Over the past year we have been very fortunate to have had the pleasure of three visiting artists enriching our weekend teaching. We started the year off with Alison Mercer followed by Sian Hughes and then Louise Shenstone. Each artist offered an invaluable insight into their professional practice commencing the day with an illustrated talk about their own work, as well as that of others, before engaging everyone in some very inspiring workshops.
Alison’s practice led workshop(s) aimed to develop a place from which concepts of research methods, evidence collection and interpretation were explored. This was be conducted through the messiness of a Techne workshop: creative devices in the form of an artefact- book, imbuing experience, creating new methodological processes, unlocking the creative key Episteme and the opening of a liminal space of reflection.
Artist Sian Hughes works with a range of materials but is currently using porcelain paper clay and latex. She has recently received an Arts Council of Wales Research and Development grant to explore these materials further in Fragments in Time in the hinterland landscape of Traeth Mawr, Porthmadog.
Sian also works to commission with her colleague Sarah Jane Richards where they have just completed two hospital commissions in Swansea; for the Brain Trauma Injury Unit in Morriston Hospital and for Fendrod Male Ward in Cefn Coed acute mental health Hospital Swansea. They are also currently the artist team working in the North of England for Back from the Brink a national conservation project for RSPB.
Sian’s workshop and engagement experience lies in a variety of settings – broadly speaking in arts in health. She is currently engaged with Lost in Art for people living with dementia, and Creative Alternatives for participants with mild to moderate mental health issues, as well as Still Life for people coping with bereavement and the Escape Artist group for ex-offenders in transition. She also works with students in Criw Celf and Portffolio.
Sian delivered an amazing workshop based around creating Cyanotypes.
Our third inspiring artist, Louise Shenstone, graduated from Sheffield with a BA (Hons.) in Fine Art and went on to receive a bursary to produce work for “The British Polaroid Show” followed by a post as Photographic Fellow at Oxford Polytechnic. She moved to Cardiff in 1985 whilst teaching part time at Falmouth School of Art. It was there that she met, and joined “The Pioneers” and began her 30 year involvement with participatory arts. Since that time Louise has produced works with communities throughout South Wales, England and the United States in partnership with Adrian Butler and as Head of Visual Arts for Artis Community.
Louise currently works as a free-lance artist, producer and arts manager and is a Creative Agent for two Primary schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf as part of the Arts Council of Wales Lead Creative Schools scheme.