ReSearch Residency July 2016 - Ailsa Sutcliffe

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

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