Our recent competition to win a place on a masterclass workshop with celebrated sculptor, Brian Fell, proved to be a huge success.
We saw a great response with dozens of fantastic entries, which made Brian’s job a tough one when it came to judging. But one entry stood out above all the others, and that was our winner, Jessica Alice Smith.
Brian said of her submission: “Jessica had the strongest application and we felt she would benefit the most from the course”. Here’s her entry that caught Brian’s eye:
My current practice works with themes of balance and fragility; primarily playing with the idea of building up each side of the structure to the pivotal point before it collapses. By doing this I am able to capture the greatest level of tension between the structure and its material.
Though the majority of my work utilises natural and found material, I would love the opportunity to expand this further. The metal workshop would give me the tools needed to push my structures further than ever before, and the opportunity to experiment with heavier, more durable material.
Her prize was a place on the Midsummer Metal workshop that Brian and fellow sculptor, Owen Cunningham, ran in conjunction with Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Here’s what she said of her experience:
“At the beginning of the course, Brian and Owen ran through all the equipment and showed us how to use each piece. After this, we were shown in groups of three how to weld, including each having a go at welding a straight non-bubbly line.
“The rest of the course was quite self-led. We were provided with all the materials we needed and were given the opportunity to experiment with any ideas or designs we wanted to pursue.
“Both Brian and Owen were really helpful with any questions, and stepped in to show me in more detail how to use the equipment when I needed it. In particular, I was given an extra demonstration on how to use the plasma cutter. I really enjoyed this tool and used it both to cut layers of metal into mountainous shapes for my landscapes, and also as a drawing tool”.
Watch this space to see how this star of tomorrow progresses in her work.
To see all the amazing submissions we received as part of our Student Sculptors Competition head to our Facebook page.
The British music festival season may now be over for this year but the 5th October sees the return of the annual Glastonbury ticket sale for next year’s event.
Last year over a million people applied for 150,000 tickets which sold out in record-breaking time. Dolly Parton, Kasabian and Metallica all took to the Pyramid Stage during the summer and it would be no surprise to see a greater demand for the event in 2015.
For those who haven’t witnessed Glastonbury Festival first-hand, one of the most spectacular aspects of the site is the area hosted by Arcadia. The Bristol-based company combine sculpture, lighting, special effects, music and pyrotechnics to create of the most extraordinary audio-visual experiences you will ever witness.
Created using welded metals from recycled military hardware, some of the world’s biggest DJ’s have played the spider-like stage and Metals4U spoke to directors Pip Rush and Bertie Cole regarding the process of sourcing the metals, the importance of recycling…and dancing policemen!
According to Pip and Bert, the creative process is very much a “chicken and egg” scenario were the materials they come across can often steer a creative idea in an all-together different route. Alongside the duo are a team of other creatives ranging from artists, technicians and performers (some from different companies) to feed into the process and make it what it is.
Experts such as Sir Henry Hot provide the know-how for the fifty-foot flames using computer-controlled techniques…and cause the ground to rumble! BlinkinLAB create the most incredible UV video mapping content for the spider legs, whilst overall the collaboration between the different disciplines is seamless.
Arcadia use a variety of materials to create their stages and these are all recycled parts from jet engines, helicopter blades through to customs & excise scanners.
“We go on a ‘scrap tour’ once a year, which consists of a UK wide motorbike journey taking pictures of everything we find that looks useful. Then we send a lorry round to pick up the good bits at the end (hoping they haven’t reached the crusher yet). We use a bit of everything… plastics, wood and all sorts of metals”
Material testing is a vital part of any engineering project and Arcadia are no different. Ensuring the materials are safe with structural integrity is essential and Bertie further explained the process:
“Arcadia work with structural engineers to assess the type of metal the structural components are made from and then use computer modelling to calculate the structural strength of the components assembled into complete structures.”
With upcoming events in Thailand and New Zealand, the crew at Arcadia are continuing to push boundaries and create new ideas for the future. When asked whether they had any future creations in the pipeline the duo stated: “Always… the world is full of scrap and we’re starting to travel further afield.”
Many well-known DJ’s have graced the Spider.
Mary Anne Hobbs, Fatboy Slim and Norman Jay MBE have all claimed that it is one of the best and most bizarre stages they have played, which hosts the finest Funktion One sound system in the world. Pip and Bert don’t have a favourite act but they have many stories to tell, with dancing policemen being a particular highlight.
“We had a couple of exited policemen climb on it for a dance once which was pretty funny…not sure if they still have a job though!”
The 2014 event saw Arcadia claim their very own area adjacent to The Park which attracted an estimated 70,000 people for the main acts. Alongside the Spider stage, Arcadia built on their creative recycling ethos with a number of interactive structures in the Mechanical Playground.
Developed by American sculpture and artist Christian Ristow, ‘The Hand of Man’ is a 26-foot long interactive piece which is capable of picking up old cars and crushing them. Operated by a cyborg-like hand glove, the creation is open to the public and is one of the many mind-blowing creations which take the evolving world of creative recycling to a whole new level.