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Final day of In:Site 14.

Apologies for the rather long gap in posting this last daily  blog for In:Site14.

The last day of 2014’s In:Site Graduate Festival of Creativity brought three more young artists to  Birmingham Cathedral Square to complete their commissions.

First up was Flora Wallace from University of Brighton. Flora is one of the first cohort of graduates from the re-launched BA 3D Design and Craft course.  Her work is inspired directly  by her environment, from which she takes mounds which she turns into hand crafted tools. These tools are then used to create surface decoration which are applied to tall vases, hand built with clay slabs.


Flora used a new biodegradable polymer to create her moulds directly from bronze’s and stone carvings from within the Cathedral.  This amazing material changed its properties in minutes of being placed in boiling water, from hard granules to a malleable gum. Flora worked quickly moulding it to her chosen detail and affixing a premade wooden handle before the polymer hardened again. Flora told me that this stuff can be reused again and again and again merely by submerging it back into hot water for a few minutes.


Flora then worked diligently for the rest of the day. Firstly rolling out slabs of air hardening clay and forming then into cylindrical vases, before creating the ornamentation using her bespoke tools and applying them to her vessels.


The final three pieces were displayed in an outside alcove of the Cathedral.

Both Harriet Rose Knight and Hazel Baker, the final two artists working in the Cathedral Square were the last of the School of Jewellery’s Continued Collective.


In a marked departure from her graduate collection, Harriet Rode Knight bravely attempted a completely new technique for her In:Site Commission. She brought along a huge amount of laser cut wooden oval and semi-oval shapes and set about painstakingly painting the pieces in black, red and grey.



Once dry she carefully drilled holes in both ends of each shape to create individual links. As the day neared an end she methodically began to screw the  links together in sets of three, forming three sophisticated interlinking necklaces.

While sticking to her interests in using found objects, Hazel Baker also chose a change in style and materials. In a last minute move away from her In:Site proposal to use decaying copper piping, sheep’s wool and pen nibs inspired by her childhood years on a farm in rural West Wales,


Hazel instead created a high tech inspired  chain by sawing up and reconnecting old circuit boards. She also turned an industrial sized electric blue net into bazar yarn and attempted to knit with it.


This experiment was duly abandoned and she settled for threading  orange plastic disks from a scrap store onto a length of rope to create  brash futuristic beading.

Thursday 11th September – The penultimate day of In:Site 14

Another sunny start, we have been so lucky this year! Abigail Heath was the first to arrive in Cathedral Square on the penultimate day of In:Site14. A BA Ceramics graduate from Cardiff School of Art, Abigail set up her workshop in a tranquil, shaded area of the park to create her plaster sculptures directly on her chosen tree.


Abigail uses adapted patterned socks, which she has cut and re-sewn with various other patterned materials as her casting moulds.


Once filled, Abigail rushed up a ladder to drape the quickly hardening plaster over the limbs of the trees. Once set the plaster forms are then carefully removed and the fabric peeled off, ready to be used again. The resulting plaster forms retain the texture and patterns of the woven materials and in some cases the colour of the dye too.


Abigail has only previously worked in cylindrical forms previously and had to overcome a number of unforeseen hurdles to successfully create her draped forms in the branches of the trees.




The final pieces looked like strange ripe fruit dripping from the tree. the unsuccessful broken attempts transformed with a careful sanding, lay on the ground emulating over ripe windfall.

The second of Artist of the day Amy Peace-Buzzard is yet another of Birmingham School of Jewellery’s Continued Collective graduates.


Amy worked under a gazebo right in the busy centre of the Square, through out what became a blisteringly hot day. Amy created scaled up versions of her jewellery, using a silicon and wax hybrid to form ethereal open ended boxes which appeared to be the most delicate objects, but were surprisingly robust.


Amy made a large interlocking framework onto which she attached her fluttering forms to in small clusters. Once finished, her piece joined the others from her collective.

More members of the Continued Collective worked with members of the public, helping them to finish the colourful garland of links they started on Tuesday.


Stefanie Cheong continued with members of Shelanu to encourage participants to make the most sophisticated pieces of jewellery from offcuts and found objects, transformed with gold leaf and her impressive array of jewellery findings.


In:Site14 – Wednesday 10th September- Day 3

Day Three of In:site 14 was another Birmingham City College dominated day.

Sarah Fowler was first up in the Cathedral Square. A graduate of the BA Art & Design course, Sarah specialised in textiles.


For her intervention she chose to concentrate on finger knitting, and wow did she knit. She produced lengths and lengths and lengths! Sarah had also created a “how-to” sheet and was encouraging people to join in and help her with her task.


Once she was happy with the amount of knitting she had produced, she set about spiralling it around the base of two trees, painstakingly stitching them together. The result was a very calming and meditative installation.

Next to start her commission was Birmingham School of Jewellery graduate and Continued Collective member Francisca Onumah.


Francisca quickly set up her makeshift workshop and busily began working copper sections. Using an array of jewellery tools she diligently created beautiful textured patterns on the surface of each rectangle before joining them together with individually made copper links.


The final necklace was then safely installed with her fellow graduates out of reach within a tall tree.

The last of todays BCU graduates came from the BA Textile Design Course. Laura-Jane Hatter has developed a technique to record what she calls “anti-maps”. Laura is interested in walking and exploring “without purpose” and uses a “travel box” which translates her journeys into a random pattern on paper. Each pattern is unique and changes dramatically depending on her mode of transport.


Once the drawing has been produced, Laura-Jane then goes on to create exquisite randomised, free flowing lace works following the lines of the “anti-maps”.


For her installation, Laura-Jane set about mapping the park with her “travel box” before creating her lace around the trunk of a tree.

Also in the park today, Stefanie Cheong, In:Site’s One-Year-On graduate presented the new incarnation of her O-Pin project which she has been developing for In:Site14 with volunteers over the past few days.


Stefanie worked with members of the public all day encouraging them to create their own jewellery from found and locally sourced scrap materials, Using an impressive array of professional tools and jewellery findings.

Stefanie will be with us all day on Thursday too. We will be presenting a film of her endeavours in tomorrows blog post.

Second day of In:Site 14 – Tuesday 9th September

Well, Tuesday was another sunny day in Birmingham Cathedral Square. We can’t believe how lucky we are.

Hayley Beckley, another of the Continued Collective graduates from the School of Jewellery started the day. She roared into action with her sewing machine at full pelt.


Hayley had her work cut out for her (please forgive the pun), as she intended to create one of her signature pleated collars, but this time it was to adorn a tree!

Hayley didn’t move from her sewing machine all day, except to do the odd bit of pressing. After 7 hours of cutting, sewing, pining and pressing she managed to finish just on time and beautifully present her work. (my camera ran out of power just at the last minute so an image will follow later)

Dora Burns arrived next. A textile graduate from Chelsea College of Art and Design, Dora had her own team, all wonderfully presented in matching hand created uniforms.


Dora interest lies in the role of pattern in communities and her intervention was based on interpreting peoples journeys through this busy City Centre park. Dora had created pattern templates inspired by the Cathedrals stain glass windows. she invited members of the public to choose a template and asked them to plot their walk through the park. She then printed this journey onto her canvas using a resist.


Once she was happy with the number of journeys on her artwork she then carefully dipped it into an indigo dye bath. once the resist had been cleaned away she presented the cloth within the square.

Also working today, Member of the Continued Collective ran participatory workshops, encouraging passers by to try their hand at some of the techniques they were employing during their commissions. They had a bit of a slow start, but as the day developed they became increasingly popular attracting people young and old. by the time we had to stop their stall was inundated. More members of the collective will be giving people a chance to have a go on Thursday.

Stefanie Cheong, our One-Year-On graduate from Glasgow School of Art also made an appearance to test out some of the ideas she had been developing the day before with members of Craftspaces own Shelanu Women’s Craft Collective, but more about that in tomorrows bog post.

First day of InSite 14 – Monday

We have been blessed with the most wonderful September sun today, which made everything so much easier to set up.

Monday’s artists were  all graduates from Birmingham School of Jewellery. they applied as a collaborative proposal with other members of a collective they formed on graduating, Each artist will attempt to make three large scale links each. their aim is to create a giant necklace.

Day 1 Monday - In:Site14

Ruth Conway started proceedings for the Continued Collective. Abbie worked with digitally printed fabric, pre printed Perspex patterns and wood. Abbie worked diligently through out the day cutting, sticking, folding, sewing and gluing. Her work steadily developing.  By the end of the day she had produced three immaculate links.

Abbie Williams  started second. Ruth had a tall order to deliver intending to cut and soder her steel frames, before spraying them white and encasing sections in plaster.

Day 1 Monday - In:Site14

Soldering with steel is a delicate operation which if not done carefully could contaminate the acid pickle used to clean the joints. Ruth was a little over ambitious and only managed to create two of her three links.

Peter Clark was the final artist to start his commission. Peter worked with a steel mesh. Peter is inspired by 1960’s decaying architecture.

Day 1 Monday - In:Site14

He produced steel boxes which he then filled sections with concrete before spraying the steel with a solution to speed up the rusting process. this solution was extremely quick and you could see the steel decay in front of your eyes. Peter was ably assisted through out the day by a passing volunteer who enabled him to successfully complete his task in the allotted time.

Disaster struck in the final hour when trying to install the tree works, resulting in Peter’s brutalist concrete monster destroying Ruth and Abby’s works.

We managed to install Peters work while Ruth and Abby will try to fix theirs and return later in the week to install.

Who you will find working each day

We have staggered the artists “performances” start and finish time each day by 15 minutes. the first slot is 11am to 5pm, the second is 11.15am to 5.15pm and third will be 11.30am to 5.30pm. Please be aware that each artist is being asked to start from scratch and have only been allowed minimal preparation time before hand. If you are a regular commuter through the square, you will see the artworks developing through the day, allowing you time to reflect on the time it takes to create bespoke works of art. If you are making a special visit to see the event, please plan your day carefully to make the most of the work on offer. We will be doing our best to document each artist’s progression through film and photography and will be posting daily blogs here.

we will also be tweeting regularly throughout each day. Please follow us @tweetcraftspace #insite14.

Monday kicks off with Abbie Williams at 11am, followed closely by Ruth Conway  and then Peter Clark.

Tuesday  will see Hayley Beckley start the day. Members of the Continued Collective Amy Peace-Buzzard and Ruth Conway will be next up with the first part of their specially commissioned participatory project. This will be a chance to try your hand at different jewellery techniques and help create a link in their collective artwork. Dora Burns will take up the last slot of the day.

Sarah Fowler will start proceedings on Wednesday, then Francisca Onumah followed by Laura-Jane Hatter.

Part two of the Continued Collective participatory project starts the day on Thursday with Francisca Onumah, Hayley Beckley  and Hazel Baker facilitating the activities. Amy Peace-Buzzard will be creating her own work at 11.15 and Abigail Heath at 11.30am.

Friday starts with Flora Wallace taking the 11am slot, Hazel Baker will be next up and finally Harriet Rose Knight has the closing commission.

Through out the week , last years graduate Stefanie Cheong will be working with a group of volunteers from Monday to Thursday. On Monday and Tuesday She will be working with the volunteers in the downstairs room of 6/8 Kafe to devise a participatory project which together they will be delivering in the square during Wednesday and Thursday 11.45am to 5.45pm.

Stefanie will then be talking to Craftspace Director Deirdre Figueiredo about this and her first year of professional practice, during a special In Conversation event on Friday at 6/8 Kafe. tickets are free but strictly limited. Book here.

We have produced a booklet for the event and an e-copy can be viewed at the Craftspace website.

An exhibition of the artist will be on show through out the week at 6/8 Kafe, a short walk from the Cathedral Square on Temple Row where you can pick up a copy of the booklet and view films of past commissions downstairs.

Preview of InSite14 Commission Winners

We are very pleased to announce the winners of this years InSite Commissions. Proposals were submitted by graduates from across the country, following an online recruitment campaign in partnership with A-N the artists information company. The Craftspace team also visited degree shows across the West Midlands region and London, including New Designers, the UK’s largest graduate design exhibition. All proposals were considered by selection panel, this year consisting of Simon Taylor, Head of Learning at Ikon Gallery and Jane McArdle, Heritage Manager for Birmingham Cathedral.

This years commissioned artists graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Birmingham School of Jewellery, Chelsea College of Art & Design, University of Brighton, and Birmingham City University.

Abigail inSite14

Amy InSite14

Dora InSite14

Flora InSite14

Fran Insite14

HArriet InSite14

Hayley InSite14

Hazel InSite14

Laura InSite14

Peter InSite14

Ruth InSite14

Sarah InSite14

Abbe InSite14

IKON Gallery Head of Learning, Selector for #InSite14 : Deadline 20 July

With the degree shows over and New Designers in full swing, now is the time for Graduates to be thinking of their next step.

Through In:Site14, Craftspace will be offering 15 paid commissions for new graduates and post graduates to create ambitious new work that makes a step change beyond their degree show.

Craftspace are very pleased to announce that Simon Taylor, the Head of Learning at IKON Gallery will be selecting this years commissions. With a background in ceramics and a career long interest in contemporary craft sector Simon is placed to spot promising new talent.

The deadline for submitting proposals is Sunday 20th July 2014. Please visit the Students page to find out more and download a proposal pack.


Feeney Trust Enables InSite Graduate Commission Payments

Craftspace is proud to announce that In:Site graduate festival of creativity 2014 is being supported by the John Feeney Charitable Trust. The grant has been awarded specifically to benefit new graduates directly and will enable Craftspace to attach a fee payment to each successful commission for the first time. 

Craftspace has been piloting the concept of a festival where emerging applied arts graduates are selected to create commissioned temporary, bespoke artworks. Working within Birmingham Cathedral Square, each graduate has a day to make their creative intervention on-site, turning the making process into a performance. The daily performances, sometimes participatory, are intended to gradually fill the square with installations.

In:Site has showcased 21 applied arts graduates over the last two years. Up to now we have not been able to pay or resource the graduates appropriately to create ambitious new work that makes a step change beyond their degree show. Financial constraints during the pilot phases meant that we were only able to offer exhibitors limited expenses. This years grant from the Feeney Trust will incentivise commissions and enable us to select the most talented and exceptional emerging makers graduating from local, regional and national courses. 

Craftspace will be offering 15 paid commissions to new graduates and post graduates. Each commission will have a fee of £150 plus travel expenses and limited materials budget. for more information please 2014 Proposals page.