A group of Year 10 students welcomed artist Tom Edwards from “We Are Culla” to their Art class just before Christmas to learn about his career and to hear about a local project he is working on. Tom has been commissioned by Kier and the Canal and River Trust to create artwork to cover the turrets on the new Toddbrook reservoir spillway. He has been working with the local community in Whaley Bridge to run workshops encouraging people to produce their own designs and ideas for the turrets, and was keen for our students to get involved. The final artwork selected will be etched into the turrets so this is a real opportunity for our students to see their artwork become a permanent feature in the local area.
Tom described the brief for the project, how he went about tackling this and the ideas he pitched in order to secure the work. He is focussing on imagery of landscapes and wildlife which will be meaningful to the local community. Tom showed the class a 3D model to help them to visualise the shape of the turrets and spillway. Each student was then given a flat plan of the structures for their own designs. These were folded into mini replicas of the turrets to help them to plan their artwork, taking into account the curves and how these will effect the etchings.
Tom talked through his career journey as an artist, including what he did when he left school, how he made the decision to study art at university and the hard work that goes into creating a successful business. He also showed the students his portfolio of work with examples of his artwork from university, street art projects, local commissions, and a print shop and clothing business he has run.
This was a great opportunity for the group to work directly with an artist and learn about the process from the brief through to execution. In the coming weeks we are planning to take some students out to the Whaley Bridge Memorial Park to help Tom to decorate the construction hoardings with some of the design ideas.