How to create a soundboard with artist Molly Macleod

We caught up with multidisciplinary artist Molly Macleod about her creative career and how to visualise sound. It's part of the Artist Workshop with Voice series, funded by Arts Council England

How to create a soundboard with artist Molly Macleod

On September 3rd 2020 we held a live interview and practical workshop with multidisciplinary and sound artist Molly Macleod. We would love to share with you the advice and practical methods we learnt in the following how-to guide. 

Interview with Molly Macleod

Molly Macleod joined us live on Instagram before her workshop where she shared more about her recent creative projects and experience of the creative sector. 

Firstly, Molly chatted through her creative process. She works in a multi-sensory way and is particularly interested in how we can visualise natural sounds and immerse an audience into a world of sound, touch and visuals. 

As an example, Molly spoke about her interactive project Sonoras, where she enabled audiences to see the naturally imitated rhythm of ocean waves. Viewers could add their own moment into the soundscape by throwing a pebble into the water, thus creating a unique disruption to the audible sea waves. 

Molly also shared advice for creatives working in any field. She encouraged artists to be open-minded, enthusiastic and curious, stating that professionals will then share their knowledge and experience, therefore enhancing both creative projects and the artists future.

To encourage those who are promoting inclusion in the arts industry, Molly said: “I always strive to make my work accessible to people who have never been to a gallery or exhibition before.”

You can watch the full interview here.

Artist Workshop with Molly Macleod

Following the interview, Molly conducted a Zoom workshop and gave us an introduction to active listening. 

Listening exercise: bullseye

Step One: Draw three circles, one inside another, to resemble a bullseye. Each circle will visually represent a layer of sound that you can hear. The drawing should look like this. 


Step Two: Spend two minutes listening to sounds which are the very furthest away from you, and try visualising these onto the outer circle. It could be that you chose to write words, sketch shapes, use shading or anything else!

Step Three: Move onto the middle ring and here you will be visualising the sounds that are close to you. For example, think about what noise is in your building or your room. Think about how you can represent that sound on paper. 

Step Four: Now we’re looking at the innermost ring and we’re listening to sounds that are inside us or extremely close to us. What does it sound like when you swallow? What noise does the pencil make on paper? Think about very acute sounds here. 

You have successfully completed an active listening exercise! If you wanted to extend the project, you could think about what natural materials you can source to further represent sound visually. Leaves, flowers and natural pigments could be a good starting point. 

If you’d like to continue active listening, Molly suggested two microphones which you could invest in to help you hear closely. A telephone microphone will help you hear interference from electronic devices whilst a contact microphone will enable you to listen to sounds your ears otherwise wouldn’t be able to pick up. 

More artist interviews and workshops

Thanks to Arts Council England, we're excited to be offering you a whole series of artist workshops. Join us as we interview creatives and then hand over to them to run a workshop! Perfect if you're doing an Arts Award and need to find out about an artist's work and career.

Header Image Credit: Vessels (Molly Macleod)


Sienna James

Sienna James Voice Team

Formerly Assistant Editor, Sienna now studies History of Art at the University of Cambridge and loves to write about the intersection of politics, history and visual art. Sienna is author of the Creative Education and Instaviews series.

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