I became a Kickstarter for Art4Space back in November 2021. I had an interview with Louise, the Studio Manager, and Leah the Creative Manager and knew from that conversation I wanted to work for Art4Space due to their warm nature and the company’s ethos. I was welcomed with positivity and began my Kickstarter journey learning new techniques and further my understanding of workshop facilitation. I work 3 days a week, two which were usually in the studio and one day working for Jewels, the founder, completing administration tasks. These admin tasks are extremely valuable as they give me a background insight into running a successful community arts organisation – finding out more about funding and the policies of this Community Interest Company.
I’ve had previous experience working in studios and socially engaged projects; however, the atmosphere of this studio was unique! The studio is bright and holds lots of space, its filled with range of materials from clay, mosaic tiles, to recycled objects – an exciting space to come into and create. My studio assistant role encompasses things such as making ceramics for large scale mosaics in children’s playgrounds, glazing ceramics, studio organisation, assisting workshops, firing the kiln, ordering materials, installing, and making mosaics. The studio is run smoothly by Louise and Leah, and there is a freedom within the role. For example, I have an interest in ceramics and therefore Leah and Louise allow space for me to contribute ideas in this area, such as reglazing ceramics, trialing out different clay and maintenance of the kiln shelves. This freedom is what makes the studio special, everyone is equally respected, it feels comfortable to contribute and work to your strengths. In March I attended a Wellness evening ran by our wellbeing officer Kim for all the staff, this involved group meditation, a gong bath and oil blending. This was a lovely evening where colleagues had time to catch up and relax.
More recently, we’ve been working towards our deadline for Upton Cross Park school, this was a 27-meter-long commission with different mosaic scenes that the children had drawn and mosaiced and we’d finished back in the studio. The installation of this piece was exciting – the whole team came together! It was fascinating as I’d been part of the process start to finish and had never experienced putting large mosaics up on wall. From making the ceramics back in the studio at the very beginning, to then installing them in the playground cooperated within the whole mosaic piece.
Jewels and I went back to Upton Cross Park school to do some drawing workshops with children from reception to year six for their next mosaic commission. Jewels lead and I shadowed her to gain some training and understanding of how to successfully deliver workshops to school children. I found this a valuable experience as I gained confidence, particularly as Jewels supported me to deliver part of the workshops, which was something that felt a bit scary and new!
There are endless opportunities at Art4Space to grow and learn, I am five months into my traineeship and feel like I’ve already learnt so much. There is a real sense of community within the space, between colleagues and participants of workshops, which I feel grateful to be part of. The team are extremely supportive towards my development, making me feel comfortable to come out my comfort zone and learn further. Art4Space has been mindful and attentive to create future opportunities for me as I come towards the end of this internship.
Alice Davies – Kickstarter – 2022 May