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Interning with Eden Project – Meet designer and maker Lucy Richards

We caught up with Lucy to find out more about her multidisciplinary approach to design and craftsmanship, spanning glass, wood, and metal, what it was like to work in the Eden Project, and why she feels like investing in building relationships and technical skills continues to open professional doors for her.
<p dir="ltr">Multidisciplinary designer and maker <a href="">Lucy Richards</a> has gone from strength to strength since graduating from BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts (now <a href="">BA (Hons) Craft &amp; Material Practices</a>) at Arts University Plymouth last summer. </p> <p dir="ltr">Now working as a General Glass Assistant at Teign Valley Glass Studios, during the Summer Shows 2023 Lucy won the 45 Southside Galleries’ Graduate Showcase Award and was selected as the recipient of a work placement with Eden Project, the renowned educational charity and eco visitor attraction in Cornwall. Lucy’s work will also be featured in acclaimed exhibition space, <a href="">MAKE South West</a> from 4 March to 4 May 2024, and was commended in the Contemporary Glass Society’s (CGS) <a href="">Graduate Review 2023</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">We caught up with Lucy to find out more about her multidisciplinary approach to design and craftsmanship, spanning glass, wood, and metal, what it was like to work in the Eden Project, and why she feels like investing in building relationships and technical skills continues to open professional doors for her.<br /></p>
Lucy Richards, BA (Hons) Craft and Material Practices graduate

Lucy Richards

<p dir="ltr">Lucy’s final degree project, ‘Navigate: A Series of Markers’, was a series of mixed media sculptures inspired by the variety of coastal and oceanic navigation markers that Lucy has encountered around Plymouth Sound and Mount Batten. These symbolic brightly coloured buoys assist with navigation, data collection and are specific to coastlines. Lucy wanted to highlight these essential everyday objects that stood out on her adventures around Plymouth “like accidental sculptures”. Abstracting these architectural forms down to the basics of colour and shape, Lucy used the materials qualities to imply movement, light and stability. At times during her studies Lucy felt as if she was “lost at sea” in her creative practice, so these waymarkers became poignant symbols to help her navigate her specialisms of glass and metal.<br /></p>
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The Eden Project

<p dir="ltr">During her degree Lucy was commissioned to make a piece for Mount Edgcumbe Country Park in Cornwall, reinterpreting a bust of the Virgin Mary in the Earl’s Garden and rebuilding it with a variety of materials in horizontal layers. Using a 3D scan to create the original design, visitors to the country park can see the bust through a new perspective, combining digital and material metamorphosis. Lucy has also exhibited at New Designers in London, Bovey Tracey Craft Fair, PS1 at Arts University Plymouth and at Leadworks Gallery in Plymouth.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The curatorial team from Eden Project attended our Summer Show and selected me for an internship with them based on my final major project at university, ‘Navigate: A Series of Markers’ The Eden team told me that they really liked the subject matter that I had chosen and the execution of my idea.”<br /></p>
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<p dir="ltr">During her time at the Eden Project, Lucy acted as an Assistant in the Core Gallery for the ‘Acts of Gathering’ exhibition. This involved monitoring attendance, stewarding the space, interacting with and surveying visitors, and got involved with the clay art workshops.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Working with Eden Project definitely helped me to gain confidence working with members of the public in a gallery setting, which has been invaluable in my current role, acting as General Glass Assistant at Teign Valley Glass studios, within the House of Marbles.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Lucy first began volunteering with Teign Valley Glass during her studies at Arts University Plymouth, an experience that she built upon after graduation by taking advantage of work experience opportunities in E&amp;M Glass and Bristol Blue Glass.<br /></p>
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Lucy Richards at the Summer Show

<p dir="ltr">“With experience of working in several professional glass studios I was able to return to Teign Valley Glass and feel confident in accepting a position with them as part of a team working under the hot shop and gallery manager Richard Glass. It really shows that if you give your time to people and do the work to build those relationships, you’ll receive a lot back in return.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Reflecting on her time at Arts University Plymouth, Lucy credits the university for providing an environment rich in facilities and expertise, which played a crucial role in shaping her career trajectory.<br /></p>
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Lucy's work at the Summer Show

<p dir="ltr">"I chose Arts University Plymouth for the workshop facilities and location,” Lucy said. “I did visit similar degree courses in Falmouth and London but nothing really stood out until I arrived here. Arts University Plymouth offered the most craft facilities, including hot glass blowing and metal work. The degree also offered a community around it to help nurture those craft skills, from the community art spaces in Flameworks, artist studios in Royal William Yard at Ocean Studios, plus links to KARST gallery and The Box, and so much more. I hadn’t really considered studying glass until I visited Arts University Plymouth, but after having a taster session I was hooked.”<br /></p>
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<p dir="ltr">Arts University Plymouth’s spacious Materials Lab includes specialist facilities for ceramics, glass, metal and wood, encouraging BA (Hons) Craft &amp; Material Practices students to explore traditional making alongside rapid digital prototyping facilities in Fab Lab Plymouth. Students have the opportunity to reinvent craft for the 21st century, meeting some of the UK’s most inventive and entrepreneurial contemporary makers and thinkers through studio visits, demonstrations, and presentations.</p> <p dir="ltr">BA (Hons) Craft &amp; Material Practices at Arts University Plymouth includes opportunities to study:</p><ul><li><p dir="ltr">Specialist ceramics techniques such as throwing, slip casting, slab-building, coiling, glazing, and raku firing.</p></li><li><p dir="ltr">Glass methods including hot glass making, kiln-formed glass, coldworking and lampworking.</p></li><li><p dir="ltr">Metal-working opportunities including casting, welding, and grinding.</p></li><li><p dir="ltr">Wood-working methods including woodturning, joinery, and CNC routing.</p></li><li><p dir="ltr">Cutting-edge skills in the Fab Lab including laser cutting, CNC milling and 3D printing.</p></li></ul> <p>To find out more about BA (Hons) Craft &amp; Material Practices at Arts University Plymouth, visit the next <a href="">Open Day</a> on Saturday 23 March from 10am until 2pm.</p>