Friday, 14 July 2017

Be creative, who knows where it may take you!

Tracy Nicholls is our current Artist in Residence. Here she tells us about her role and how she got into working with glass. 

Glass piece from 'Fragile Lace' series
Fragile Lace Series III

No one understands what your job is

Black and white portrait of Tracy smiling
I originally trained in childcare and worked as a nanny, which was much easier to explain! But as Artist in Residence, I get to use the Art School as my studio to work on my own practice. It garners the interest of the students and I get a lot of questions. I talk with them about the machines and techniques I use that they may not have come across before. It has put me back into a creative environment rather than working on my own, getting feedback and engaging with others.

Adult education is addictive

I attended many classes here to start with – interior design and painting and decorating amongst others before I discovered glass on an evening course, and I haven’t looked back. The tutors at Richmond Art School cajoled me to enrol onto an HNC course which I was reluctant to do. Jera (Head of the Art School) came into the class every week and stood by the machine I was working on until I finally gave in! I ended up doing an HNC, HND and then an MA at Farnham. I feel the solid teaching I received at RACC helped me achieve this and my further success. 

You’d never believe how expensive glass equipment is

Erosion #3
Some of the blades in glass equipment and machinery are lined with diamonds, so they are not the kind of thing you can easily have at home! Another reason it’s great to use the facilities at your local arts education establishment.

The opportunities for makers in London are amazing

There are lots of competitions and exhibitions in London that can really help to get your work seen as a new maker. I exhibited at New Designers which was brilliant, and came runner up in the Worshipful Company of Glass Student Award. Being selected for Collect 17 was amazing and daunting in equal amounts. It’s such a large and highly regarded show at the Saatchi Gallery, and I wanted everything to be as good as I could make it. My work can now be found in museums as well as private collections and publications – I would have never imagined it!

It’s never too late to try something new

To anyone wanting to try something new – go for it. You never know where it may take you, and you can always keep trying different things. Don’t be intimidated by others who may have been doing something longer than you, everyone was a beginner once and in your position. Even Grayson Perry first got into ceramics through an adult evening class!

Fragile glass piece
Ethereality 523

You can come and see Tracy's work in our current exhibition in our atrium, or see one of her pieces on show at Vessel Gallery this summer. You can also find out more through her website. Fancy trying glass yourself? Check out our upcoming courses.


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