Rachel was nominated by her teacher for her progress made in ceramics for her Gold Arts Award. They said 'Rachel is hard working, creative, strong on detail and very gentle. She invited guests and visitors to her studio for an exhibition of new works, where she welcomed, discussed and presented her new work on her own. Rachel's Gold Arts Award journey was truly transformational for her, and, her parents, it has given Rachel confidence in her ability and practice to make and sell her work, which she has continued to do.'
In what ways would you say your Arts Award has influenced your artistic achievement, creativity, leadership or progress?
Before I started working for my Arts Award I went to ceramics workshops, and made things for myself using basic skills, and focusing on textures and mark making. My tutors, Sue and Geri, at Fired Thoughts, suggested I start working for the award, and this opened up the way I approached new work. I started by trying new techniques, and became happy to try new ideas alone. I began to think ahead to how I could develop work, and began to look at different types of 'image transfer' onto clay.
I went to a collagraph printmaking workshop, where Genny Lavers helped me to make the plates and print them. We thought about ways of using this technique with clay, and I then went on to use my ideas to experiment making a series of ceramic pots, boxes and tiles using collagraph techniques. I was really pleased with the results, and with comments made by other people! I have continued to use these skills, separately and combined, in my work.
How has participating in an Arts Award impacted your artistic skills or career development?
Whilst doing the award I had several opportunities to display my work, and even had a ceramic picture accepted in an open exhibition – it was exciting to see it on display alongside work by professional artists! I also put on a solo 'pop-up' exhibition of the work I did for the award, and have a comment book which is very special, and have also sold smaller items on four market stalls.
I am a shy, quiet person, but have become far more confident dealing with other people, including customers, and I contacted other artists to ask for advice. I even interviewed two artists by email – one in Toronto, and one in New Jersey - and met up with another who was slightly more local! They were all very generous with their time and advice. I feel my communication skills have improved generally as well, because of my increased confidence.
What's next for you?
I have a new kiln! I am looking at different ways of working, combining techniques and mixing materials. I have started working with porcelain clay, and used glass with this. I am still looking at printing, texturing, mark making and embellishing my ceramics in different ways. I am looking at different ways of working for different purposes – private/commission/commercial. I am looking at ways to promote and sell my work, locally and through social media.
What are your career aims?
Currently I am making new work, using the skills and techniques I have developed, and hope to hold another exhibition soon, either on my own, or with other artists.
Have you got any advice for other young people working towards an Arts Award?
Making a photo record of work is helpful! I did so much I couldn't remember it all! Have the confidence to approach other artists for advice – I was really surprised at how much help they were happy to give me.
Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2019.