School is out and summer is here!
And summer really is here with sunshine and everything!
The culmination of my college course was ushered in with an award for Best Advanced Model making at Craft Ex 2018 for my Prototype Car and a coveted place at New Blades graduate recruitment fair. New Blades was a great experience. So great and inspiring to see everyone's models all in one building. I brought down Baby (without Mother because we were going by train), Humungous, The Secret Commonwealth novels and the Prototype Car. Got some good feedback and some contacts to follow up. Well worth the big round trip.
Mother and Baby are now officially "Mother's Ruin" and they had their debut at Solas Festival in Perthshire at the end of June. Brought to life by Jess, my performer, we equally delighted and terrified in good measure, making only two or so children cry. Must work on that. Got good feedback again with one of the Solas organisers saying,
The Gallacher brothers were my favourite thing of the weekend, and Mother's
Ruin was certainly the most nightmarish!
I'll take that as a compliment!
Next stop is Dundee Summer Streets Festival on 21st and 22nd June and then to Surge Festival in Glasgow on 11th and 12th Glasgow. The urban festivals will be an interesting change from the captive audience of the tiny Solas Festival.
So otherwise onwards and upwards and towards a new life. CV is brushed up, portfolio is gathered together and website updated. Time to flood a plethora of companies with the news of who is going to be their newest employee. They're such lucky people!
So I'm running head long towards the end of my HND Model-making course at City of Glasgow College. I've learnt so much on this course and had a great time doing it but I think what I have found the most satisfying is I finally feel that this is what I should be doing. I have repeatedly said that I've felt like I've been wandering all my life and never quite found my real passion, until now. Some people find what they love doing and excel at early in life, some never find it and that's ok as long as you keep looking for it. What the 'it' is? That's the tricky bit but you know it when you see it.
Final deadline is the middle of June and I can't say slight panic isn't setting in. I know what I'm wanting to do but everything I do seems be for the first time which gives me the fear and procrastination inevitably creeps in. However, deadlines won't wait so it's definitely time to feel the fear and do it! So my final project is going to be...drumroll please...a giant mother and baby puppet! Hmmm, an interesting choice you may sarcastically think and yes, I'm glad you asked the searching question, "Why the hell are you doing that because it sounds so dreadfully boring?!" Well, it's not going to be any ordinary giant mother and child of course. It will be a floaty, serene, pagan-esque mother with a demonic, obnoxious, pissing baby puppet. Yeah, not sounding so boring now, eh? Standing about 8ft tall, the passive mother, holding her darling charge will wander amongst you whilst her baby causes havoc. The build is going well so far but not satisfied with giving myself enough pressure with a mere college deadline, I have managed to wangle myself a bursary that will enable said puppet to be actually performed from the end of June. Yes, I am finally announcing that I have a Surge development and performance bursary that means Mother's Ruin will be performed at Solas Festival, Dundee Summer Streets and Surge Festival this summer. Yikes! Time to get the skates on and get it working right?! It'll all be fine...juuust fine!!
So what else have I done? One of my completed projects is my upscaled toy car that has secured me a coveted place at the New Blades expo in London in June. 5 out of 20 students were selected to go down to represent the college course at the talent fair that will show the cream of the latest crop of makers of models, sculptures, props and costume from colleges and universities around the UK. Very exciting stuff and will hopefully bring new opportunities and networking my way.
I've also made a model of my interpretation of a Martian Fighting Machine from H.G. Wells' novel, War of the Worlds. Didn't get this one quite as I had intended as we were having some particularly difficult times with family loss but I think I did damn well and produced a Machine worthy of the A grade I got for it. If that doesn't show that I can work under pressure and still bring up the goods I don't know what will.
Otherwise, we still have our group project, an upscaled table saw sculpture that will be exhibited in the College building along with 3 other sculptures of model making tools that the rest of the year is completing in groups. Should be a great end of year exhibition. The preview evening will be on Tuesday 12th June if anyone is wanting to have a gander. Unfortunately, due to date clashes those of us lucky enough to go to New Blades will be taking our work down to London the next day so if you want to see them on show, you need to come along to the preview night. Or go to London but that might be a bit of trek. However, the exceptional work of the rest of the class will be exhibited in the college for the rest of the week and will definitely be worth a look.
I'm not one to publish my personal woes but the last year and half has been particularly challenging for me however, this course; what I've learned and the work I have produced has been a rock to keep me sane and focussed for the future. I have to say a big thank you to all my family and friends who have encouraged me throughout and not complained about me posting the deluge of work in progress pics on my social media. Thank you to my tutors and classmates who have helped bring a multitude of ideas together. And an impossible mountain of thanks of course go to my parents, who enabled me to do this financially, encouraged me without exception and always believed in me. You are the reason I am able to keep searching for that 'it' and the reason I may have found it. I love you from the bottom of my heart but you know this already.
So, now to get on with the final push and make the big finish. Just got a giant table saw and a giant Mother and Baby to go! If you gotta go, go BIG!!
So I'm currently sitting in a lovely air conditioned office working out steel rod lengths. It's roasting outside but I have sunscreen and I haven't been bitten by any bitey insects yet so all is well. No, I'm not in Scotland, I'm in Spain, Catalonia to be exact.
I've been pretty darn busy the last while, having just completed my first year doing my HND 3D Design: Model Making course at City of Glasgow College. It's been an absolute blast and I've learnt so much as well as made new friends. So what have I learned? Well, a bit too much to write everything down in a blog post but safe to say I'm much more knowledgeable about glueing, cutting, sanding, laser-cutting, vacuum forming, mould making, puppet making, door making, finish painting and AutoCad than I was before. So looking forward to next year. Here's a run down on the models I've made...
A 3:1 shell, a 7:1 cashew nut, 11:1 section of a silver dollar, a 1:1 half a chrome egg, a replica of a Glasgow doorway, a leather bound 17th Century book (new and aged versions), a hedgehog puppet and 1:11 replica (with a bit of artistic licence) of Labyrinth's Gates to the Goblin City complete with moving Humongous. Gawd, it makes me exhausted just thinking about it. We certainly packed it in. Oh and I also did a cheeky wee welding evening class and made a metal bird feeder.
I still need to get some proper photos of completed works but here's a wee gallery of images of my work that I have so far...
So why am I in Spain? And what's this about Donkey Unicorns, I hear you ask with trepidation? Well, I must be very wicked because I decided to head off to Spain only two days after I finished college to take part in an art project, Rui d'Art in Riba Roja d'Ebre, Catalonia. Wanting to continue my welding practice, I sent in a sculpture proposal to the project that facilitates the creation of public art in the village. The project is organised partly by some good friends of mine, that's how I found out about it, but I had never done anything like this before. They assured me, however, that I should give it a go. So with a half baked idea I put together a proposal. The final say came down to the local council (ajuntament) and the town mayor so I wasn't guaranteed a place but apparently they loved my idea, so here I am. Other artists involved with the project are Anna Georgiou, Phil Bird, Oliver Hall, Sarah Misselbrook and some local artists too. My idea? That's where the Donkey Unicorn comes in.
As an unashamed supporter for independence for Scotland from the UK, I knew Catalonia has a similar desire to be independent from Spain. With this obvious connection I thought there must be something to play with there. Scotland and Catalonia are both rich in traditional produce, though with very different things; Scotland with its wild salmon and whisky and Catalonia with its olives and wine, to name but a few. I've always had an interest in symbolism and that lead me to think about Scotland's national animal, the Unicorn. Yes, that's right, our national animal is a mythical, magical, horned horse. Then finding out that Catalonia's national animal was a similar equine beast, the Catalan donkey, the potential project's fate was sealed. A DONKEY UNICORN. Of course, I hadn't quite thought it through that I would be welding in 35+ celsius heat but in for a penny.... Sitting in this air conditioned office, fannying about with my design and calculating measurements on AutoCad, I can't quite imagine what it will be like. Early mornings will definitely be the key! I've been looked after so well already, I'm raring to go. The whole village is really up for it and helping in any ways required. It's going to be an adventurous and artistic two weeks.
Jennifer Kilgour is an artist and maker specialising in model making, sculpture, painting and drawing.
She also loves making other things like wee animations (trained in that and everything), small coffee tables (singular) and walking the family dog in the woods.