Volunteering Project Ability April 2014 â€“ March 2015
Volunteering at Project Ability April 2014 – March 2015 Now in its 5th year, the volunteering programme at Project Ability continues to go from strength to strength. More opportunities for graduate and undergraduate artists to take part in our busy workshops programme, have been on offer this past year. As always the quality of our volunteers has been exceptional, with a wide variety of people, with diverse skills, seeking opportunity to gain experience working within our specialist programme of visual arts workshops, engaging with all ages and abilities. Our volunteers are recruited in January and August each year, with 15 recruited in January 2014, staying with us until June and a further 15 recruited in August 2014 completing their time with us in December 2014. The New Year saw a further 15 new volunteers recruited who currently are successfully working alongside our tutors, adding a fresh and new dynamic to our workshops this block. The positive impact of our volunteering programme is one that is shared by the volunteers, tutors and participants alike, with everyone benefiting from the contribution made. Our volunteers are invited to feedback their unique experiences of their time with us, through the vehicle of our ‘Meet the Volunteers’ feature on our blog. The following extracts are from some of the volunteers who took part in this year’s programme.
Amy Hinson â€œProject Ability is a wonderful organization, I have loved volunteering at the Saturday Create Visual Arts Classes! Working with the artists each week, I have learnt so much about my practice and have seen first hand the importance of art. It is such an optimistic environment, full of creative energy and always a lot of fun. The classes are often an adventure; we are always exploring different mediums together making it a truly collaborative process. The young makers are so open and decisive in their approach; it is so rewarding to see the enjoyment they get from their work. It has inspired me so much, each week gaining the trust of the artists, hearing their stories, and sharing in their work. I come away each week with a renewed enthusiasm for my own making, for art and life! I graduated from the Glasgow School of Art Fine Art Photography department last summer and have continued explore to ideas I established in my final year of study. I am interested in the intimate interactions that are made between individuals, with society and place. I often look to make a memorial to these acts. Project Ability has reinforced my interest in human interactions the way we as artists have come together and the impact of this collaboration on our lives.â€?
Fran Gordon â€˜I graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in June, and have since been working, volunteering, assisting with workshops and building on my practice as a visual artist in Glasgow. I was delighted to be awarded two residencies after graduating; a graduate residency at Hospitalfield Arts in Arbroath with eleven other recent graduates from Scottish art schools, and also at MANY Studios in the merchant city, where I have a studio with three other recent graduates, as part of their graduate residency programme. I came to Project Ability not long after graduating and was immediately welcomed into the warmth of the community and productivity happening within the studios. I have been inspired by the enthusiasm for making art from both the staff and the artists here. Seeing directly How much the artists gain from making work has really shown me the importance of tutoring; from demonstrating different techniques to being supportive and encouraging of the works the artists are making. It has been a real pleasure to be able to impart my skills to help the artists with their individual ideas and works; I too have learnt so much from their practices. A real highlight for me has been seeing how much each artist has progressed over the eight-week programme, which has been a privilege to see unfold. I have learnt so much from the fantastic staff, who each have their own bank of knowledge, experience and way of communicating ideas, skills and support to the artists. The opportunity for artists to be a part of this rich artistic community at Project Ability, to be given support, access to excellent materials and the encouragement from both staff and peers, is invaluable. Volunteering with the Aspire programme at Project Ability has been a truly enjoyable and rewarding experience. It is a delight to be welcomed into the Project Ability community and to be able to support fellow artists.â€™
Kevin Stewart Cantwell “I graduated in 2014 from the University of West of Scotland, with a first class honours degree in Contemporary Art Practice. I have been a selfemployed commercial artist since 2004, I took the decision to return to education in 2010, to get an improved understanding of what the best way to use my creativity, which could be a benefit by help others in a creative environment. The passing on of creative skills is an essential part of my practice along with the use of recycled materials that supports the environment. In getting to know everyone who is part of Project Ability, I have been given an unlimited opportunity to learn from them. They have educated me in so many new ways, from working in ceramics to communicating with and assisting the young people’s individual needs. I have found that being in such a creative environment is of a great advantageous for those involved, and each time I leave the studio I feel inspired by all the people who get so much joy from their own artistic inspirations. It is a privilege to have the opportunity and experience with an exceptionally worthwhile organisation, such as the Project Ability community workshops. Thank you”
Leanora Brophy ‘I graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2012, with a BA Hons in Sculpture and I currently have a studio space at SWG3. This has enabled me to continue developing my artistic practice. I have exhibited at Compass and A. galleries and more recently had work selected for the 2013 RGI annual exhibition where I won the A4A Foundry prize. My current sculptural practice explores the notion of reproduction, of the body and nature as a vessel, for the production and containment of life. My potter’s wheel is the initial starting point for the forms I create. Working with clay is a very intuitive process where the material can lead the way in developing the outcome of the sculptural forms created. I have had previous teaching experience working with young children and adults in various settings and have really enjoyed my time working with John and the Art Matters group at Project Ability. It has been a fantastic experience to see the enjoyment, co-operation and creative spirit which the members of the group connect with both each other and their individual artistic practices.’
Margaret McGovern â€˜Since graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee I have continued to work on my own sculptural practice which explores materiality and sculptural forms, referencing elements from the man-made and natural environment. I have also gained experience working within various areas of creative education including both community and classroom learning. What attracted me to Project Ability was my interest in art as both a leisure activity and therapy; as opposed to prescriptive learning. I have really enjoyed contributing to the Saturday Create workshops at Project Ability. This has been a terrific experience getting to know the artists - how their interests and personalities shine through in their work. The experience also taught me that through participating in the workshops learning becomes a real two-way process, where we are constantly learning from each other. Project Ability has been a fantastic opportunity to learn and develop new skills working within a relaxed creative environment.â€™
Nadine Khatib â€˜Since graduating with a Master in Communication Design at the Glasgow School of Art, my work has been focused on design, illustration, and the grey area in between, especially in relation to interaction and creating personal experiences of design and visual communication. This emphasis on the practical experience of creating and interpreting is what led me to want to work with others in a workshop learning environment.
I got involved with Project Ability because I wanted to help foster artists’ talent who may have difficulty communicating in the ‘traditional’ ways, and enable them to develop creatively from a young age. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had, and I feel privileged to have had the chance to get to know the kids in the Create workshops. The group is always full of ideas and ready to make new work! Their creativity and spontaneity has in turn inspired me, and I suspect the experience will continue to have an impact on my work for years to come.’
Nicola Henderson â€˜I graduated from Newcastle College of Art in July 2013 with a FdA in Contemporary Ceramic Practice, I now continue to develop my own practice at Glasgow Ceramic Studios in Hanson street.
I started volunteering at Project Ability with the Aspire group in February this year (2014). I’m stationed in the ceramics room and make clay work available to those who wish to have a go. So far I’m pleased to say that there has been a few of those in the Aspire group who have joined me and we’ve had a lovely time making and chatting. The atmosphere is very relaxed and friendly and we’ve had a very productive few weeks! We are currently using red earthenware clay along with slips and underglazes for decoration. I’m thoroughly enjoying my time so far and looking forward to working with the group again in the next block of workshops’
Nicola Prosser â€˜Having graduated in 2013 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design with an honours degree in Illustration, I have continued to seek out further experience in the creative sector to continue my artistic development. I am currently employed in a graphic design studio where my work includes print design, filming and editing, public art concepts and schools workshops. My own practice draws inspiration from my interest in history. I am always interested in seeking out new skills and experiences, and since graduating I have explored crafts, alternative printmaking and have attended pottery throwing classes at the Glasgow Ceramics Studio. I have always admired the work done by Project Ability and the artists they support and strongly believe in the values they encourage. I was drawn to volunteer as I wanted to be a part of such a wonderful organisation and help support fellow artists. I was thrilled to discover the wealth of materials and practices available in the beautiful Project Ability studio space and I was especially excited to see an excellent printmaking area. Printing has been a main focus in my own work and I have greatly enjoyed sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with the other artists. In the next block of workshops I am looking forward to trying out more printmaking techniques.
The opportunity to watch and learn from such talented tutors has also been a privilege. With so many different creative minds together in one space, all working in contrasting and complementary ways, the tutors never fail to have ideas and suggestions for new artistic directions. The support they offer, both to the artists and the volunteers, is invaluable. Everyone attending the workshops has their own unique talents and interests. In getting to know each artist and how they work, I have been given a great opportunity to learn from them. They have taught me so many new skills, from using felting machines to hand building ceramics. I have found that being in such an uplifting environment is greatly beneficial for everyone involved and I always leave feeling inspired. It is magical to be able to watch so many people take so much joy from their own art or craft. I have found this to be an eye opening experience and one that is incredibly rewarding. I have really enjoyed getting to know the artists and tutors and I feel at home as part of the Project Ability community.â€™
Soizig Carey ‘I graduated in Silversmithing and Jewellery from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009. Since then I have established a multi-disciplinary creative practice, heavily influenced by narratives cultural references, graphics and architecture. My work in this time has extended from jewellery, 3 dimensional objects and print to installations, teaching and curatorial projects. The cross-over between Visual Art and Design is important to me and I am an active member of both communities in Glasgow. I was keen to work with Project Ability in the Create Saturday programme as many of my objectives as a teaching artist now focus on early years arts education out-with a classroom context. My key aims are to introduce elements of play into the making process. This emphasises more the child’s right to construct their own experience and invent, rather than be concerned by the finished product. The Project Ability workshop environment and resources allow for an interactive experience, where the children can be as curious as they wish to make their own creative choices and discoveries. In this respect it caters for individual identities and needs. It has been such a pleasure to work with all the kids and get to know them!’
Thomas Leyland-Collins ‘I graduated in Environmental Art from the Glasgow School of Art in 2012. Since graduating I have been developing a practice which integrates diverse elements ranging from sculptural sound installations to hosting mini FM Transmitter workshops and more recently have been exploring new techniques and materials such as bronze casting and throwing clay on a potter’s wheel. My work explores the dialogue between sound and space. More specifically, it focuses on the relationship between the soundscape and our perception of the surrounding environment. Therefore, my work is concerned with the possibilities of how sounds are, and can be, used in a social context. Currently my practice has a focus on utilising technologies which have become redundant within the sphere of today’s consumerist society and consequently are now freely available yet still retain the potential for creative endeavor.’
Volunteering at Project Ability on the evening film workshops has been an incredibly refreshing and rewarding experience, the children on the course never failed to surprise me with their fantastic imaginations for new and exciting ideas - some were quite happy to make stop motion animations with Lego whilst others had visions for magical stories recruiting others from the class to be part of their story. All in all volunteering at Project Ability has been a truly invigorating experience and has reminded me of how important the role of art plays when growing up in terms of stimulating the imagination and satisfying that creative urge which we all inherently possess.â€?
Stephanie Gaumond ‘It has been such a pleasure being involved in Project Ability and the Aspire programme on Tuesdays. As a volunteer I’ve been easily welcomed by the staff as well as the artists who attend. I’ve found it so inspiring to be able to assist the artists with their own work while having the opportunity to share some of my knowledge as a printmaker with them. Specifically, it’s been a pleasure to do some screen printing and etching with some of the artists.
I was originally inspired to volunteer because I feel as though Project Ability is an organisation who understands the power and necessity of art in our society, especially for people who naturally have a different way of seeing our world. Also, as a printmaker I was so pleased that printmaking was one of the mediums that was utilized. One of my greatest joys volunteering with Project Ability is that I’ve been able to share as well as learn. My personal practice explores the conventions used to describe human experience; conventions such as words and visual languages used to share information. Through the Aspire programme I’ve been able to experience first hand the creative urge and the power of communication through means other than words. The artists have inspired me and I hope to cultivate more of it myself.’
Katie Ward 窶連fter graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree in Fine Art, I have expanded my experiences through further study abroad, scholarships, artist residencies, internships, teaching, tutoring and support work. Since moving to Glasgow in February 2014 I have continued to stimulate my artistic practice, developing my painting in my Merchant City studio and printmaking regularly at Glasgow Print Studio, in order to produce works for exhibiting widely across Scotland. The inspiration behind my work is derived from an interpretation of personal experience, as I take influence from an expansive array of sources, absorbed from my own consciousness of place, atmosphere, identity, and perception. I believe through the Creative Arts, we can use our voice to communicate feelings and experiences, as a narrative, in which to affect others and invoke reflection. This has led me to explore the art from which this very stir begins to occur for me....and I have been truly inspired by the work I have seen being produced and exhibited by the artists at Project Ability.
I began my eight weeks of volunteering working with the Aspire programme as I wanted to support the opportunity for participants to express themselves and achieve artistic excellence in this way. The experience has reinforced to me that through making a direct, genuine, and effective contribution to the Creative Arts by way of teaching and tutoring , a wealth of rewards, inspiration, and satisfaction, can be gained. Predominately working with participants in the field of printmaking, I have supported artists with advice and guidance to facilitate and enable the production of diverse and inspirational works. The creative abilities demonstrated by the participants during this time has been astounding, and at the end of each class, I have often been left in awe whilst reflecting over the abundance of stunning artworks. Every artist has such a unique way of working, and the tutors do an incredible job at homing into this for every individual so as they can tune into their specific ideas and intentions for a piece. Through observing this, I have extended my awareness of the specific communication and teaching skills required for working with people from diverse backgrounds and dedicated needs, whilst being able to fully appreciate the level of professionalism and sensitivity held by all the staff at Project Ability. I have found it to be a wholly rewarding experience, constantly filling me with inspiration, whilst reinforcing my enthusiasm for teaching and tutoring, as a means of supporting the work of Project Ability. I am delighted to continue my time at Project Ability with a further eight weeks on the Aspire programme.â€™
Jemima Wright â€˜Since graduating from GSA in 2011 with a degree in Textile design with a specialism in Embroidery I have continued to use using drawing, painting, photography and collage to develop embellished and printed textiles - exploring shape, colour, repeat, pattern combinations with a focus on contrasting textures and combining digital techniques with expressive mark making. It is really inspiring to witness the open, enthusiastic and individual way the artists and tutors approach their work. The studio has a great welcoming atmosphere and is well equipped for an impressive range of activities. I love experimenting with new techniques and working in a shared environment so volunteering at Project Ability has been a hugely rewarding experience for me.â€?
Jen Bradley â€œGraduating in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in Painting from Grays School of Art, I was delighted to have been supported by the Smart Gallery, Aberdeen, in being awarded the New Art Look to the North Award. As part of the Graduate Residency (2013) at Hospitalfield House, Arbroath, I was able to utilise valuable research time to work towards my first solo show at the Smart Gallery. Hospitalfield House was a remarkable environment to be an artist in residence, and a great chance to engage with artists who were also recent graduates from Scottish art schools. In February 2014 I was awarded the Aberdeen City Council Visual Artist Award, which enabled me to partake in the Emerging Artist Residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, Lumsden. The residency was workshop based and an incredible opportunity to share technical processes. The casting techniques I learnt at SSW were invaluable and pivotal to the realisation of my most recent body of work. In my studio practice I borrow the methods of the archivist and archaeologist when attempting to decipher, categorize and evaluate found material; remnants of a fleeting existence or of a life once lived. â€¨I recently lead an Introduction to Casting and Mould-Making workshop at Cardonald College whereby I was able to share the skills I had learnt on residency at SSW with students in the process of building portfolios for entry to art school. Through residencies, volunteering and mentoring I find it important, and extremely beneficial to my practice, to share with others the processes I have learned. For the past year I have worked as an Art Rooms Cover Artist for the Grampian Hospitals Art Trust, Aberdeen, who I coincidently exhibited with at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in September of this year. Art Rooms is an inspirational project whereby artists create a studio-type environment within the hospital to encourage patients discover or build upon their creativity. As artistic facilitators, we provide patients with the tools, materials and encouragement to enable them to create. Through participating in the Art Room, patients can feel immensely exhilarated and it is a thoroughly positive experience, thus aiding the recovery process.
Recently returning to Glasgow, now based at Crownpoint Studios, I was delighted to be able to pursue work within the area of art and healthcare by volunteering at Project Ability. I’m so grateful to have been welcomed in to this warm and inspiring community of creative individuals. It has been an absolute honour and a very insightful experience to work with the artists who have attended the art sessions for 16 weeks. I find that volunteering at Project Ability is a positive and very cyclical experience in that I return from each session feeling so immensely inspired and in awe of the work produced, I’m constantly encouraged to make more work. I find it quite a liberating and rewarding experience to watch people create marks in such a free manner. Working with everyone at Project Ability keeps my enthusiasm for fine art alive and I am so grateful to be part of this lovely community.’
Mary Watson â€œI will be graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2015. Over the past four years my artistic practice has developed hugely, I now work primarily within sculpture, with my main focus currently being ceramics.
For me volunteering with the Thursday Aspire workshops has been hugely rewarding, I have never worked within such a positive, spontaneous and creative environment before. Aspire has allowed me to see the endless different ways that people react to and use materials. I love then being able to use these different techniques within my own practice and being able to pass on my own expertise to others. I find the enthusiasm and joy that both the participant and tutors approach their work with inspiring.â€?
Lauren McGhee â€œI graduated from Painting and Printmaking at The Glasgow School of Art in 2011. Since then I have completed a Masters degree in 20th Century Art History, and was lucky enough to work at the Venice Biennale. My current practice broadly examines the connections and diversions between different and idiosyncratic means of recording and understanding the everyday, and I work between the mediums of drawing, painting, and writing. I seek to produce quietly playful reworkings of human experience and understanding.
Volunteering with Project Ability has been an invigorating experience, and I have greatly enjoyed working with the participants and witnessing the growth of their individual projects. It has completely revitalised my belief in the positive and transformative potentials of an art practice, and I have even found a renewed enthusiasm and well being in my own work. I would recommend volunteering with Project Ability to anyone, not least because of the fantastic conversation and company every week!â€?
With thanks to all of our volunteers and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation