Three former students from Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) are taking part in a project to create a series of striking new artworks and temporarily transform an historic stable block as part of the Festival of Thrift.
The project combines the talents of selected new and established artists from Teesside and County Durham. The emerging artists selected for the project include Christina Hesford and Paul Theo Murray, who studied for a foundation diploma and former student, Becky Nicholson, who graduated with a degree in production design for stage and screen.
The Festival is a hugely popular free-to-enter event focussing on living sustainably in style that takes place on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September at Kirkleatham Museum and grounds near Redcar on the North East coast.
It offers visitors a programme of over 140 activities involving innovative and cutting-edge art and entertainment including the unique art project, ‘STABLE’, to be located in Kirkleatham estate’s renovated 18th century Grade II* listed stable block.
The project has been devised and is managed by arts organisation, Navigator North, which initiates, facilitates and promotes opportunities for visual artists to help further their creative practice.
22-year-old Becky, who graduated this summer from the University-level campus in Hartlepool, is looking to use her skills as an artist to affect change and inspire, entertain and engage the public. The artist, from Fairfield in Stockton, said: “My installation is about the way we see things, particularly things we throw away or recycle but it also links to the history of the stables and the famous racehorses which were once housed there.
“Being part of this project is an amazing opportunity and it’s great to be a part of something which is a big element of the community and to create something which will be seen and enjoyed by the public. The support from Navigator North and Festival of thrift has been priceless to myself as an emerging artist.
Becky’s artwork consists of four sculptural pieces made of refused materials, which when lit from below will create the shadow of a life-size horse on the stable wall. The sculptures which at first appear as disjointed and jumbled will come together to cast the ghosts of the past into the stable.
The STABLE project includes a bursary and mentoring by internationally renowned installation artist, Steve Messam and members of the Festival team, for five emerging north-east artists, selected following a regional call-out to create new work, whose artworks are being showcased at the event.
Works from the emerging artists will include: a walk-through woven installation, a series of 80 cast sandcastle sculptures, an equestrian themed shadow sculpture, a film installation responding to horse racing and a light and sound responsive suspended ceramic and glass installation.
Indonesia-born Christina Hesford, 24 who lived in Brazil before settling in Stockton-on-Tees, is a textile artist specialising in weave. She said: “Being chosen as one of five emerging artists is a real honour. It’s exciting to be working alongside artists working in a wide variety of other mediums and to be receiving support from Navigator North and the Festival of Thrift. This project has given me the opportunity to challenge what weaving is and to explore a scale that has been totally unprecedented in my work to date.
I’m looking forward to seeing how 40,000 people will engage with ‘Avenue’, as well as the other artworks on show. The People’s Encyclopaedia sounds fantastic too!”
Christina’s artwork ‘Avenue’ is a woven walk-through installation inspired by the some of the beautiful tiling present in the stable blocks at Kirkleatham Museum. Woven using polythene sheeting and de-commissioned fire hoses, it also references the recent history of arson which has plagued the stable blocks over the past 20 years.
Patrick Chapman, Head of Employability and External Relations, said: “This is a great opportunity for Becky, Christina and Paul – this is just one of the types of activity that CCAD specialises in preparing our students for. Whilst studying with us students get training in developing professional proposals and opportunities to exhibit work. They are equipped with the skills and experience to hit the ground running with their careers.”
Festival of Thrift director, Stella Hall, says that the project is designed to highlight the value of the arts in building resilient and sustainable communities.
She added: “The Festival is all about inspiring people to live a happy, fulfilled life that doesn’t cost the earth and creativity is a wonderful way of achieving that and prompting people to think differently.”
“Art and creativity underpin so much of what makes life enjoyable and meaningful so we are delighted to be able to celebrate that with the STABLE project and both support developing artists and champion an amazing artist like Steve at the same time.”
The STABLE bursary is one of a series of opportunities being offered by Navigator North as part of its Professional Development Programme in 2016, which also includes business advice and training, visits to regional and national arts organisations and events as well as studio space and mentoring.
Nicola Golightly, Navigator North Co-Director says: “Working with Festival of Thrift for the fourth year running, we are looking forward to supporting the STABLE artists via our professional development bursary. The event offers an exciting platform for showing the work of five talented emerging regional artists alongside our established artist.”
Also involved are self-taught glass and porcelain artist Janet Rogers from Durham and Teesside University Fine Art graduate film and sculpture maker, Kirsty Childs.