Friday, 20 May 2011

Contemporary Applied Arts exhibition at Parndon Mill, Harlow

We had a very interesting day setting up our exhibition at Parndon Mill yesterday.  All the second year full time students from the CAA course created an exhibition of their end-of-year pieces.  This comprised textiles, ceramics, jewellery, and glass.  It took much longer to stage than I expected - ie all day. 

I find attention to detail very difficult, but staging the exhibition was a good learning experience.  I was attaching the name labels and artists statements to the wall with white blu-tack.  From this I learned - get the name and artist statement on the same piece of paper, then you don't have to space them quite so carefully .  And put them all on the same paper, same size font, same size label and it is much easier to get consistency, which looks so much more professional.  Also make sure everyone has clean hands!  By the end, there were a few finger marks on the walls and some of the labels had got a bit dog-eared. 

I also learned I need to spend more time understanding what to put in my artist statement.  My work tends to be very busy and high colour, but is actually about family, relationships, and conveying emotion through the portrayal of objects.  How to say this in 50 words?  Further thought required.

My work tends to be bright and busy, and this canvas was created by overlaying silkscreen prints of shapes of various camping cups, mounted on a stretcher 30" x 38", then hand stitched with one of Jim's cups.

As this was my first exhibition, I should have taken more notice when the private view took place, regarding which pieces of work received more attention.  Was it because of the placement of the work within the room, or the quality of concept or finish, whether wall mounted or on the staging in the centre of the room?  Most of the work was not priced (certainly  in my case because I did not think it would sell, I lacked knowledge/ confidence to price appropriately, I was aware of the faults in the printing ... I could go on ...).  However, one ceramic set sold within 2 hours of show opening.  In my opinion this piece was best in show, and as a person who knows nothing about ceramics, I thought it was underpriced for a set of 5 beautiful smoke fired ceramic vessels.  They were beautiful objects.

Something that I thought was really encouraging, was that at the private view that evening, quite a few of the students had 2 or 3 generations of their family come to see their work.  Parents, grandparents and siblings.  As a mature student, I don't have parents or grandparents any more (my school friends and I are at that stage in life!) and my husband is currently cycling across the USA.  I thought it was really good for the other students to have other people sufficiently interested in them and their work to come quite long way from University of Herts to Parndon Mill Harlow.   This sort of observation renews my faith in human nature.

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