my first proposal

Discuss your current arts-based practice and/ or professional experience.

Having completed an exhibition for the ATS scheme in August, my current work is very much in the early stages. My current practice includes running a ceramic jewellery business in a 6×8 shed we inherited when we moved into our house almost 5 years ago. For the first time in my life I had a physical space where I could escape to and create whatever I felt like. The business has been established for over 3 years now and is ticking along nicely. Initially, it was a bit of everything – ceramics, crochet, textiles, paintings – but as time has gone on the ceramics has won out and over the last 12 months I have refined from 30 different ranges down to just 8, all based on a combination of ceramics and photography. Whilst exhibiting at a trade fair in April 2012 I had a conversation with the RBSA, about my work being sold in their shop, but ending up in discussing teaching projects that they had planned in the next year. This ended up being two school projects, one primary and one secondary, all based around The Arts Award, which is very similar to Duke of Edinburgh award, but just for arts. Whilst working on these projexts it became more apparent that I had finally outgrown my little shed and I began to find the space very restrictive both physically and creatively. As a result I saved every penny from the projects and this summer I have installed a 14×10 cabin. Whilst this may all seem like just an excuse to be self indulgent in my new shed, it struck me how stuck I was in the old space, but just by giving myself that little bit more, the old creative juices have started flowing again. Inside there is not necessarily a lot more physical space as I added more storage and a much larger kiln, which has to have a certain area of clearance, but yet it felt like a cloud had been lifted. This then made me think, do artists need a particular amount of space to work in without feeling too restricted? At the same time this summer my dad bought a railway carriage to have as a holiday home. Frequently used after the second world war to solve the housing shortage in south east England, the carriage is a two bedroomed affair, with separate sitting room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. This made me think again about the amount of space we choose to inhabit. Would it not be a fairer world if we all only had 1 railway carriage to use? How would we all use it differently? How many variations could there be to maximise the space? I had grand daydreams of installing a whole railway carriage in the top studio space at Margaret Street but that would possibly involve taking the roof off so may not be a popular option!

I’m not interested in interior design, or how to make a home look pretty, or “how spaces should be comfortable to the soul in an airy fairy zen type fashion” but more the cubic footage of space we have the potential to use.

As part of the MAAPE we were asked to track our art education, which mine begins at primary school. As a result of looking for images of said school, I stumbled on images of the estate I grew up on until I was 8. For both buildings design awards had been won. There is little information about my school, but plenty about the span house I grew up in; something that again is a clever use of space (just 4.9mx8.1m), and is provided for the masses too. [How much of an impact has being exposed to that architecture at a young age influenced my taste? (also Camberwell college of art building)]

If you combine all the above then it comes down to cubic space, how much does an artist need to create in, how much space do we really need to live in.

 Aims: what do you hope to achieve and why?

I find this quite difficult to answer, but in some way I would like to be able to quantify what amount of space different types of artists need to be creative in (fine art/designers/writers/dancers), similarly I am interested in the conflict between excessive personal space and lack of suitable housing (not politics). I am not an architect but I suspect elements to do with architectural design may begin to influence this, although equally important is the ready made nature of the cabin/shed and railway carriage (whether that just manifests itself in basing the design around wood is a possibility).  I don’t think I am interested in producing perfect scale models of studios, although that would solve a lot of the physical/cost/time elements, although I am interested in looking at scale drawings by Bauhaus et al. I seriously doubt there will be any connection to my ceramic business apart from reference to the shed. I’m not interested in the recent trend for people adding garden rooms to their homes either. Or any spiritual namby pamby.

(as a side note I seem to have an accentuated skill in perceiving spatial capability – planning of exhibitions through to packing up orders in boxes)

Overall, I guess it will come down to cubic footage in relation to physical activity.




Reading Material

Bauhaus isometric design – Bauhaus Fiedler, Jeannine; Feierabend, Peter Book . English. Published Cologne : Könemann 2000

Bauhaus: a conceptual model Martin-Gropius-Bau (Berlin); Thöner, Wolfgang Book . English.

Published Ostfildern : Hatje Cantz 2009 – report on how the LSC determines space for new build FE & He colleges – literal measurements of cubic space by type of student

Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios: Britian’s Artists and their Studios Hossein Amirsadeghi

Artist’s Studios by M.J. Long

Design and Art (Documents of Contemporary Art) by Alex Coles

The studio. Published London : Whitechapel Gallery /MIT Press 2012

Architecture: Form, Space, and Order, Ching, Francis

Space Matters: Exploring Spatial Theory and Practice Today, Feireiss, Lukas

Modern Architecture: A Critical History, Frampton, Kenneth

Order in Space: A Design Source Book, Critchlow, Keith

Space craft: fleeting architecture and hideouts Feireiss, Lukas; Klanten, Robert

Human space, Bollnow, Otto Friedrich, 1903-1991

Make space: how to set the stage for creative collaboration Doorley, Scott; Witthoft, Scott

Place advantage: applied psychology for interior architecture Augustin, Sally

The social logic of space Hillier, Bill; Hanson, Julienne

Rachel Whiteread Drawings

Rachel Whiteread’s House John Bird

(Craft, space and interior design, 1855-2005 Alfoldy, Sandra, 1969-; Helland, Janice)

(Human dimension & interior space: a source book of design reference standards Panero, Julius; Zelnik, Martin)


Artists etc:

Erno Goldfinger, Le Corbusier, frank Lloyd wright etc

Tony Cragg, Stack (maximum space filled in cube form – interesting as a way to squash all elements into a cube form, and also how the artist manipulated the set size to fill it with so many elements) 


this was followed by images of these artists in their studios

Lucien freud, francis bacon, Pollock, Le Corbusier, Henry moore, Alexander calder, Georgia o’keefe, Claude monet, Frank Lloyd Wright

and finally some studios i used to drive past in london which were purpose built for artists

St Paul’s studios London


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