Playful and sorrowful landscapes – Craft & Material Practices Ones to Watch 2023
Arts University Plymouth’s BA (Hons) Craft & Material Practices degree explores both functional and expressive design, developing an understanding and relationship with a range of craft media including ceramics, hot and cold glass, metalwork, jewellery, biomaterials, wood, natural fibres, polymers and other materials.
From blowing glass with Netflix’s Blown Away winner Elliot Walker to commissions featured at Cornwall’s Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, here’s a roundup of some of the most innovative and ambitious graduates from Arts University Plymouth’s Summer Shows and Class of 2023:
21-year-old Tyrone Vera’s work responds to the act of playing, interpreted through a variety of materials such as rubber, foam, jesmonite and fabric. His final major projects at Arts University Plymouth, ‘Play + Work = Plork’ and ‘A Playful Landscape’, were inspired by responses to the senses of sight, touch, smell and sound. Tyrone invites the audience to interact with the forms in ‘Plork’ by stacking and connecting using a variety of methods from magnets to velcro. His work is about the sensory experience when engaged in the act of play.
Originally from Gibraltar, Tyrone moved to the UK to study. He has created a series of large scale inflatable building blocks for ‘A Playful Landscape’. Inspired by buildings found in Plymouth’s city centre, through a series of abstraction and translation into ripstop fabric, these rigid forms have been softened so that they possess child-like distortions of geometry with similarities to Claes Oldenburg’s soft sculptures.
At this year’s Summer Show Awards, Tyrone received the Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation Award for his outstanding creative and academic achievement alongside a sustained contribution to the university’s community through his work as a Student Ambassador.
During his time at New Designers, Tyrone was selected by the New Designers Director as One to Watch as well as winning the Habitat Loves award, including one month’s work experience at Habitat. Tyrone’s eye-catching work has also been featured by Dezeen, Aesthetica and a-n.
Samantha Jones is a conceptual artist working in mixed media with a strong focus on thanatology, a visual commentary on grief and the significance of remembering a loved one.
Samantha works in metal, textiles, weaving, wire manipulation and glass. Her work is often site specific, informed by the area and people around it and is driven by her keen interest in research into memory, history and what is lost. Samantha looks for ways to remember, using the materials that inform our lives, while using light and shadows to emphasise the ephemerality and fragility of life.
Using her personal experiences of bereavement, Samantha proposes new conversations around western societies’ relationship with death, loss and memorial. Looking at the symbology surrounding her father’s life, Samantha has created a visual and emotive encounter.
Her final major project, ‘Stand Sure’, creates a series of rectangular empty vessels that hold 72 metres of coiled wire equivalent to his life span. The empty vessels diminish in size to represent the DNA link from father to daughter to grandchildren. The shadows are the ephemeral link between father and those left behind. The steel wire has been crocheted with yarn to capture the colours of the Cairngorms mountains, an area in Scotland where Samantha’s father originated and where she has many memories of time together.
At the Arts University Plymouth Summer Shows 2023 Samantha was selected as the winner of the Board of Governors Award, recognising her outstanding quality of work and academic achievements.
Originally from Turkey, Zeynep Korun has a deep connection to her country and culture. Since catching the ‘glass bug’ she has been blowing glass with passion and patience, taking inspiration from Turkish motifs and impactful events that have taken place in Turkey.
Although her passion lies in hot glass, Zeynep uses mixed media such as plaster, concrete, ceramics and metal in her work to elevate her designs and contribute to the context of her work. She believes in the value of things that take time and effort which inspires her thoughtful and time consuming engraved glass forms.
‘Grief Game’, Zeynep’s final major project focuses on the socio-political strand of her practice, following the colossal earthquake that struck Turkey on 6 February 2023. Zeynep felt obligated to create a body of work commemorating the 50,783 lives taken and the many more left without families and homes. ‘Grief Game’ takes the shape of a Kendama, a traditional Japanese toy, which was a memorable pastime of Zeynep’s childhood growing up in Ankara. By recreating the toy in industrial building materials such as concrete, rebar and glass, the toy takes on a new meaning of destruction and fragility; any interaction results in breakage.
During her studies, Zeynep volunteered with Teign Valley Glass, assisted in the hot and cold shop at London Glassblowing and has received two scholarships from the Glass Furnace in Istanbul. She also took part in Arts University Plymouth’s ‘Melting Pot: Hot Glass Gathering’ event in 2022, part of the UK’s national celebrations for the United Nations-designated International Year of Glass and as part of the Crafts Council’s Make! Craft! Live! 50th anniversary season.
Lucy Richards is a multi-disciplinary designer and maker with experience working with hot glass, wood and metal to produce a wide variety of sculptural and functional pieces.
Lucy was recently commissioned to make a piece for Mount Edgcymbe Country Park in Cornwall, reinterpreting a bust of the Virgin Mary in the Earl’s Garden, 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 Bovey Tracey Craft Fair, PS1 at Arts University Plymouth and at Leadworks Gallery in Plymouth. Lucy has been volunteering at Teign Valley Glass for the past year and recently appeared at their Burnt Saucepan event, alongside glass artist and winner of the second season of Netflix’s Blown Away, Elliot Walker.
Lucy’s final major project features a series of mixed media sculptures inspired by the variety of coastal and oceanic buoy markers that Lucy has encountered around Plymouth and Mount Batten. These symbolic brightly coloured buoys assist with navigation and data collection and are specific to coastlines. Lucy has responded to the architectural forms, compositions and bright colours of these markers, which she has abstracted to produce geometric frameworks that are filled with deformed blown glass and plaster structures. Lucy wishes to convey her appreciation of the beauty in such significant maritime signposts.
During the Summer Shows 2023, Lucy was the recipient of a work placement award by the Eden Project, Cornwall, as well as a showcase with Make Southwest, Bovey Tracey. Lucy currently has work on display in Fortyfive Southside Gallery in Plymouth.
BA (Hons) Craft & Material Practices at Arts University Plymouth is an ever-evolving course at the forefront of thinking and making, with an increasing emphasis on ways that people in the UK’s craft industry can live harmoniously within natural and fabricated environments that support a healthy ecosystem. Visit our next Open Day on Saturday 30 September 2023 to find out more.