UWE exhibition showcases 'cutting edge' work

Issue date: 06 July 2010


'Flower Dome 1' by Sue Gregor Work by artists using the latest technology from the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR) at the University of the West of England is on show at the Arnolfini Bookshop throughout July and August. The Arnolfini Bookshop,16 Narrow Quay, Bristol is open Tuesdays 11.00-18.00, Wednesdays to Saturdays 11.00-20.00 and Sundays 11.00-19.00.

The show is curated by UWE Research Fellow Tom Sowden and features work from a range of artists and designers who have been working with researchers at the CFPR. The Centre provides an inexpensive bureau service for artists and designers, where they can execute their work and use the state of the art facilities to explore new ways of producing their art. The exhibition demonstrates the full range of outputs from the Centre including the rapid-prototyping and enamelling labs.

Tom Sowden explains, “The exhibition shows a wide range of approaches from artists and designers who have used the latest 3D printing and laser cutting techniques in their artistic practice. We often find that once artists have discovered the new techniques they become repeat users of the service. This exhibition includes artists working with paper, 3D printing, enamelling and acrylic. The laser can cut acrylic very precisely and we have several jewellery designers in the exhibition who use the laser to create very accurate and detailed pieces.”

Amongst the artists exhibiting is Bristol-based artist, Sue Gregor, a designer/maker who produces ranges of contemporary jewellery as well as scarves, prints and wallpaper. She creates individual pieces using a wide range of materials and techniques, some of which she developed herself whilst doing her MA at UWE. Her work is exhibited in galleries and museums all over the country.

Sue says, “Since discovering the possibilities of laser cutting in my work, I have found the bureau services at UWE an invaluable support. Innovation and excellence are central to the way I work as an artist. I recently worked with staff at CFPR to develop a new range of brooches and necklaces with interlocking pieces and surface engraving. The designs were initially drawn in Adobe Illustrator and then transferred to the laser cutter where a number of different processes were applied to each piece.”

The other artist's exhibiting include: Rebecca Cowley, Janine Partington, Nylon Sky, Victoria Browne, Jenny Smith, Tom Sowden, Cartel, Tortie Rye, Jessica Turrell, Claire Phipps.

Tom Sowden will also speak at a symposium: 'Paper Models, a Symposium on Laser Cutting' to be held on Wednesday 15 September 2010. The symposium is hosted by the Centre for Fine Print Research and funded by the AHRC. It will showcase the outcomes of the project, “Paper Models: investigating laser cutting technology to develop new artists' books and paper-based creative practice for arts, crafts and design.” The project aimed to explore the potential of the laser cutter as a tool for artists working with the book form and paper-based work, and show how it could replace the need for labour intensive manipulation of paper and card by hand. The project also aims to increase awareness amongst artists of the advantage of new technologies for artists/craftspeople and to change attitudes to creative making.

As well as a talk on the project by Tom Sowden, the event will include talks by artists Su Blackwell and Jenny Smith, a demonstration on using the laser cutters for book and paper-based artwork and a round table Q&A session.

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