Degree show – 10 weeks to go!

I’ve been a mature student with the Open College of the Arts for a long time and all of a sudden, the end is nigh! This June I will have my graduation show, a collaborative effort with another student who has been on a similar degree path to me. The exhibition, titled Trace2018 will be held at the Pie Factory gallery in Margate from 8th to 12th June. In this blog I’ll attempt to give a flavour of the last few frantic weeks of preparation and explain the ideas behind the work that visitors will see. This first post establishes the context of this last part of my undergraduate experience.

Level 3 on the degree pathway is all about producing “a tightly produced, conceptually robust” body of work “that is presentable to a public audience”. The anticipated outcome is that through this process, a sustainable, professional practice will be established. Studying part time (and working full time), this level has taken just over two years so far – graduation is about a year away with key assessment points in November and March. The problem with this type of study is the lack of tutor contact time and the isolation of working alone; I have established relationships with other students, but this is mostly online and on occasional study days. It is however the only practical form of study for those of us having to hold down a day job or with other commitments or complications and I have largely enjoyed and been enriched by the experience.

My chosen subject for this body of work is the glove, initially prompted by an example found in the street, used as a metaphor for individual experience set against the wider narratives to which society is subjected. Over the last couple of years, my research has revealed the complex history of the garment and the rich symbolism and meaning with which it is imbued. I have also harvested an abundance of ‘found’ gloves from the streets of East London, the canal sides of Amsterdam and the sea-front at Margate – all of which will play their part in Trace2018. These provided my models, materials and tools for what I hope to be an immersive and thought provoking experience.

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