Thursday, 22 October 2015

Student Voice: Tasha Does Trips

Natassja Barker is an exemplary student whose current interests are curving toward textiles and print. Her work is of excellent quality and her hopes are to go to university with the option of a year abroad. This is her first time blogging for the course and we asked her to discuss the trips we've been on so far. Watch Tasha's Art journey by following her instagram account: @natassjabarker 
As a student that studied Fine Art at A level, the Art Foundation course was an excellent opportunity for me. I enrolled for the course to further my experimental practice and better my existing skills with the aim to apply, fully prepared, for Fine Art at university. 


Within the first month of the course we have been on three trips organised by the Art department at college.  Upon arriving at Sheffield on the 1st October we were given the instruction to visit three galleries that exhibited work that was part of Sheffield’s ‘Going Public.  
Whilst there, I attended the Millennium gallery, The Graves Gallery, Sheffield Cathedral and the Site Gallery The City Wide exhibition brought together work from four European private collections. Each gallery approached presenting a collection in a different way, this was useful to me as an artist because our first brief was based around ‘collections’. It was interesting to see how each gallery was run and how their collections were curated within different gallery spaces. 

A detail of the immediately recognisable spoon sculpture in the foyer of Millenium Galleries


On the 2nd October we visited Lincoln and were given the instruction ‘to collect’. We attended a talk from Ashley Gallant, curator at the Usher Gallery, he explained to us his role as a curator, his previous educational background and how he became to be a curator. We were taken around a closed part of the gallery which was in between changing exhibitions, I found it interesting to examine the inner workings of a gallery and what goes on behind the scenes. In my opinion this was the most beneficial part of the trip, even though it did not relate to my work directly, it opened my eyes to curating as a career option after higher education.  


The most recent trip we attended was the Harley Gallery open studios day on the 7th October. Firstly, as a group, we visited the studios of Hope and Elvis run by Louise Presley. As an aspiring artist, I found listening to someone who runs a creative business inspiring in terms of how it is indeed possible to pursue a successful career in a creative subject. I was also stimulated by looking around real studios of artists in the real world outside of college. Whilst at the Harley Gallery, I also visited the studios of Phil Neal, a sculptor, and Natalie Harris, a jeweler. By conversing with both artists about different career and educational pathways it made me consider different options other than university after college such as apprenticeships and work experience. I think the aim of the trip was to make me think about my future in relation to what I would aspire to do after university – which it was successful in doing so – because of this, these kinds of trips are essential to an artist’s personal development, especially on the Art Foundation course. 

Phil Neal
Natalie Harris 
Overall I believe visiting galleries, open studios and artist talks are essential in terms of understanding how art takes form in the real world. From learning how art is organised within a gallery through to understanding art as a means of business, it is important to visit galleries not only for the above, but because they provide a great source of inspiration for individual practice. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Foundations of Art Foundation

This evening is John Leggott College's Open Evening. We have been chatting to people about our Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media.

"What IS Art Foundation?!" 

Has been the main question we've been asked today. In this post, we are hoping to answer that question as simply as we can.

It's a place to discover who you are as a creative individual, after you've completed your A-Levels. An Art Foundation is typically a full-time, year long course for people who are hoping to go on to study an art subject at University.

Here at John Leggott, you attend the studios Monday-Friday 9am until 4pm and are expected to be studying and creating work during this time, either in tutor-lead workshops or independently.

Taken from our website, below is a further description of what to expect:

You will gain an insight into the specialist disciplines that exist in art and design. The programme is usually aimed at students who have completed a Level 3 qualification, who wish to define a subject specialism area of study and explore a range of areas (eg painting, drawing, life drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, graphic design, 3D Design and textiles) before deciding upon a pathway specialism.
Encouraging you to think critically, you will become ideas focused and develop creative approaches to problem solving through meaningful experimentation and lateral thinking. The course’s attention to drawing as a key skill for artists and designers will aid this development.  
Our team of experienced and dynamic art and design professionals lead a range of diverse projects at the beginning of the course. As the course progresses the focus is on you as an independent and creative learner. Your award will be achieved at the end of the course as a result of a project you will invent and execute.

So? The future. University and beyond? 

Not always. Some students who study Art Foundation are doing so to build an artist portfolio for going on to be an apprentice, or to use in the future after a gap year. Luckily, here at John Leggott, we are very focused on the future destinations of our students and believe in "the bigger picture" of education. We have a department who specialise in destinations and create links locally and nationally for our students to explore. In the Creative Arts department, we continually build links across the country to art industries, exposing students to the possibilities of their creative future opportunities.

The last two weeks our students have visited two cities and an arts venue, to introduce them to their current brief as well as familiarising them with University cities and career pathways.

At The Harley Gallery and Studios, we met numerous arts workers who gave talks on professional practice. Louise Presley introduced students to Hope and Elvis who run workshops from their Harley Gallery studios. It's a diverse place where the students really had their eyes opened to the opportunities lying ahead.

leaflets taken from our Professional Practice trip to Harley Gallery and Studios, Nottinghamshire

While in Lincoln, students started their trip at The Collection and Usher Galleries, where we all met Ashley Gallant who spoke of his journey into his current role at The Collection. It was eye-opening to some of us to consider working with other people's work is an artform in itself; collecting, networking and curating exhibitions for the general public.

In Sheffield, students got to explore the brand new Going Public exhibition; a city-wide project taking over some of the main galleries and smaller exhibition spaces across Sheffield.

All these visits were designed to ensure students got the most out of each trip, with the vision of Art Foundation at their core; to introduce, nurture, enable and expose individuals to the possibilities of their creative futures.

But.... Uni?!

If University is your desired path, We will support you in your UCAS application and advise you throughout the application process to allow you to select the most appropriate BA course to back your ambitions. 

We have excellent links with universities, who we are in contact with to come and discuss options and portfolios with our current students. 

Past students have gone on to study a vast variety of creative courses at universities such as Central Saint Martins, Brighton, Falmouth, Nottingham Trent, Goldsmiths and Bristol. 

We have a 100% success rate, 100% pass rate and 330% of our students have achieved a Distinction in their year with us. 

We are the 5th best performing 6th form creative art department in the country and the best performing 6th form art department in Lincolnshire, meaning we have tonnes of experience, knowledge and reasons for you to come and study your Art Foundation here. 

What else?

We go on a city residential each year, designing the trip around major art exhibitions and events, as well as giving the students time to explore future opportunities such as universities in that city.

We have lots of upcoming artist talks, where artists have been chosen to fit specifically with the point of study, or to help improve portfolios, or to encourage particular individuals on their chosen pathways. These artist talks don't always feature on other Art Foundation course, so our students deem themselves very lucky to have direct contact with people making a living out of their talents and skills. Today we welcomed Jo Smith, a textile artist from Grimsby and we'll be writing a blog post specifically about her impact on the course, next week.

Be sure to stay in touch with us, so you can be aware of what an Art Foundation course can be for you. Follow us on instagram for daily updates from our students.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

From Fashioning Paper to Wabi Sabi

Fashioning Paper

Students have been busy over the last week or so, using paper to create garments, utilising all the paper engineering skills they've developed through their studio practice. 

There are now lots of detailed and intriguing paper structures dotted around our lovely studio!

Jake's fringed corset 
Hannah's armour-like shoulder and arm piece
Alex's spiky sleeves
Serena's gorgeous shift dress, decorated with napkins
Poppy, punching holes into her layered skirt

Lucy working on her floaty skirt that uses many paper weights for an interesting kinetic effect
The beginning of Carla's bow tie which attaches to a chest piece
Natassja's bodice, using loads of found papers. 
Chelsea's underwear masterpiece!

Since then, it's all gone a bit WABI SABI:

"Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete". It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence, specifically impermanence, the other two being suffering and emptiness or absence of self-nature." - for more info, click here

Working in the wabi-sabi style has really broadened visual understanding in the studio and we've gone from working only with white, to bursts of colour. 

The following images were taken after a working with Foundation Leader Letitia Thompson, who specialises in painting as her personal and professional art practice.

Chelsea and Hanna's work looks incredible together
Chelsea's multi-tonal paint study
Sara's sculptural paint study
Poppy's colour burst
Some unintentional but interesting compositions have appeared since we began wabi-sabi studies!
Wabi-sabi tape pile
Alex's masterpiece, carefully being looked after by the floor

Natassja's favourite of her wabi-sabi paint studies
Natassja's not-so-favourite of her wabi-sabi paint studies

Textiles and fashion tutors Rachel and Jo have been encouraging exploration of drawing with/in fabrics. Using the freehand emroidery technique on sewing machines and hand stitches, the workse below are the "in progress" shots.

Natassja recreated and layered up fabric leaves
Charlotte's background, developing a brickwork scene
Alex's gorgeous machine stitching
Chelsea's shoes in stitching, wabi-sabi style!

Sculpture work

Below, tutor Martin Fowler is delivering his specialism of sculpture and Fine Art, to instigate playing with clay as a medium, following the wabi-sabi aesthetics.

Follow our instagram account for more regular photos of the work we are making!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Exploring Paper

... into the deep end with Letitia's intense making brief: 

"Make 50 paper samples. 
  • must be 5x5cms 
  • must be white/neutral in colour only
  • should include a variety of papers (different weights, textures etc)
  • no computer generated imagery allowed
  • can use white paint
  • must experiment with texture"
Cue lots of stitching, folding, painting, binding, scratching, pricking, gluing, cutting and burning:

All this experimenting with the possibilities of paper helped out with the 10 maquettes required to accompany the growing piles of 50 samples:

Onto a "drawing with paper" task presented by tutor, Martin Fowler:

"Go find an object from outside and recreate it, using paper"

Through the week various tutors have been encouraging everyone to use their paper explorations as inspiration and a source of further work. 

Using large scale drawing and painting techniques, as well as basic lighting and photography skills, the group have been decorating the studio walls with some interesting artworks:

Why not follow our Instagram account for regular updates and progress of the students' work? Find us