountain which nearly took up the size of his entire workshop, we started to think about how to approach the project. It wasn’t too long before I was holding a hammer, and tapping copper into a new form. Already I was getting out of my comfort zone and the experience helped me to experiment and play with the material. When we had finished talking I was left thinking about which techniques of coppersmithing I would like to learn and which would most likely help towards my artwork, as like most skills the possibilities are vast!
Virtual meet up with Ed Wild and Danni Bradford
For ease, the introduction between Ed Wild and Danni Bradford was organised online via zoom. After introductions, Danni gave a quick lesson into the different types of gilding and the finishes they produce. After this, a date was organised for the first meet up in person, which happened last week. Jess caught up with Ed after this meeting and he could hardly contain his excitement. It is so wonderful to be able to run this project where such great craftspeople and artists are connected through their passions.
Visit to Sandy Browns’ Studio in Appledore
Jess, myself and Hester Berry met up with Sandy in her Appledore studio and Museum, on a sunny but fresh afternoon. We discussed the project sat around a gas heater, with hot drinks and surrounded by Sandy’s incredible clay sculptural pieces which have been made for her Earth Goddess Sculpture for St. Austell.
After Jess had enquired into the process of what would be made, Sandy was quick to make sure that Hester knew to come to the learning process with a clear mind and with no preconceptions of what to make. Sandy had also previously said to Hester that she could practice applying colour by decorating a cake, which resulted in Hester painting two Christmas cakes with food colouring. Hester found this process helpful and ended up with 2 Hester Berry original fine art cakes! A new side hustle for Hester if she ever felt inclined! All joking aside, the act of play and the impact it has on our creativity is immensely helpful and freeing. And this is precisely what Sandy wants Hester to experience.
The process of learning the skilled craft is going to be quite different for Hester compared to the other pairings. This is due to the immediacy of the tile making process and the fact that Hester will do all the learning and making in Sandy’s studio, rather than taking equipment and materials back to her workshop. Hester had some nervousness and hesitation about not being able to plan anything, but under the wing of Sandy and the many years of painting and drawing, she started to understand it will be something that she can accomplish and will inevitably influence her practice approach.