We held our second Summer Arts Festival at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College where I work, over the weekend. It was great fun with lots of different activities ranging from printmaking, pinhole photography, pottery demonstrations, badge-making, origami, textiles, portrait drawing, and textiles. This was held all alongside different exhibitions and stalls by professional artists and craftspeople as well as our annual exhibition of student work. I must say the standard of student work was really strong this year, and I felt very inspired by all sorts of different things but in particular by some of the printmaking on display such as this small collagraph portrait.
My personal highlight of the weekend was the Student Fashion show on Sunday afternoon. It was great to see such imaginative and creative costumes made by the students studying Textiles under the guidance of Sally Cartwright our excellent Textiles lecturer (or Genius and Master Weaver as she is known in the office!). The girls looked so glamorous as they paraded around the catwalk/college gardens, and were obviously loving the attention. It was wonderful.
Ceramicist Serge Sangheera who I have previously mentioned in relation to our Christmas Art Fair was also there, and gave some excellent performances on both days. I love his ceramic vessels. Since buying one of his pieces at the last fair it has become one of my favourite things at home. Here’s an excellent photograph of Serge in action with his samurai sword taken by my JCC colleague, Danny Pardoe. Danny took most of these photos.
Here is a photograph of yours truly with Safeera Hickson, in front of one of my recent paintings in which she is the subject. She has been a lovely student to work with and her work won the ‘Best In Show’ category in our end of year exhibition. Safeera will be studying a BA (Hons) in Photography at Coventry University next year.
I found myself buying a couple of pieces over the weekend too. I bought a lovely collection of framed animal badges by my illustrator friend, Chris Cowdrill for my son, Isaac’s room. I also bought a drawing in oil sticks of the Catalonia landscape in Spain from my friend Marian Edwards. This was part of a series she completed in 2007 and are rooted in her experience of having lost most of her sight five years ago as a side effect of her MS. Below is a photograph of some of her drawings and a statement explaining the work and her experience of sight loss. I used to work with Marian and she has been a big influence in my life, especially in my appreciation of art.
Once lost, sight, seems a faculty miraculous and precious. Drawing has helped me to ‘record’ what I can now only barely see. It gives form to a fleeting, visual experience which is all the more illusive when sight is seriously impaired.
To learn to draw is to learn to look and drawing has helped me recover some of the disorientation sight loss presents. ‘Oil sticks’ provide an instant medium alongside graphite, charcoal and watercolour.
Well, as you can see it was a pretty action packed weekend! And this is a pretty action packed blog. It was a great event for kids, and here’s a nice drawing to sign off on made by my friend and Head of Department, Pat’s daughter, Jasmin, that shows Pat, myself and Chris all working hard… Sorry for the lame title of this blog- I just couldn’t think of anything smarter!