Volunteer of the Week! Gemma Travers

It’s the last week to apply for a volunteering opportunity for January 2020! Let’s here from one of  our current volunteers – Gemma Travers!

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?

I am a Graduate Artist, graduating from the Masters of Letters in Drawing from The Glasgow School of Art.

My practice focuses on story-telling. I primarily work in oil paint and drawing mediums however have recently been working with moving image and sound arts. My current project is exploring women’s obsession with cleaning, or rather, how women’s value is tethered to the social expectation to clean.

In what workshop did you volunteer?

I volunteered with ReConnect workshop on Friday mornings.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?

I volunteered following a job role change at my work. Moving into a more sales focused position I felt that I was missing talking to other visual artists about their projects and work. These small discussions motivate me in my own practice so I began to search out opportunities where I could work within a supported studio environment.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?

And more so! Project Ability’s ReConnect programme is fabulous, I am so impressed with the diverse range of media and skills in the workshops. All Artists are welcoming and readily engage in conversation about their work, they are highly supportive of each other.  It’s a very productive and refreshing studio environment, after a week of working it’s a delight being a part of that studio.

What have you learned from your experience with us?

I have gained confidence in working with others and have been motivated not to take my own practice so seriously. Leaving the competitiveness of Art School, you put so much pressure on yourself to make a ‘certain type of work’ or make work in a specific way you often forget why you make at all. At ReConnect we make work purely for ourselves, we can challenge skills and learn in a positive and enjoyable atmosphere. Any disappointments are chalked-up as a learning experience and you know you will have a room full of support and suggestions from other artists. I have also spent some time in the ceramic’s studio, which is something brand new to me!


Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?

A painting by Peter really stood out for me, his Kelpies painting. It featured in his solo exhibition in the Project Space two. I felt Peter struggled with this painting, he really fought with it at times but it was worth it. The painting is fantastic, with a great sense of depth, light and attention to detail, as challenging as it was for him you can see how much he has learned from the experience and hope he continues to challenge himself in his subject matter.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?

Absolutely, volunteering with Project Ability has been a very positive experience. Tracy and all the staff and tutors have been very supportive. If anyone from a creative background is considering applying to volunteer I would encourage them to go for it, you will only benefit from the experience.

A massive thank you to all the staff at Project Ability and thank you to Tracy and Celine for the opportunity I really have enjoyed my Fridays at ReConnect.


Read more volunteer stories.

Apply for our January 2020 volunteer programme.


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