Category Archives: Residency

Guest Post: Rebecca Milling, RSA artist-in-residence

Guest blog post from Rebecca Milling:

I have been lucky enough to receive funding from the Royal Scottish Academy Residency Scheme, to spend time at North Lands Creative Glass. I am learning the art of scientific glass blowing so that I can make glass sculptures which have required skill to produce before I take photographs which capture the instant of their destruction. My latest series of work has involved building glass structures from off cuts of picture frame glass, in an attempt to build as high as possible without any particular thought or skill attributed to the construction.

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Week 1 – July 2013
I’ve never travelled as far north as Lybster before so the six and a half hour drive up from Edinburgh was filled with excitement and anticipation of what I was going to discover during my first week learning the art of scientific glass blowing. Arriving to find huge and fully equipped workshops with Michael Bullen, an enthusiastic and dedicated technician, I was not disappointed at the mind blowing potential of what could be achieved!

Trying to focus on my original plan, I was very happy to meet my tutor, Ian Pearson, an expert in his field and immediately keen to point out to me that he can make anything out of glass – just say it and he will make it! Ian loves to show off his prowess working in the flame as I looked on wondering what I had let myself in for.

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However, Ian gave me little time to back out and I was turning, spinning and blowing in no time

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Ian was not keen on the large metal hammer in my photographs and so made me a glass one in about 10 minutes proving his point that he really can make anything!

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I was left to my own devices on days 2 and 3 faced with this workbench, many glass spindles and Ian’s instructions hastily scrawled on a notebook the day before.

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I set to work and as you can see came up with these uneven/organic glass forms_MG_4996

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I became fond of them and gradually, especially after another day’s teaching, they became smoother and I started to feel a bit more in control of the limitations of my newfound medium. It also became evident that the scope to play with reflection and distortion in the glass shapes was going to be a key element for future photographs. I returned home with a car full of distorted and wonky glass tubes – some better than others!

During my first week, I also took the opportunity to drive the 30 miles north to John O’Groats one evening and then to the most northerly point in mainland Britain – Dunnet Head. Castletown Harbour was well worth a visit too.

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Week 2 October 2013
Having spent time in the studio back home where I’d been able to experiment with what I had made during my first week, I returned to North Lands with a mission to make as many organic shapes as possible with smooth unridged bubbles to get best effects for reflection and distortion. I had ordered various tube widths and varying wall thicknesses of tubing to try and get different sizes when blowing.

I had asked Ian to leave spindles out for me so that I could get to work immediately. I was also keen to try working with soda tubing as well as pyrex. Soda tubing breaks much more easily than pyrex tubing so I wanted to put this to the test considering that my ultimate intention was to smash my sculpture, it seemed logical to work with the material which would smash most easily and hopefully dramatically.

Ian was a little taken aback at the prospect of working with soda but game as ever and delighting in the inevitable regular explosions which came from working with a more unstable material. I enjoyed working with the soda and liked the extra malleable qualities of it and how it retained its heat for longer.

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It must be noted that when faced with a large metal hammer being thrown at the blown thin walled organic shapes – both pyrex and soda smashed just as well and it was impossible to tell the difference!

I spent 4 days blowing glass and had eventually taken over the workshop with my efforts.

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Ian made me an awful lot of spindles to blow and I also gave him the challenge to blow large and even elongated bubbles so that I could experiment with regular reflection.

A team of happy helpers turned up at the weekend and we set to work first of all in the sheltered courtyard taking photographs against black velvet and also in the garden of the house shooting with the dusk sky as a backdrop.

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Please see www.rebeccamilling.com Reflective Construction to see more of the final images from that week.

I have again come home with a car full of glass and am planning my next adventure to North Lands in 2014.

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Artists in Residence

You can follow the adventures of our A Forest of Glass artists in residence on the Creative Futures website

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(l-r Wil Sideman, Laura Reid, Madeline Mackay, Heather Gillespie)

A Forest of Glass is part of Creative Futures, a Creative Scotland talent development programme which aims to promote the professional development, capabilities, connectivity and ambitions of Scotland’s creative practitioners and organisations.

www.creativescotland.com
www.creativefutureshq.com

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A Forest of Glass

Our residency, A Forest of Glass, began on 21 October. The four artists Heather Gillespie, Madeline Mackay, Laura Reid from the UK and Wil Sideman from the US arrived safely in Lybster and spent the week preparing their materials and themselves for their eight week adventure.

The project is a partnership between North Lands Creative Glass and the Borgie Forest Cabin Project, with the support of the Forestry Commission Scotland. A Forest of Glass is part of Creative Futures, a Creative Scotland talent development programme which aims to promote the professional development, capabilities, connectivity and ambitions of Scotland’s creative practitioners and organisations.  www.creativescotland.com  www.creativefutureshq.com

They’ll be staying and working here – North Lands Creative Glass Studio

North Lands Creative Glass Studio

and here! This is Borgie Forest Cabin.

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Borgie Forest is one of the most northerly forests in the UK. The artists will be working in the landscape (in somewhat cooler weather than the pictures suggest) using engraving tools and techniques and creating their own Highland adventure.

Here’s Wil Sideman in the Studio this week.

Wil Sideman in the Studio

We asked them for their first impressions…

Heather Gillespie:
I have been in Lybster for a few days now and so far it has been a wonderful experience meeting the local people and staff at North Lands. So far meeting engraver Denis Mann has been my highlight, such a sweet man with many years of experience underneath his belt which he is willing to pass on to me and the other residents, it is a true honour for him to be with us.

As from tomorrow I will find myself living and working in a forest, a daunting prospect of having no access to internet, phone, tv or radio, just glass machinery to keep me entertained. It’s exciting but at the same time terrifying!

I have heard the forest and surrounding areas and beaches house spectacular views, which I am looking forward seeing and gathering inspiration for my new works. It’s going to be interesting 8 weeks, one which I think could change my way of thinking and making work.

Laura Reid:
Being up in Lybster again has been amazing so far, it’s one of my favourite places. It’s been good getting to know the other residents and seeing some familiar faces, and I’m looking forward to heading out to the Borgie forest and getting stuck into some engraving on location. I’m excited about what’s coming next!’

Madeline Mackay:
After a busy first week getting to grips with a new medium, I’m looking forward to heading off for Borgie to do some serious drawing and put what I’ve learned into practice. Bring on the wilderness…

Wil Sideman:
This residency represents several unknowns to me both as an artist and as an individual. I have travelled to a new country, I am exploring a new technique and with the introduction of the Borgie Forest, I will be living and working in a very different environment. I have been excited to participate in this residency because I knew it would break me out of my comfort zone and challenge me to expand as an artist.

I could not have been happier to step off the bus at the end of my long journey and be greeted by a fantastic community, welcoming staff and three other excited and hardworking residents. I am unaware of what will come but I am trying to embrace everything that comes my way.

And they headed off today to Borgie Forest.

Borgie Forest

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Hot Glass Residency Opportunity

HOT GLASS RESIDENCY: 1 April to 10 May 2013

Deadline: 16 November 2012

North Lands Creative Glass is offering a six week residency for four talented artists working in hot glass. We are looking for artists who have an interest in exploring new forms of making, or ways of working, through collaboration. The residency will offer the opportunity to create work and collaborate with other artists while also developing new techniques and ideas. This opportunity will allow you to enhance your own practice while working within a peer group to share and gain further skills. Artists-in-residence benefit from a comprehensive range of facilities in the Alastair Pilkington Studio.

The selection panel will make the residency awards by 14 December 2012

This residency is supported by Creative Scotland.
This opportunity is open to artists worldwide.

For more detailed information:
http://www.northlandsglass.com/whats-on/residencies
E-mail: info@northlandsglass.com
Telephone +44(0)1593 721229

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A little catch up post

Time seems to have escaped us and it’s been a while since the last blog post, so a little catch up is needed.

Since May we have seen our Artists in Residence depart to their distant homes, Michael Bullen, our Studio Technical Manager and talented artist has delivered a very successful Skills Class: Glass Painting Techniques and we are currently coming to the end of a nine-day International Student Symposium; ‘Highland Inspiration – Location and Self’ with Michael Rogers and Jane Bruce.  Students have come from The Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, and the Montana State University School of Architecture, Bozeman.

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Mixed-media Artist Residency – call for applications

4 September – 23 November 2012

North Lands Creative Glass and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop are working in partnership to offer a nine-week residency for four visual artists. We are looking for two sculptors and two glass artists who have an interest in exploring new forms of making through collaboration. A high level of experience in hot casting processes either in metal or glass is preferable.

This residency is part of Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures programme

More information and application details on our website

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Artists in Residence

We’re very excited about our upcoming Spring residency; Kiln Forming and Kiln Casting. The residency runs from 16 April – 10 June 2012 and we have four artists who we’re sure will bring very special qualities to North Lands. We can’t wait to see what they do in there time here.

The artists are:

Megan Biddle, USA;
Jennifer Ashley King, Australia;
Melinda Willis, Australia;
Carrie Iverson, USA.

A few pictures of their work by way of introduction, thanks to the artists for permission to use these images.

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