Sarah Kudirka was in residency with us in February. Read on to hear about her experience:
'The creative world I encountered at Project Ability is welcoming and industrious. I was made to feel very welcome and quickly found myself becoming industrious too. Each day that the studios are open lots of artists come in and get on with what they want to do, in a wide variety of media. I saw everyone absorbed in what they are making and it was wonderfully infectious. They are absorbed in making things but everyone is also happy to share and talk about what they are doing.
'I had wondered before starting the residency how I would feel about working without a door to close on my workspace, as I have always worked in isolation. Turns out I liked it a lot. The buzz of voices and other noises that come from a well-used physical production space (as opposed to an office full of people on screens) was kind of wonderful. I liked it when people were passing by and keen for me to go and see what they were making or had questions about what I was up to. It sounds a bit of a daft realisation but it is very different from (and so much better than) sharing my work on social media to have real people 'liking' and giving feedback live on what you are doing. I'll miss that!
I am new to Glasgow having moved here to live and work just last summer, so this residency came at an important time for me. I have made new friends at Project Ability, set off a strong series of work based on exploring my new home city and started to settle in as a professional artist in Scotland.
'To give some kind of structure to my residency I had set a target of 100 paintings on polaroids (painted and drawn over polaroid snaps of city skylines have been my project for the past 6 years) and also wanted to start some three larger canvases of similar proportions to polaroids too. I hit my 100 pictures target, which gave me a sense of satisfaction but I also took time to have lots of chats with the artists around me, think, walk to bits of the city I'd never seen before, and watch clouds out of the window - it's all research.
'Mental health and well-being for creative people are strongly tied to having the space and resources to create, explore and make stuff. We all have what's in our heads and stuff to deal with in our lives and I'm no stranger to anxiety. My hearing disability has never stopped me from asking questions and striving to understand to what others are saying. Inclusive arts facilities are so important.
I'm really glad to know the brilliant people I've met at Project Ability and intend to stay in touch.
I loved going in to the studios every day, got loads done and found it a totally positive experience.'
In the four weeks since their residency started, Cameron Morgan and Gregor Wright have been experimenting with drawing on different mediums, including tea towels.
"At the moment I’m trying to encourage some abstraction and the work we’re making just now is a sort of fusion of our response to neo-expressionism, familiar pop culture icons and ideas of craft and making." said Gregor.
"The tea towels seemed like a good thing to paint on because as a surface to work on they're similar to canvas, but as an object they’re quite humble and mundane. The idea came to me after Cameron and I were looking at the plate paintings of Julian Schnabel, which Cameron liked compared to some of the darker, more abstract painted works."
We're looking forward to seeing where this collaborative partnership takes them!
The two artists met up twice already, familiarising themselves with each other's work and discussing how their respective practices can feed this collaboration.
Cameron showed Gregor some of his work currently in our gallery and in our shop, and they then went to Wright's studio near Trongate 103.
We are very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the next ten weeks!
Our newest artist in residence started last Thursday, and has already settled perfectly in the studios. Previously based in London, Sarah Kudirka has recently moved to Glasgow, and is using the residency to further her cityscape polaroid project. A great way to discover a new city!
"I am working on a big series of paintings about walking and looking up at the sky squeezed in between tall buildings: a simple idea but a compelling project. Each image is made over a Polaroid snap I’ve taken in a city where I live, work or travel. Since starting this project in 2012 I’ve made hundreds of vivid images that have been recognised as “beautiful and accessible” and “highly innovative”.
Sarah aims to make 100 polaroid paintings of cityscapes from the city centre during her time at project Ability, as well as work on canvas. You can follow her progress on our residency instagram @PA_Research_Residency
For the past few months, Cameron Morgan and Glasgow-based artist Charlie Hammond have been meeting every week for their collaborative residency. The pair got to know each other's work and to create a series of prints inspired by Charlie's matchbox collection.
"I liked working with Charlie very, very much – he has a good sense of humour, is a lot of fun, and has a really good nature. I really enjoyed myself’ said Morgan.
The residency, which ended last week, resulted in an impressive body of work.
"Working together with Cameron has been a joy", Hammond said. "Like many good collaborations we started with no clear direction but found our way through action, the work itself the result of these ongoing and very natural conversations.
Cameron’s energy is infectious (though a few more tea breaks wouldn’t hurt!) and his ability to translate the essence of an object into a direct and playful drawing or ceramic allowed us to progress quickly, screen-printing layer upon layer and developing the works far beyond our initial thoughts.
Not only have we ended up with a great body of work but also a great friendship."
Cameron and Charlie's work will be on display in our gallery in a short exhibition in early April.
"My name is Drew Walker and here is a summary of my experience in Project Ability in January 2018.
My week-long short residency at Project Ability revealed to me a place where there was great respect and a dignified approach towards people working as artists with backgrounds of mental illness, learning difficulties or physical disabilities. However, these do not hinder or impact upon the creatively enriching experience, which exists within the shared working space of Project Ability, where the immense variety of talent and creative process surrounding me was amazing to witness.
I contributed to my short residency as an artist who experiences mental illness and a PhD researcher who is looking into art-process, mental illness and recovery. So, I divided my time to do the following:
1. To observe the working processes of the artists working in the Reconnect, Aspire and Create spaces and their engagement and interactions with staff and volunteers.
2. To understand what provision and structure was deployed in the delivery of activities.
3. To bring my own art practice into the Reconnect space, using a collaborative method of creativity.
I began my experience by observing, photographing and talking to staff, volunteers and artists. I had decided to create one of my ‘dead-wooded’ creatures, a staple symbol of my art practice and an integral part my process. The ‘dead-wooded’ stag represents my own recovery process from mental illness. As my art practice parallels and enriches my research, I wanted to share both aspects during my week. My goal was to create a portrait of Project Ability using the language of those in the Reconnect, Create and Aspire spaces.
Conversations occurred naturally whilst I was working and I decided to use some of those words and phrases, placing them on the sculpture of the stag. I wanted to reflect the artists’ thoughts as people, at the core of it all. The stag was painted white and the lettering in a variety of colours.
A few days into my residency, my dad who is my artistic collaborator and who accompanied me at Project Ability, spoke to me about the idea of accompanying the wooded stag with found material from Glasgow. Seizing upon this notion, we found two disused damaged yellow traffic cones in the nearby vicinity of the Glasgow Green. We painted them and transformed them into sculptural pieces to enhance and draw attention to the stag.
Making my art was only one part of the story during my residency, but it did provide the nexus for many insightful conversations and interactions with those who were curious about the stag. I immediately found a connection with the other artists and the staff in the space, feeling very welcome. I was greatly impressed by the sheer variety, resources and freedom found within Project Ability through the engaging activities of Aspire, Reconnect and Create. I understood that the space is a lifeline for some and a platform for every participant, by being together whilst creating art. I found the approach of valuing artists’ work, providing opportunities for exhibiting and potentially selling pieces to be crucial to the humane attitude in Project Ability. Here, the people are acknowledged as artists. They are not labels or categories of people with various diagnoses. The respect I noticed in the atmosphere showed that clearly.
I sincerely hope that in the future more places like Project Ability emerge, providing spaces for the therapeutic process of making art, whilst not being isolated or in a clinical setting. It’s a safe, friendly environment that puts the individual first. There should be a ‘Project Ability’ in every city and town. I know that had there been similar provision for me during my early stages of recovery. I would have greatly appreciated and benefited being in such a place.
Thank you to everybody in Project Ability for making my short residency so rich and inspiring. I would love to come back."
Last Thursday, former artist in residence James Jimbo came back to Project Ability to showcase the work he produced during his residency. Artists from Aspire and ReConnect came to engage with James and his work, and it was very interesting to see what inspired him during his time with us. The work was very well received and artists enjoyed the skills and playfulness in each drawing and painting.
‘Brilliant work – great colours’
-Edward Henry, Aspire
‘I liked the Elvis one and George Michael, I painted George Michael too, mine was much more colourful'
-Tommy Mason, Aspire
‘Refreshing to see work that’s been created a framework of joyfulness and freedom’
-Richie Davis, ReConnect
‘I really loved the use of line and for me being here in my first week of my residency, it couldn’t have come at a better time to see James work, someone so confident in their own practice – very inspiring’
-Emma Aitken, current artist in residence
Thank you, James Jimbo!
Today we welcome another new artist in residence to our busy studios: Emma Aitken, who will be working alongside our artists for the month of November. Emma was formerly a volunteer with Project Ability in our Create programme back in 2015, and has recently completed her Master’s Degree in Community Learning and Development.
‘After a 2 Year break from the studio, including a year being based in a library. I could not be more excited to be back in Project Ability with a chance to concentrate on my own practice! Already everyone has been so welcoming and inspiring – I can’t wait to see what comes out of the month ahead!’
We are all very excited to see what you do with your time with us too, Emma!
Charlie Hammond and Cameron Morgan have started their creative partnership a few weeks ago, and they are already experimenting with ideas and producing some work.
Hammond has a scrapbook showcasing the top of match books, each with its own design and imagery. The artists went on to make a stencil inspired by the match books, which will then be used to produce a print next week.
James Jimbo was our first artist in residence this year, when he spent the month of September in our studios, interacting with our artists and finding inspiration in their work. Here is what he had to say about his time at Project Ability:
"I've developed new ways of drawing for my armoury, directly based on diving into the blue boxes of Project Ability artists’ reference materials in the Aspire workshop. A series of works in pen on paper resulted from this, which were developed further into expanding the ways in which I draw by drawing with paint, combining images and using my own source material.
Looking at the artists in the studios and the way they draw got me trying to be (even) freer with my approach. Not worry that something is exact, not necessarily worry about what it is about but accept (and hope) that the works construe an idea, an element, or a something else that can be identified. It will take many moons to digest my experience of being in the Project Ability studios, seeing the work here, and the way my work has developed.
I have observed and admired the many varied ways the artists approach their work. The Aspire artist who painted the two tigers. Andrew Boyle, who painted the Train over the Glenfinnan viaduct, Doreen Kay and her yacht and castle Landscape. John Cocozza and his Bruce Forsyth paintings have been great to look at. So much so that I had to have a go at drawing ol' Brucie myself.
I've also seen works by artists I already admire, like Scott Smith, Terry Kerr, Michael McMullen and Cameron Morgan, the latter whom I have had the pleasure to chat to about his work on a couple of occasions.
I also had some brief but frank conversations with Paul and Alan which will stick in my memory. Alan's procrastination helped allay my fear of procrastination and Paul's enthusiasm for working is infectious!
All the tutors have been great too, and I have enjoyed my conversations with them."
It was a pleasure to have James work in our studios for a month. He will be back for a talk about his work in the coming months.
Cameron Morgan has started his new residency this week: a collaborative partnership with Glasgow-based artist Charlie Hammond, spanning twelve weeks.
Both artists will meet once a week in Hammond's studio and will discuss, experiment and create new work together. Their practices include a wide range of medium, in particular painting, printing and ceramics, and it will be very interesting to see what they produce during this partnership. We will post photos regularly during the residency, and you can also see their progress on Charlie's Instagram.
'The Three Stooges' by Cameron Morgan is our artwork of the week! This screen print takes inspiration from a recent trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Bretton. 'The Three Stooges' comes from the 80 strong assembly of identical two-metre-tall graphite figures titled, 'Black and Blue: The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness' by British-Trinidadian artist, Zak Ove. Cameron Morgan visited the scultpure park during a two week residency at The Art House in Wakefield where he was working with printmaker Richard Marsden. 'The Three Stooges' is part of an exhibition of prints and mixed media pieces that will preview tonight at The Art House. You can read more about this exhibition, titled 'First Edition' here. We've also made an online book featuring images of all of the work in the exhibition. These prints are all small editions of ten and they are for sale. Please contact the gallery if you are interested, email@example.com or 0141 552 2822.
If you are a visual artist and would be interested in sharing your skills with Cameron, please follow this link to read about an opportunity to do just that.
Project Ability has a new opportunity for a visual artist to develop a creative partnership with artist Cameron Morgan, FRSA.
Cameron Morgan is a prominent learning disability artist. He has received a professional development award from Creative Scotland to support his continuing artistic practice. He is based in Glasgow and works in Project Ability’s studio in Trongate 103.
Closing date: 25th August 2017, 5pm.
Interviews: 1st September 2017, Project Ability, Trongate 103, Glasgow, G1 5HD
This is a call for an artist to open their studio to Morgan and share their practice. It’s a “residency”, in your own studio; a day a week over 12 weeks to reflect, create, experiment, and learn while collaborating, conversing and working alongside Morgan.
What you choose to do and the approach taken will be a conversation negotiated between you, Morgan and facilitated by Project Ability. Possible project outcomes if new work is made is a shared exhibition or artist talk.
This is the first of three opportunities that will be offered over 12 months. Your commitment to the partnership will be approx. 12 days, 60 hours.
Morgan has exhibited widely and received public and critical accolades for his work. He is expert in creating temporary gallery installations; large scale paintings worked directly onto the fabric of the gallery and his humorous ceramic sculptures. He spent much of 2016, in the studio working on his Glasgow International commission TV Classics Part 1 (http://www.tvclassicspart1.co.uk): Project Ability, April 2016 and Put Your Sweet Lips Closer to the Phone: Tramway, September 2016.
Learning disabled artists are under-represented in every area of contemporary visual arts; their work is not held in national collections and it has little exposure in public galleries. The work is seldom researched, documented or critiqued. There are a few notable artists who are change makers. Through their talent and determination and the expertise of their support studios, their work is reaching audiences. Cameron Morgan is a change maker.
The project explores the nature of artistic collaboration, knowledge and skill exchange and works towards a more equal and improved integration of inclusive arts practice. Project Ability supports artists with learning disabilities to develop their artistic practice and contribute to the contemporary visual art landscape.
Interested? Send a covering letter describing your interest in the project, your C.V. and 6 images to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 25th August.
"A great second week with Cameron in The Arthouse, Wakefield!
We had 3 very successful days in the studio with the hugely talented Richard Marsden, finishing off prints and started 2 new ones.
The drawings Cameron made after our trip to The Yorkshire sculpture park was turned into a 5 colour screen print. Quite the task, but not only did Richard and Cameron manage to get the colours separated and screens made, they also managed to make many great prints from the screens. The colours chosen really worked well and popped.
Cameron now knows every stage involved in making screenprints, from simple 2 colour prints right up to a massive 5 colour print,and loved the whole process.
We also managed to have days out to The Yorkshire sculpture park, Barbara Hepworth museum and the beautiful city of York, I’m sure these will inspire many more pieces from cameron in the future. I must admit it wasn’t all so cultural as we also spent an evening watching Wonderwoman in the cinema and each morning started with a swim.
All in all a great week! So many new skills added and inspirational artwork seen."
Cameron Morgan is now starting his second week in residence at the Arthouse. Technician Jim Ewen spent the first week with him, and brought back many photos and many stories.
Tuesday 20th June: we started the day meeting Richard Marsden -the screen printer- who would be working with us exploring the process. We jumped straight in, turning Cameron’s picture of the combine harvester into a 4 colour print. This involved quite a lot of preparation of scanning editing and colour separation on the computer. Printing the images onto acetate. Coating the silkscreens, then exposing them, and finally, washing and drying the screens. Next, Cameron mixed some ink and taped up the excess areas of the screen. Now we were ready to print and 10 sheets later we were done. The first colour of the combine was done.
We stopped for lunch and in the time we had left we made some experiments using tape. Set a shape with tape on the back of the screen and then use ink to make some interesting colour prints. We learned how the ink mixes on the screen and how to mask off areas like a stencil.
Wash up time and that was our first day with Richard. We had a break and then came back for the rest of the afternoon. Cameron worked on a new drawing of an agricultural windmill or water pump as they were used, and I made some experiments with paper stencils. We decided to make Cameron’s drawing into a stencil and started cutting it up. It felt good to be thinking up ideas and just doing it. Just a few hours ago we didn’t have the confidence to do that. Now it felt natural, like we knew what we were doing. And it worked, we got a good print from the paper stencil.
Wednesday started with the aim to complete the combine harvester. Another 3 colours to print. Because the ink was water based and because of the weather, the ink dried quickly so we could over print after about 40 min. The finished edition of 10 prints were just stunning. A major achievement in so little time.
In-between the colour printing, when Richard washed the screens or prepared the next one, Cameron got on with developing the windmill print. He traced on top of the print where highlights should go and then made another paper stencil. This time with a grey ink. It was coming on really well. We removed the stencil for the final print just to see what would happen- a ghostly image of the windmill appeared. Later on Cameron would draw on top of this print to create a fantastic finished piece.
After a very busy day, it was time for dinner. We tried the Thai Street Food Wakefield and it became our favourite restaurant.
On Thursday the plan was to do another of Cameron’s drawings. This time of a tractor ploughing a field. We were going to do 3 colours in just a few hours. With screen printing there are always test prints before the good paper goes in. we had built up many such prints and they were overprinted with each new colour. The result was a stack of chaotic and beautiful prints which could easily go into the coming exhibition.
The final edition of the tractor was finished just as the photographer arrived so Richard decided to make another colour experiment print. Making a shape with tape on the screen Cameron then literally threw ink at the screen. Almost got the photographer too! He made some great prints with bright, bright colours.
Again in-between printing the tractor we worked on the windmill print. Cameron made a third stencil for which we printed in pink. He also over drew another of the ghost prints. They turned out great, and with that Thursday was done.
Friday started early. It was my last full day with Cameron. I would be going home on Saturday and Jason Davis would be coming down to take over my duties. Richard wasn’t working with us today so we had to carry on experimenting on our own. Through the week I had been making experiment prints with paper stencils and then overprinting with an exposed screen with a drawing on it. My drawings and paintings are all based on an imaginary place called Zillerholm. It allows me to mash out lots of different places and cultures in one place. The prints I made tied into this as well. I was really pleased with them but I didn’t need to do anymore of them. So today, Cameron and I worked together, using everything we had learned, to make hybrid drawings and prints.
We started with some quality paper, Fabriano Rosapina, and using watercolour, graphite and ink, made some paintings which were all about mark making and colour. Then we tore them up. We prepared the screen with a landscape format and attached strips of tape. Cameron mixed some bright colours and then we started printing. At first on fresh paper and later on the torn up paintings.
We over printed some twice, and on some prints used Cameron’s tractor plough image as well. It was a really fun day and we got what we wanted -the happy accident. It turned up everywhere. The paintings we torn up were printed really randomly, however when we fitted them back together in 2s and 3s it worked so well. They were meant to go back together. We were really pleased, the creative gods were blessing us today.
We cleaned up the studio and as I sorted out all the prints we had done over the 4 days, Cameron started over drawing 2 of the prints. He created a couple of gems. And with that we were done. A nine hour day. My legs were aching. I needed a sit down and a cold beer. I got both. It was a real pleasure working with Cameron and I really enjoyed our chats in the evenings over food and beer. I’ll miss Wakefield as well, the Arthouse staff and the sun. Time to go home.
Cameron Morgan started his two-week residency in the Arthouse, Wakefield, on Saturday 17th June. Project Ability' technician Jim Ewen is with him for the first week; here he tells us what the two of them did during the first couple of days.
"Seventeenth of June 2017, we arrived at the Arthouse Wakefield with real excitement and the beginnings of a Florida tan. We thought summer was over already. Two weeks in May is the same for everyone right? No, we’ve traveled 230 miles to a different climate and we’re amazed and scunnered at the same time. Cameron Morgan has been awarded a 2 week printmaking residency here in Wakefield and I’m his buddy, driver, assistant, fellow artist? It doesn’t matter, I’m the technician for Project Ability which means I do anything and everything and that’s why it’s a great job. This is going to be fun.
The Arthouse is a young, handsome, brick building. It comprises of a new build, born in 2009 and a refurb of a Victorian listed library. 50 studio artists work here now and two more live in the fantastically accessible flat which even has a socket by the bed for your essential pillow vibrator. A great deal of money has been spent here, the facilities are fantastic, the light floods in everywhere and just as a bonus the roof doesn’t leak. Odd for an artist studio.
The printmaking studio is kitted out with an auto-etching press, a laser-cutter, iMacs and silkscreens galore. It’s almost the Arthouse’s greatest asset but that has to be reserved for the workers here. The staff made us feel so welcome and Ian the cleaner made us laugh at 8am. Surrounded by bars, restaurants, the train station and The Royal Theatre, the Arthouse couldn’t get any more central. It seems the cultural quarter is important to this cathedral town. The Hepworth Wakefield is 15min walk from here. The Sculpture Park is the same by car and, oh boy do the people love that place! Heavin wi folk!
I visited Yorkshire Sculpture Park about 15 years ago when two friends married on the grounds. It was beautiful, but now, when Cameron and I visited it, it’s evolved and attracted the biggest names in international sculpture. There are new galleries, cafes, and installations all over the place (as well as plenty of sheep). People love it. The art, picnics under a tree, the walking. But the art - there is just so much of it now! It’s the first time I’ve seen work by Ai WeiWei. Twelve Bronze zodiac heads. Like totems to worship, and worship people do. I watched. Arms raised in adulation, a photo taken from every angle, data sacrificed. And then as Cameron did, the people bow and grovel in search of the best low angle shot. I don’t mind the selfies and wanting to record everything but I was wondering if this kind of human behavior was what Ai WeiWei intended all along? As Cameron fluttered around the zodiac heads, I stood back and watched the pilgrims.
After the long hot walk past the boat house with no water, past the lake with too much, we took a rest at James Turrell’s Deer Shelter Skyspace. I’ve always wanted to see this master’s work and it didn’t disappoint. Stepping through the door into the underground space immediately removes you from brea-ing sheep, crowds of people and constant heat. A space of contemplation and coolness where the focus is the square hole in the high ceiling. Bright cerulean blue square as perfect as a new watercolour pan, wetted for the first time with so much promise. The square sky doesn’t change today but I can still watch it forever. This is my idol, pure colour.
Tony Cragg’s retrospective was simply stunning. Beautiful complex forms, with the maker in me trying to unlock their secrets of construction. The simple framed drawings which accompanied the sculptures were enlightening. Even the most complex of structures begin with a drawing. Drawing always comes first, and it’s what we’re doing today. In the Arthouse printmaking studio Cameron sits drawing his idea of a combine harvester. It will be one of many that will be produced today in preparation for tomorrow. For tomorrow we meet another of the locals –the screen printer- who will guide us through the cultural quarter and help us on the way to express the love of the combine through paper and ink.
And if it doesn’t cool down soon I’ll be dreaming of Turrell’s Skyspace, praying to the zodiac, and making plans for a pilgrimage to our temperate rainforest we call home all the while I’m topping up my Floridian tan."
Keep an eye on the website for Jim's second blog next week!
Jonathan Kirkwood spent the month of August as Artist in Residence at Project Ability. Based in a studio within the main Project Ability workshop, Jonathan spent the month developing new projects. Here, he tells us about his experience:
"Having volunteered at Project Ability for a wee while now and then helping with the summer workshops over the course of July, starting my residency in August seemed like a natural transition from one thing to another.
I had used the summer workshops to try out a few small ideas with the Aspire group, doing little 5 or 10 minute kind of drawing exercises with them and it became really apparent that what really means the most to me is the people that attend Project Ability and the work that they create. So I came into the residency with the idea of bringing cameras loaded with film for everyone to create their own images of what Project Ability means to them.
Having done this a few times while studying at the Glasgow School of Art with my brother, I felt it would be the best way to capture what makes the studio environment so special. Carrying around a large digital camera and photographing those I hadn't fully met or communicated with felt like it would have been too invasive, so releasing my own control and allowing everyone else to create their own photographs seemed like the best choice. I've still to develop the film but I'll keep everyone posted!
As well as this, I began to create a body of work in collaboration with my brother. Jordon has Aspergers and being really close to him means that I have grown up within his magical world and have the amazing opportunity to get a really close and personal look at how he sees the world differently to myself. At least I thought it was different.
The freedom to explore areas of interest that I really haven't had time to do since being a lot younger made me realise just how similar I am to my brother. We share a vast amount of interests, most likely formed together at a young age as we shared a room and most of our things. The energy within the Project Ability studios really rubbed off on me and I soon found myself surrounded by bundles of prints and drawings that were created without too much thought.
I really can't thank everyone at Project Ability enough for the opportunity and being so welcoming. It's an experience that will always bring a smile to my face and one that was invaluable. I'm hoping to keep volunteering for just a little longer, I'm not ready to give up my slice of awesome, creative energy just yet!"
Thank you very much, Jonathan! You can see Jonathan's photo diary on our ReSearch Residency Instagram: @PA_Research_Residency.
Ailsa Sutcliffe spent the month of July as Artist in Residence at Project Ability. Based in a studio within the main Project Ability workshop, Ailsa spent the month developing a body of new work. Here, she tells us about her experience:
"The Project Ability Research Residency came at the perfect time for me in many respects. Having just encountered some unexpected personal hurdles, a month in the safe haven of Project Ability’s studios surrounded by enthusiastic, creative souls was exactly what I needed to get my mind and practice back on track.
Having a designated, light-filled space and the freedom to produce work of any kind, of any size, was incredibly liberating and I soon began to banish the self-inflicted restrictions I had placed on myself as an artist and illustrator. Unwarranted anxieties about what kind of work I could, or should, make, started to fade and I quickly started to enjoy being more bold or ambitious than I usually am.
This enjoyment was perhaps due to my familiarity to Project Ability; the studios, the artists, the tutors. From volunteering and working at Project Ability for some time now, it’s become one of my favourite places in Glasgow and probably where I feel most comfortable outside of my own home environment. It’s what made me realise that I wanted to teach, tutor and work with people and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities that it has given me.
I saw the residency as an opportunity to develop my skills in areas I wasn’t particularly confident in, improving my range as an illustrator and enabling me to help people with techniques I previously didn’t know much about. Amongst various drawings, I completed two large canvasses for the first time, several drypoint prints and made some (wonky) ceramic bowls. For me, it was a pretty big achievement.
I have an infuriating tendency to freeze up and overthink what I’m making while I’m making it, and more often than not it goes in the bin before it’s even finished. Working with the artists at Project Ability has definitely helped me eliminate (or at least reduce) that perfectionism and I found that working in the studios alongside them really improved my productivity and ability to make worry-free. There is a tangible sense of enthusiasm, talent and creativity in the studios that is infectious. You soak it up without even realising."
Thank you very much, Ailsa! You can see Ailsa's photo diary on our ReSearch Residency Instagram: @PA_Research_Residency
This week was Project Ability artist Edward Henry's last week as Artist in Residence at Platform, Easterhouse. Over the past six weeks, Edward has been working from a studio set up at Platform one day a week, developing a body of new work with the support of artist Scott Lang. Each week, Scott has been updating us on Edward's progress.
"This week Edward made several sketches of the rooms we have been using during our time at Platform. He also made some sketches of the exterior of the building.
Edward then finished off his painting of one of the entrances by painting in figures. He used a previous sketch of some beauty therapy students as the basis for two of the figures. He added another couple of figures which are based on lecturers that he knows from the Glasgow Kelvin College campus next to Platform.
Once the painting was finished, Edward dried it with a hairdryer before applying two coats of varnish to give it a nice finish."
Thank you very much Edward and Scott!
Click here to find out more about Platform, Easterhouse. #madeineasterhouse
Project Ability artist Edward Henry is nearing the end of his residency period at Platform, Easterhouse. He has been working from a studio based in 'The Bridge' one day a week, for the past five weeks, supported by artist Scott Lang. Each week, Scott has been updating us on Edward's process, and the development of his new work.
"This week, Edward continued to work on his painting of one of the entrances to Platform.
After painting in the windows and doors, Edward added people using oil pastels. He used his earlier sketches of the beauty therapy students for this.
We then sat in the café area to do some sketching."
Thank you, Edward and Scott. Next week will be Edward's final week as Artist in Residence.
Shireen Taylor spent the month of June as Artist in Residence at Project Ability. Based within the Project Ability workshop, Shireen spent the month developing her practice, and new work. Here, she tells us about her experience:
"The artists’ studios at Project Ability are a wonderful place to work, with a welcoming atmosphere and a huge variety of activity. I came to the research residency with the intention of developing new sculptural directions in my practice, as well as using the opportunity to really get to see how the organisation worked for so many different artists.
It’s such a refreshing change to be in a ﬂexible, open plan space, where any number of artists will take an interest in your work, and an even greater interest in showing you their own! I spent much of the time making new drawings, and developing some of these into sculptural experiments. My lack of expertise in some processes and the need to reinvent the work as I went on was treated with some amusement by some of the artists, but they were very intrigued by what I was trying to do.
One of the tutors, Celine, took a small group of us on a walking trip to Pollock Country Park, which was a great chance to meet some of the artists not usually in on the days I was there. We visited the Giant Beech near the house, which formed the basis of a new drawing, and I took the opportunity to examine some of the ironwork and architectural details of the stables and gardens for the sculptural work I had planned.
Working in plastercine, wood and clay, I built some models for casting via silicon into wax, which will later be cast into metals such as aluminium, bronze and/or iron. I am really hoping that I might be able to invite some of the Project Ability artists to see this being done, as it can sometimes be quite a spectacle. The ﬁnished works are intended to be included in an exhibition in the Project Room in Trongate 103 next year.
Working in the unique environment of the Project Ability studios has been an inspiring experience, and I really hope to get the chance to return and work with the artists I have met there. Thank you to everyone who I met during the residency for your friendliness, humour, and creativity. See you all again soon."
Thank you very much, Shireen! You can see Shireen's photo diary on our ReSearch Residency Instagram: @PA_Research_Residency
Project Ability artist Edward Henry has now spent his fourth week as Artist in Residence at Platform, Easterhouse. During his six week rsidency, Edward has been working at Platform one day a week developing new work, with the support of artist, Scott Lang. Scott tells us about a new painting that Edward has been working on this week.
"After wandering around Platform, Edward decided that he wanted to make a painting of one of the entrances to the building as he liked the shapes and angles. I took some photos of the entrance for him to use.
Edward started by painting the sky onto the canvas. He then drew the building on with oil pastels before blocking in the colours with acrylic paint."
Thanks Edward and Scott. We look forward to seeing more new work over the next couple of weeks.
Project Ability artist Edward Henry is the current Artist in Residence at Platform, Easterhouse. Throughout the residency, Edward is working from a studio set up in ‘The Bridge’, and is being supported by artist Scott Lang. Below, Scott tells us what Edward has been working on in Week 3.
"Edward had done some drawings at home in his sketchbook. He drew an area of the swimming pool and a tree outside the building.
Edward sat with the Art Factory group for the first 15 minutes to finish his painting of the Glasgow Kelvin College building from last week. When he had finished we walked about Platform to find some areas of interest to him. We found a small corner of the building, viewed from the library, that Edward liked. He depicted this using soft pastels.
Whilst drawing this Edward noticed the light fittings and columns in the library, and really liked the patterns they were making. He moved onto drawing this after completing his other drawing."
Thanks Edward and Scott!
Project Ability artist Edward Henry is now in his second week as artist in residence at Platform, Easterhouse. Throughout the six-week period, Edward is assisted by artist Scott Lang, who, below, updates us on the residency so far.
"Edward was still having a bit of pain in his leg so we sat with The Art Factory group again. He agreed that next week we should move to different areas of the building and do some sketching.
Edward had done some sketches at home of some of Glasgow Kelvin College’s vehicles and the wind turbine outside. He has made a painting of the Glasgow Kelvin College building beside Platform because he attends classes there."
Thank you, Edward and Scott. We look forward to seeing and hearing more about the residency next week!
Florence Dwyer spent the month of May based within Project Ability's workshop, as artist in residence. Here, she tells us about her experience:
"I had a great time on residency at the amazing Project ability studios. From the off, I was welcomed to the space by so many interesting and friendly artists and tutors, each enthusiastic and passionate about what they were doing. It felt like the perfect environment to be in, one full of positive energy and creativity.
Throughout the month, I found myself trying out lots of fabric painting - something I'd never really done before and didn't plan on doing. I think the diversity of the work being made in my surroundings, definitely pushed me in new directions and got me excited about materials I'd never even thought about before. Whilst I was painting, and talking with people, I thought a lot about my 'residency' and position within the studios and how for that month, it felt like my 'second home'. I liked the idea of making objects and furniture for the home within an artists studio, and started to design and envisage some of the textile pieces I was working on, being scaled-up and transformed in to functional things. Since ending the residency, I've managed to work on some of these ideas, so I'm really grateful for that time of experimentation.
The project ability studio was never a lonely place. People were always keen to talk about what they were working on and sharing their knowledge on processes... something that's vital to the ethos of the whole studio. It was nice to have so many friendly faces coming up to where I was working, often asking questions and providing encouragement... something that I'll definitely miss.
I really got a sense of how valuable this space is to so many people and I feel lucky to be able to have experienced this. I wish it could have gone on a lot longer!
Thankyou Project Ability... really hope to be back soon!"
Thank you, Florence!
Project Ability artist Edward Henry is currently undertaking a residency at Platform in Easterhouse. Over a six week period, Edward will be assisted by artist Scott Lang, and will work from a studio set up in ‘The Bridge’ one day a week. He will create work which will form part of our annual painting exhibition at Platform, which is currently on display and continues until 31 July.
Scott Lang tells us a bit about Edward’s first week at Platform;
“Edward’s leg was a bit sore so we sat with The Art Factory group in the den at Platform. He had been thinking about the residency at home and had decided that he wanted to draw some of the people he has seen using the facilities.
He drew some of the beauty therapy students, in their tunics, from Glasgow Kelvin College, beside Platform. He has also seen a lot of schoolkids using the building so he painted a couple of them in their uniforms, all from memory.”
We are looking forward to seeing more from Edward’s residency over the coming weeks!
Scott Lang spent the month of May as artist in residence at Project Ability. Based within the Project Ability workshop, Lang spent the month developing his practice, and new work. Here, he tells us about his experience:
"Having the use of a studio space for a month was great as it allowed me to focus on producing work. I also had the time and space to consider the direction my work will take in the near future.
It was fantastic just being back at Project Ability as this is where my journey back into making art started in 2009, but the best aspect of the residency is the people who use the studios every day. It’s inspiring being around so many creative people. People who aren’t scared to offer an opinion and encouragement.
Quite a few of the artists had stories about how Glasgow’s gang culture (the focus of my work) had affected them and their families which will feed into my own research. Hopefully my relationship with Project Ability will continue well into the future."
Thank you very much Scott!
Project Ability is pleased to announce Edward Henry as the 2016 Artist in Residence at Platform in Easterhouse from 14 June to 19 July. Following on from Jonathan McKinstry’s residency last year, Henry will be working at Platform once a week for six weeks.
Project Ability and Platform have explored collaborations in many forms since ‘The Bridge’ opened ten years ago. Our annual exhibition of large paintings by artists in our Aspire group is one of the highlights of our exhibition calendar. Edward Henry is a local resident to Platform, and a highly talented, long-standing artist working at Project Ability in the Aspire programme.
Over these six week Edward will set up studio in ‘The Bridge’ and create work which will form part of our annual painting exhibition at Platform which runs from 9 June to 31 July. He will be supported throughout the residency by artist Scott Lang. Edward’s paintings most often depict real life scenes and still life in his distinctly recognisable style. A small selection of his paintings can be viewed on his Project Ability artists’ page, http://www.project-ability.co.uk/artists/edward-henry.
We are delighted to be working with Platform and to award Edward with this residency. We will post updates throughout the residency of the work Edward creates. Watch this space!
David Roeder spent the month of April in residency at Project Ability, working on his own practice and interacting with our artists. Here he tells us more about his experience.
"Doing the residency at Project Ability was such a rewarding experience on so many levels. I met so many interesting and highly creative characters and I loved working alongside them for a while.
I saw some exceptional pieces being made and I had great conversations, but most of all it was the relaxed and inclusive vibe that I enjoyed, which suggested a more than valid alternative to the capital-driven and elitist forces that are so strongly at work within the sphere of so-called "fine art".
I have read and written extensively about problems of evaluation in regards to creative expression (with a focus on non-academic art), so the residency felt like a natural, hands-on extension of that field of my research. I was amazed by the high quality of what I saw being made in the workshops, pieces that in my eyes (and without hyperbole) can easily raise the bar to almost any museum collection or contemporary art show.
I also loved the feedback I got from some of the artists in the workshop - although at times very critical, it was always rewarding and made me question my work outside the parameters as suggested by most contemporary art education/writing. What more can I say? A great experience, I wish I could have stayed another four weeks (or more)!"
Many thanks David! You can see his photo diary on our ReSearch Residency Instagram: @PA_Research_Residency
1: Cameron and Celine at the Cosima V. Bonin show at the Goma
2: A cat painting I loved but whose author I couldn't find
3: John Cocozza working on his sculpture
4: One of the paintings I did myself: "Stuff washed up on the shore"
Project A – warm. Full.
I had been trying to find a way back to Project Ability since finishing a six-month project with them in May 2015. Returning to the ReConnect studio as an artist rather than a tutor has been a happy challenge. A colourful puzzle. What is the magic that happens daily in those studios? I began by opening myself to the currents of the studio, how it works as a shared and individualised mesh of negotiated spaces and rhythms, and what my place within it, though temporary, might be.
I had been lonely working at home. The days of January felt especially short with few human faces to fill them. The best thing about my cubby hole at the edge of the ReConnect studio was the empty chair that fellow artists would fill and offer stories, and advice, and recommendations for TV shows and books, and ask “just what is it you’re doing?”. Another best thing were the white walls onto which I could stick emergency yellow, baby blue and apple green post-it notes of thoughts lest they fly away and experiments in type and collage. Another best thing was entering the studios and having smiles met with smiles met with generous expanses of colour and line.
Gifts I received – Cathedral, a book of short stories by Raymond Carver. Yellow-topped mountains painted calmly into a Canadian lake. A raspberry ink box and a slice of spongy carrot cake.
Mostly it was words I worked with during this residency. Words heard and read and conjured then scattered to walls, to notebooks, to the floor, out of mouths and into the bin. With a big box of old Letraset I could stretch and repeat words into time as I rubbed them on to sheets of coloured sugar paper where they could then take up physical space (the further from my laptop the better). These words placed map-like across the wall formed patterns of meaning and attempts at order - a studio cosmos. “The cosmos … is a tingling in the spine, a memory of falling from a great height” – from Cosmos, written and presented by Carl Sagan.
Trust the triangle. Three points of contact was the genesis of a collaboration with Simon McAuley, ReConnect artist, photographer and friend. Simon used the climbing analogy of three points of contact to describe how he navigates the daunting task of a drawing. We decided to spend five days finding points of contact and passing, repetition and routine within the studios, and through writing exercises the architecture and objects we studied took on distinctive gestures, sounds and personalities.
‘That’s a funny story, Rita says, but I can see she doesn’t know what to make of it. I feel depressed. But I won’t go into it with her. I’ve already told her too much. She sits there waiting, her dainty fingers poking her hair. Waiting for what? I’d like to know. It is August. My life is going to change. I feel it.’ - from Fat by Raymond Carver.
Murmer…crescendo…murmer. Rumours of cats are flying around the studio these days. Over the next few months I will be working with Luke Shaw and Project Ability artists on a publication of their writing and image-making. The launch of this will coincide with the opening of ‘Cats’, a group show in the Project Ability gallery.
- Shop Item of the Week - Porcelain Fox Plate, Scott Smith design
- Artwork of the Week - by Nnena Kalu
- Artwork of the Week - by Rehan Yousuf
- Shop Item of the Week - ‘A Musical Guide to Scotland’ Tea Towel
- Thank you for your donations towards Nnena Kalu’s installation
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