Student Showcase 2020

One of founding principles here at Clayhill is to promote and value creative learning. We do this in a number of ways, but the one that is the most important to us is to showcase the work that students who take part in our courses go on to create.

During the summer of 2020, we ran our first ever online summer school Thriving and Surviving as an Artist with Rosalind Davis and Justin Hibbs. Over the six 2 hour sessions, we explored the themes:

  • Representing yourself online (and offline)
  • Articulating your practice
  • Creative Collaborations
  • Money Matters
  • Exhibitions and Galleries
  • The Fine Art of Opportunity (including funding and setting up projects)

The students taking part in this have gone on to find new and inventive ways of supporting their practice and promoting the work that they do. This has been especially helpful this year and we feel it important to highlight these achievements. Read on to find out about the projects that have been created this year and sign up to the new course happening in April 2021

Artist and Designer Lisa Cole instigated the Tiny Cat Gallery off the back of the course. 

The Thriving and Surviving summer school was a really big catalyst for me. I started my own lockdown gallery from a cardboard box, working to a very small scale.It’s thrived and survived, I even sell artists work so it is a commercial gallery and I’m just finishing off a book that will help people start their own tiny galleries.

You can visit the Tiny Cat Gallery here and find out more about Lisa on her own instagram here. The Tiny Cat Gallery has a shop and Lisa sells her own work via her website and she has written a manual on how to set up and promote your own tiny art gallery.

Megan Wakelam has moved to Bristol this year and found a studio space at the Pennywell Project. She has been continuing to create new work although this has been taking a slightly different tangent to what she’d normally be creating. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the course over the summer, it was just the structure I needed and it made me feel more equipped for the future of approaching galleries and writing about my work.   

You can find out more about Megan via instagram. She is also selling work via her website

Maureen Nathan has been steadily working in the studio this year, in spite of Covid and exhibition and workshop cancellations.

I gained lots of good advice from the Thriving and Surviving Summer school. I’ve had time to really get to grips with and adapt to my practice and the goals I’ve set for myself. We set up a Peer Crit Group and I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops and I’ve currently work from the first lockdown in an exhibition supporting Women and Health and a portrait included in the book Portraits for NHS Heroes with ALL profits going to NHS Charities Together. 

You can buy the Portraits for NHS Heroes book here. You can find out more about Maureen on her website, where she has a shop selling some of her work. She is also on Instagram and Facebook

Sally Eldars started the The Old Dresser Gallery from the back of one of the discussions during a session on the Thriving and Surviving course. She now sells work via gallery on her website and you can find out about future shows and opportunities through on instagram

Attending the course in the summer, helped me very much with the feeling of being isolated during lockdown. It also introduced me to a lovely group of artists, and out of the talks and sessions we had with Rosalind and Justin, I started The Old Dresser gallery, which now has its own website were I feature the artists and their shows. TOD and I have been engaging with other miniature and unusual galleries on instagram. I even had a show with which Lisa Cole set up at the same time (I managed to sell 4 miniature paintings during the show too!!). It was great fun.

Ann Diment has been fairly active since the course, taking part in projects such as @brutoncorrespondenceschool and @postart_uk as well as having 3 exhibition entries being accepted, including one piece being adopted into a University Art collection.

I really enjoyed the thriving and surviving course and it opened up connections with other artists and exhibition opportunities, but more importantly it helped me get through lockdown and start believing in myself an artist more. Since completing the course I have been expanding my practice to include spoken word and audio visual work. I am looking forward to the next six months where I will be using the learning from the course to help me complete the Foundation Art & Design portfolio and prepare for the end of year show

Ann is continuing to develop her professional practice whilst exploring ways to earn money from it through her patreon and Etsy sites. You can find out more about her on instagram @anniesartthings

Liz Monahan has really embraced her professional practice this year

Since the summer school some interesting things have happened for me. First, I decided to give up my part-time admin job to fully concentrate on my art career. Since then I have done so much more in the way of painting and feel that, although I still have a long way to go in terms of consolidating an aesthetic, I’m now producing work that has a better sense of direction than six months ago. I have also completely overhauled my website (following Rosalind’s advice) and re-opened my Etsy shop. I’m pleased to say that I’ve already had a few sales and I have lots of ideas for new designs!

Perhaps the most exciting event for me is that I had two drawings selected for the ING Discerning Eye exhibition, which is running until 31 December. I’ve never had work selected for such a prestigious national exhibition, so this has felt like a bit of an achievement for me!

You can find out more about Liz on her website here, find her on instagram @lizmonahanart, visit her Etsy shop here and visit the ING Discerning Eye exhibition here

Katy Gillam-Hull has built a new website and online shop since the course and has released her first ever commercial jewellery collection, which was then sold through the Digital Craft Festival and the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Festival Online. She has also started on the journey to planning and funding her own exhibition in London and hoping to make moves with that in the coming year

I also took courage from the summer school to approach a collective and a curator who I had met and now I am planning to work with them for exhibitions in the future and have become part of the collective.

You can find out more about Katy on her website here and find her on instagram @katygillamhull

Megan Ringrose set up a small Instagram gallery @whatthreewordsgalleries after the course, to encourage others to share the locations of their art on display using the what three word app to locate. She also applied for the first round of the Arts Council Project Grants and was successful, which boosted her confidence and means she will be showing new work with 9 other artists and able to pay them all to exhibit in Oxford later next year.

I took a lot way from the course with Rosalind and Justin. They were particularly refreshing in their delivery and I remember having the mantra ‘make your own opportunity’ running through my veins as I finished the course.

The course showed me that I needed to seek out help when I didn’t know what to do and make lists of my least favourite tasks and ask and in some cases pay for help to get them done.

I may not have had the time to take a course if it weren’t for COVID-19 restrictions, so that’s been something interesting to reflect upon as well.

Megan is currently working on another show where she will be showing with another group in Barcelona in July 2021.

You can follow what she’s getting up to on instagram @megan.ringrose and via her website here

Anne Fontenoy has been making hand sewn silk lined muffs (for adults and children) and capes from 100% wool grown in Kent, where she is based.

Both are suitable for outdoor winter social distance meet-ups, for waiting in queues and for winter weddings or for skating or Carol singing maybe? They are very practical as they can be machine washed in the wool program. Just natural, slightly speckled ivory/cream sheep colour at the moment, but more natural wool colour combinations to follow.

She is selling both of these lines on her website

Anne has been following the work of since the course and took part in the #tinycatchallenge set by @prpaints. This was a challenge to draw a favourite house plant without looking at the paper until finishing the drawing. From the original pencil sketch she created a pencil and pastel drawing on black Somerset paper, calling it Cactus on Black. This is now on show in the online catalogue of the Class of 2020 show curated by Rod Kitson.

Anne is also part of the Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum, who sadly had to postpone their Annual Art Show due to Lockdown 2. Usually happening in September, it had been rescheduled for mid January to mid February 2021, but then cancelled again. SVA hope this will take place sometime later next year, depending on how the year pans out. You can find out more about them on their Facebook Page.

You can follow Anne on instagram @artandthedress


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