Our TBSSS student spotlight for this month is Claire Bradford (pictured below), who currently attends the Wednesday Evening class taught by Christine Crimmins. Here she answers some questions about sculpting and her experience at the school.
How long have you been attending classes at TBSSS?
More than a year now. I took a one term break at the beginning of this year as I was travelling so much and I really did miss the classes!
What do you like best about attending classes at TBSSS or what has been your best experience?
I have quite a few reasons. First it’s a place to unleash my creative side and I feel very satisfied after a night of sculpting. Christine has a superb approach to her students and I always respect her input into how I’m working on my piece, so I very much enjoy being under her tuition. The class has plenty of regulars and I have made some good friends over the last year, we all get on really well and I think the magic part of the night is the wonderful wine and cheese break! We all discuss our work and provide advice and an eye, so the environment is very supportive and encouraging.
We understand you were part of Vivid this year, tell us about that?
Yes! This was an interesting venture at my work place. We decided to enter a design into Vivid at the last minute and I was part of the inception team who put together the idea to submit. We ended up with a piece called The Electric Jellyfish, a 10×10 meter geodesic dome complete with interactive light and sound inside – placed at The Museum of Sydney forecourt (pictured above). I took part in the dome build which involved constructing the shape with many connecting metal struts and shifting huge concrete blocks into place to weigh it down. The final part was placing the cover over the dome on an extremely windy day, we almost lost the cover but a few strong people and a let up in the wind enabled us to pull it back and into place! We ended up with 19 speakers for sound, 5 projectors for imaging, several xbox kinect sensors and three Mac computers running the show with custom build audio software. Users could trigger light streams by setting off the motion sensors with their bodies and this would send the light stream up to a giant projected jellyfish on the roof of the dome. It was a huge success with the public.
What are you currently working on at TBSSS?
Christine introduced me to Cycladic figurines from ancient Greece and I was instantly fascinated. I’m working on a direct plaster rendition of the Marble Seated Harp Player. It’s very challenging as this is my first direct plaster piece. The wire armature (pictured) really dictates how your piece will form and I think this has been a great learning experience all round. It’s coming together nicely and this piece has run over a couple of terms now. It will roll into a third term. I like to take my time on my work and get it right.
Do you have any exhibitions or projects coming up? Or any recent past projects you’d like to share with us?
In my workplace we have a ‘Free Range Friday’ once a month where they encourage employees to innovate. At the time the company was collecting old electrical equipment to take to recycling. I scoured the pile and took away some old audio circuit boards and audio speakers components and from this I created a light sculpture of the company logo (pictured above left). The important part of the sculpture was the circuit boards.. they were the original boards from the founding company when it first started in Australia and I felt this would be a homage to that era of early invention. I used a variety of methods to shape the design from cutting machines to soldering to heat guns and to glue guns. I used my sculpting knowledge to create plaster moulds of the original design so that I could safely heat gun melt the plastic borders into the right shape before attaching to the final pieces.
Who’s your favourite sculptor?
I don’t have a firm favourite and I tend to admire the odd pieces here and there. If I were to pick someone that describes my taste I would go for Louise Bourgeois. Her wonderful Maman piece (The Spider), found it’s way to the outside of the Tate Gallery in London. I remember being blown away at the sheer size of the sculpture (30ft high and 33 ft wide) and made of bronze, stainless steel and marble. At the time the piece got very mixed public reaction, I enjoy artists that trigger debate.
Photo above, courtesy of Vivid Facebook.