13.04.14 - Virgin Money London Marathon

Not connected to my teaching practice but a life achievement in itself. I took part in this years Virgin Money London Marathon running for Shelter. Fair to say nothing can prepare you for running a marathon, the day was an emotional experience and I successfully completed the run in 4hours 33minutes. If you would to support the work of Shelter please make a donation via my just giving page

07.04 - 10.04.14 - UAL Introduction to Printmaking @ Camberwell College of Arts

The first week of my Easter break was a long awaited trip over to Camberwell College to spend the next 4 days with a specialist tutor and working practitioner on uncovering various printmaking techniques and developing my prior knowledge. Although I teach Printmaking to my Foundation students my knowledge has been developed through self taught purposes and the aid a books, trials and some coordinator support. 

I wanted to really dig deep in trialing the many processes this course had to offer including Lithography, relief, Etching and mono. The course spread over 4 days focusing on one technique per day delivered by Brian Hodgson, a professional and highly enthusiastic print maker and part time lecturer who had been producing solo work and collaborations for years. each process was discussed in high detail and where applicable footnotes with health and safety / chemical timings and quantities were issued. apart form that it was purely practical and a great way to just learn by doing. I had gained such a large interest in printmaking since working within the creative arts that to spend this duration of time being taught was a great experience that has excelled my interest in printmaking even more. 

The course was taken up as part of my CPD program where I could then reflect and bring what was delivered into my own teaching, not only will that happen; and I have considered all the possibilities and ways of delivering print next year, but also it has changed my opinion in regards to an MA qualification and perhaps pursuing print at this level as oppose to Graphic Design which was my initial thought. 

Below is a selection of photos of both the technical area that makes Camberwell so infamous for its printmaking facilities and also a collection of the outcomes produced by myself. I decided to keep my imagery the same throughout the duration of the course so that I could analyze the various outcomes once completed.

19.03.14 - "Capture/ Einfengen" Foundation Diploma Show

The recent exhibition from the foundation diploma students was off the back of their half term trip to Berlin. Those who did not attend were advised to investigate non-commercial London and find something that ultimately captured them. This was the starting point for the next 4 weeks.

“Inspired by the diverse challenges, possibilities and idiosyncrasies posed by two of Europe’s cultural capitals, Berlin and London, the students from the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design have set out to search, to explore, to investigate, to question, to capture…

In a way that a computer screen can never hope to, layers of history can be absorbed and later refined into something new. Both capitals hold the scars of which can still be seen and touched, making todays visitors still aware of their history. What remains clear when visiting Berlin in particular is the strength of the human spirit and it’s ability to bounce back and rebuild from the wreckage. A sombre and emotional visit to many of Berlins landmarks allowed students to learn more about one the darkest chapters of recent history. It also encouraged insightful questioning, reflection and a desire to learn more. Both trips also enabled students to obtain a greater comprehension of the evolution of both design and the teachings of art, by visiting a selection of traditional and contemporary museums and galleries. At the core of our foundation philosophy is the necessity to question, make and reflect. We encourage an environment of productivity without the fear of getting it right straight away or having to plan every minute detail before a piece has been made. Capture / Einfengen showcases the refinement of explorations from these two great cities and provides foundation students with a final testing ground before embarking on their final major project.”

Below is a selection of work exhibited, all influenced by various starting points and developed in a multitude of different materials and media. 

17.02 - 18.02.14 - CPD Workshops

Over the last month the Art and Design department decided to host a series of creative development workshops where by staff could attend multiple sessions exploring various skills, techniques and equipment to expand their current skillet. These were delivered by the co-coordinators within our department who had agreed to put on some morning workshops. I attended Lazer cutting and 3D Scanning and Printing. I was interested in these particular pieces of equipment having the department purchasing both last year and not really having access to them until now. Lazer cutting has become a phenomenal piece of equipment to support model making, printmaking and packaging.

 Set-up is incredibly simple using adobe illustrator and the machine itself is extremely easy to use with low maintenance and a whole host of different materials that can be etched or cut to tailor your design. 3D printing is a technology that I am fairly new to, that I had only really seen on art blogs until a recent micro exhibition I visited at the science museum. The 3D printer allows users to print a polymer plastic in a variety of colours piped like toothpaste to replicate a 3D object. Both workshops demonstrated the machines features, how to set-up files and I walked away with a miniature outcome from both, demonstrating my professional practice and new found knowledge.

It was great to have these workshops embedded within our department and for staff to get hands on with machinery and specialist equipment that is mainly controlled by the coordinators. I have already considered ways in which both can be brought into next academic year not only through the induction process but also into tailored projects and potential avenues for outcomes.

Examples of 3D printing and Lazer cutting

13.03.14 - Wind, Rain or Shine

Over the last few weeks I have been working with the 1st year Graphic Design degree students on their new brief entitled "alternative media". The overarching theme is working with the Beaufort scale and the forecasting system that is documented online and over BBC Radio 4 with its ever entertaining transcriptions of sea and wind levels. As the students have to consider use of alternative and unprecedented methods in which to visualize this system, they have been banned from using visual imagery the depicts boats, seas and suns. 

As a experiment I wanted to see how the designers would respond to more of a 3d-2d project encouraging making then documenting their outcomes. The task was based upon Richard Serra's "verb Sculptures" and allowed freedom as to how each student would interpret the selected verbs. Each student was asked to identify up to 50 verbs as a starting point and share these throughout the group, they then went onto to select what verbs simultaneously worked with the descriptions or visual analysis they depicted themselves from considering the Beaufort number they were responding to. This then led onto the creation of a sculpture produced entirely from paper that was then illustrated in their sketchbooks at multiple view points. 

This was part 1 of a two week workshop that would then later see these drawings digitally replicated and modified as to give them a potential outcome that would fit the nature of the brief. Some struggled, some engaged, and some excelled.

10.03.14 - Sound of the week

It seems to be that time of the year where the sun is starting to show its face and a slight relaxed mood begins as Easter is nearly upon us. This weeks sound has to be the incredible Duke Dumont with his "I got U" that has steamed Clubs, radios and everyone's Ipods by storm.

07.03.14 - "This is Graphic Design"

"This is Graphic Design" is the upcoming show featuring a range of work from year 2 level 3 extended diploma Graphic design students, a group that I have been covering this academic year. The exhibition is split into two parts featuring work from their recent Paul Smith exhibition  that works on the promotion of his recent retrospective at the design museum and their previous Tachen book project that explored themes such as portraits, exploring London, typography and toys. 

These students have been working incredibly hard and with this being their first ever public exhibition they wanted to make a mark within the College campus gallery. It is fair to say that the exhibition truly supported their personalities with colour, scale and some really interesting design solutions to the projects. Some very articulate and professional work had been produced on both projects, that in m own opinion would give some of the BA degree students a run for their money. 

With the Final Major Project soon to be underway, this exhibition has hopefully now given the group some confidence and a huge boost in the right direction for what so many of the individuals can achieve going onto degrees next year.

05.03.14 - West Suffolk College Visit

Back in January at the university of Arts London conference I was sat next to the head of school and Foundation Diploma lecturer Derek Johnson based at West Suffolk College. Throughout the day we found ourselves discussing current issues we both shared with our current foundation models and environments in which we work in. We deiced that as part of our sharing good practice scheme we would visit each others institutions and tour the facilities as well a meet with the students to enable professional reflection upon what/how we were doing. The visit was a great opportunity to see how another college was delivering the Foundation Diploma, the spaces and facilitates and the type of work being produced on site. West Suffolk College is not within my own catchment area so there was no real issue with competition and "taking ideas". 

Having worked on the Foundation Diploma for a few years now it was interesting to see the different formats and the way in which work was carried out and projects completed. I personally felt there was more of a traditional quality with Derek's students comprising of drawing and illustration, as oppose to maybe the more computer/printmaking folios that my own students have. During the afternoon, there was an opportunity to join in with a final major project critique where the students were to discuss initial ideas before the Easter breaks, this was great to be part of; as my students had not started this final phase of the course. Plans for Derek to visit South Essex College have been arranged for the end of the month.

14.02 - 18.02.14 - Foundation Diploma Visit Berlin

An educational trip was in order this year with the Foundation Diploma students and where best to take them than a place that holds countless interventions of culture, historical outbursts, brutal architecture sweeping through the landscape, creating an entire environment in 50 shades of concrete. Yes, Berlin was to be our destination and was the basis for their upcoming project entitled "Capture". The trip comprised of a heavy itinerary visiting some of the most iconic spots the City had to offer. As a degree student myself, I visited Berlin back in 2007 and worked on a public landscape project in the area of Alexander platz, I found it exciting to have the opportunity to revisit some of the galleries and museums that perhaps as a student I didn't fully integrate and reflect upon. 

The trip started with a visit to the Berlinische Galerie just outside the Potsdamer Platz area. The main exhibition was a retrospective of Franz Ackermann, and his over sized mixed media work that scaled the walls of the 3 story void. The rest of the gallery wasn't neglected either with a high volume of different artworks on show with a multitude of subjects discussed. 

We then moved towards the infamous Jewish Museum, a building known for its architectural form designed by architect Daniel Libeskind that splices through the terrain, with shards and split openings posing questions and feelings of depression before entering the complex. As a former architect student I have visited many spaces and buildings that are impressive in form, status and are forever remembered, but none come to close to the emotion evoked when walking around this complex, the way the space moves you closer than ever into the devastation that commenced is supernatural. It was impressive to say the least at how mature the students took on board the information and how they started to realize the in depth nature of those past events. 

We also booked ourselves into a guided tour of the Bauhaus archives, a place that many of the students as well as lecturers had waited to visit with the close connections of this design movement and school system that was the underlining model for the Foundation Diploma course that we teach on now. The tour took us through the entire collection studying the school itself and those working in and around the fabric of architecture, arts and crafts with iconic products and furniture that still holds a key within contemporary furniture design to date, and then back into the school system looking at the way in that experimentation was the ultimate key to uncovering and learning. Personally I felt this was a huge benefit to the students giving them clarification into what their subject is about, why it is that we teach in a exploratory and experimental manor and how their subject has evolved. 

The last day was a send off with no smiles as we took the train out to the west to the very last station to visit the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. An ultimate shift in emotion unlike anything that you could personally describe or talk to someone about. even reflecting upon the visit and looking at the photographs doesn't come close to the atmosphere you face when you walk through those gates. For me I feel the trip was of high success with students gaining wider knowledge of culture, creative context and the experience of visiting some of these iconic places that inform you on so many levels. I am very much looking forward to seeing how this trip has now informed the students on a creative level and what they will take forward as a primary source to work on throughout the duration of their "capture project"