The Royal Mint Experience

Today I visited the Royal mint experience mainly out of curiosity, the Royal Mint is close to where I live and I knew that’s where they made the money but never truly knew what was going on in that place, it was a mysterious building covered in cameras and barbed wire. After visiting today I was in awe of the place, and the processes that took place there.

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We took a tour of the factory where the money is being produced followed then by an exhibition of the history and future. Firstly we had a tour of the factory where the heavy (and loud) machinery would cut/mould/press the metals to make the money. The process all starts with the mixture of metals (to get the perfect recipe), they are then fired in a furnace to make smelt and pour the molten metal. The metal is then pressed to thin out and make an even surface. A layer is cut of the top to remove impurities and then get threaded into another machine which is a giant hole punch and punches out 10,000 blanks a minute. 80% of the blanks are then transported to other countries for their currency whereas 20% remain to be made into UK currency. The blanks are then washed in acid to clean the metals. They then get sorted into another big machine which is called a rimmer, which creates the rim on the coins so they are able to stack and have an edge. The ridged coin then gets fed through another machine similar to the rimmer but this one press words onto the sides of the coin. Afterwards the blank gets fed into the striking machine where a decorated die will be pressed onto the black making into a coin.

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The whole process is very quick and has now been perfected by the royal mint. That’s only the making, the designing what was interesting to me because they start with a sketch the they etch it into plaster or clay and the a machine digitally scans the surface where they can then edit and improve the blemishes. The ideas and developments need to be approved by higher authority before getting to be made in to dies and pressed. I would have loved to have seen this whilst doing BAMS it is truly inspiring.

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Here are a few of my favourite coins/medals from the exhibition, and bellow is the link to their website.

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http://www.royalmint.com/en/the-royal-mint-experience

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2nd Local Gallery Visit : Kingfisher Gallery, Cowbridge.

Today I visited the Kingfisher Gallery in Cowbridge. When I looked at this gallery online I wasnt too sure if it would be a good place to research artists but to my surprise I found lots of artists I could relate to and who I found that sparked my interest. The first artist who I found that intrigued me was an artist called Stella Parslow. I found the use of mixed media to be interesting. At first glance it looked like acrylic painted with a piece of pewter on the surface. I loved the use of mixed media. I like the communication of the rough texture of the acrylic against the smooth fluid like pewter. I would like to look into this artist further.

“Sunburst”
Original Painting CAT. STYLE Ref: MSDRS
Media: Acrylic and mixed media,3d
Mirrored Frame Recessed 59 x 48.5 cm (23 x 19 inches)
Mount Size: 51 x 40.5cm (20 x 16 inches)

The Next artist I found was Rozanne Bell. On the first appearance it seemed that the surface was coated in a resin which I found interesting as it shone and brought the colours to life even more. Here is a piece of her work called Harvest moon 3. I fell in love with her abstract skies and how the shiny resin surfaces brought them to life.

The work I was really drawn to and whom I would love to put in the portfolio was by an artist called Jay Nottingham. His work was abstracted but had a beautiful tonal aspect. I was draw to the, and there was many in the Gallery. Here is a similar painting I saw in the gallery from him. In the gallery there was a painting he created of southern down and it was mesmerizing as the texture of the waves looked like they were moving and crashing against the rocks. I would love to look at his work further.

Jay Nottingham. Original oils on canvas. British Artist, (b.1972) Bedfordshire.

Jay Nottingham, Original oil painting on panel, Poppy Cottage

I found an artist called Sue Howells who created work very similar to Elwyn Thomas (who I saw in Giles Gallery) in the way which they make the landscape look everlasting and very distant. I very much love that effect and the cuubist feel it gives off. This one is called ‘School the happiest days of your life’.

I then had a chat to the man who worked in the gallery and he asked me what work I make and he suggested I looked at the artist Robin Mullen who was an abstract artist. He then showed me his works and they were amazing. Just purely abstract I find beautiful and it was certainly my cup of tea. Here is an example of his work. This is Black hole  (130cm X 30 cm)( If you’ve ever searched for a thought provoking piece of artwork, ?black hole? could be the answer. In my mind?s eye. A painting which could absorb the viewer?s mind and take them to another place. The mysteries of the universe are so mind boggling that sometimes they are best put to one side. They do, however, have proof of the existence of black holes.)

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Here is a list of other artists I liked from the gallery were, Paul Gardener, Richard Cooper, Andrew Grant-Kurtis and Nick Potter.

1st Local Gallery Visit to Giles Gallery Pontyclun.

I first started at Giles Gallery, as this is the closest gallery to my home. This gallery is made up of mostly local artists within South Wales and including Beth Giles who is the artist that runs the shop. There were many things to catch my eye, lots of things handcrafted out of driftwood by Tony Giles, and illustrative prints all around but one thing that really caught my attention was a miniature row of houses crafted from wood. This sculpture had been made by Val and Steve Williams. The three houses stood in a row one separated by a garden and a small washing line made out of wire and scrap of fabric. The houses were not detailed but had a rustic feel to them. I loved them but I didn’t feel it could be suitable enough for my own folder.

I then came across another artist called Elwyn Thomas who lived locally in the Rhondda. I found his work to be incredible it captured the valleys perfectly. The medium he worked with is mostly acrylic, water colour and mixed media. I wrote down his name in my note book so I could research him later. Her is an example of his work. This piece is called ‘Rhondda Courting Couple’.

I loved the swirling shaped and the everlasting houses in the distance. I am not going to start my folder yet until I have visited all of the galleries I have listed even more.

Summer Project 2015

This project is intended to make you go and visit local galleries, design and craft fairs. The first thing I found myself doing was researching the actual meaning of ‘Contemporary Art’. I find this useful as it explains the meaning to be in a way which I understand as sometimes I get confused. I found the perfect meaning online.

Contemporary art: Contemporary art is the art of today, produced by artists who are living in the twenty-first century. Contemporary art provides an opportunity to reflect on contemporary society and the issues relevant to ourselves, and the world around us.

After knowing this I researched and wrote down names of some local galleries which I found to be interesting to look at. Here are the local ones I had listed:

  • Giles Gallery, Pontyclun
  • G39 Gallery, Oxford Street, Cardiff
  • Kingfisher Gallery, Cowbridge
  • Craft in the Bay, Cardiff Bay
  • Cardiff Museum and Gallery, Cardiff
  • Newport Museum and Gallery, Newport
  • Llantrisant Model house and Gallery, Llantrisant

I think these are a good starting point to go to and have a look around for artists and designers which I could relate to my work or whom I find to be an interesting subject to look at.

Summer Project Brief

As you prepare yourself for Level 5 and a more personal specialism – a summer project will help you align your thinking.

Summer Project:

1. To make a folder of 15 images, with text, that you can talk to in depth as to what is contemporary craft, contemporary design & contemporary art.

In your choice of chosen examples consider what you are responding to and why, and does it have a relationship to your own work, and how?

Are you looking at concepts, materials or function of the work?

Try to get your information first hand from going to museums, galleries and if possible craft fairs and design shows.

As well as identifying inspirational and innovative work in these areas – consider the showcasing of that work and where it is positioned. What is being used to showcase it and how is this effective and apt?

You may wish to focus on a single object or a series, an exhibition installation or performance but something from each discipline to interrogate further. Ask yourself a whole host of questions to include.

o Why has it been made?

o How has it been made?

o Who is it for?

o What is made of?

o What is it value? Both monetary as well as its status in the world.

o What is its function?

o Is this a one off, or part of a series or family of objects or work?

o What is its social, historic or political impact or importance?

2. Then to be able to contextualise where you may find or show work please research events such, as and be able to talk about, Collect, 100% Design and Tent as well as others. What makes these events important or significant? What do they present and to whom they are pitching, who is the audience? What are the purpose and the possible benefits of being involved in such events? Imagine you are showcasing at these events – what might you have to consider?

In your first tutorials back we would like to talk to you about your understanding of the potential avenues you might explore for your own work.

This year we will be looking at live briefs and competitions and opportunities to show your work – its all preparation for your life as a creative practitioner. This enquiry can also begin to inform your Field choices. Your Field modules are a great opportunity to make for a holistic experience in your second year rather than as something disparate or separate.

You have had a great first year and next year we have a full and challenging programme, with lots to look forward to – you will cover a lot of ground!

Have a great summer.

Exhibitions in London include:

http://www.timeout.com/london/art/top-10-art-exhibitions-in-London

Keep an eye out for local exhibitions as well as in London and revisit this website as things will change or come on board during the summer.

La Perdrix

Last week I went on a trip to La Perdrix in France, for a cultural and creative week. Here are some photographs of my work and the surrounding area. It was a very beautiful area and I went on to develop lots of knowledge with the ceramic materials and techniques. We were given two projects when we were over there and they were fun to do and the outcomes were great.

The first project was to create a table setting using inspiration from an artist in groups. In my group there was Alice, Gemma and Sarah.

We all had to create:-Canapé dish-Shot glass-drinking vessel-wine glass-starter dish-Mains Dish-Dessert dish- Also we had to cook the mains on the night relating to the artists inspiration. We all decided to look at Georgia O’Keeffe work as she was interesting to look at because of the combination of close up flowers and skulls with various shapes and colours. We started to draw out some possible ideas.

download images music-pink-and-blue-ii

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We were interested in the organic forms and the contrasting colours. For the first day we had to make some samples of what the end product could look like and here was my sample of what the drinking vessel could look like. Using clay I made a pinch pot and added skull like features on to the side of the vessel, I also added a spout on the back so it could make it easy pouring.

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Glass Outcomes

Here are some of  my outcomes when I used fritt. The outcomes were very delicate and broke very easily. With my triangle Martin advised me to put it in the kiln again but add a backing sheet of bullseye glass to fuse them together and the result worked well.

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Also my Butterfly plate went it the kiln for slumping and here is the result. I am very pleased and looks lovely in my home.

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