My residency at Airspace Gallery is moving into its fifth month and getting ever closer to my Solo show which will be held on the 16th – 24th January 2015.

Trip to London

In November I spent a few days in London, during this time I was able to catch up with friends and visit a few exhibitions. I had been searching time to go and see the Anselm Kiefer show at the Royal Academy.  I was so pleased I could catch the exhibition; it was great to see so many works I had studied in books, and get to engage with the works on a much more personal level.  Although the exhibition had a great range of his painted works I felt a real lack of his sculptures and the paintings did not really give you an idea of the scale of his work.  However, this was seen in the Imagine program on the BBC that aired a day or so after my visit.  The program explored all three of his studios in France and Germany and made evident Kiefer’s process and the extent of scale in his work that was lacking at the RA. Anselm Kiefer is an artist I have spent a lot of time researching, I was drawn to his process of working and use of materials.  These processes are less relevant to my current work as it has progressed and developed into a much cleaner and precise format but Kiefer is still an artist I love to explore.

While in London I also attended a show at CHELSEA space, a friend on the MA Curating & Collections course at Chelsea College of Arts, with his peers had put together a series of works from various collections in response to the main show, Bob Cobbing: Bill Jubobe.   The opening was very busy and it was great to meet some new people.

Crowdfunding Launch

As mentioned in a previous post, I have been working on ways to fund my solo show.  I decided that the best route for my circumstances was to set up a crowd funding campaign.  I put together a video with a collection of photos and videos of current and previous work to illustrate my practice and communicate the aims behind my campaign.  It was a good process to go through albeit a little daunting, as I was unsure on how successful my campaign might be.

I launched the campaign at the end of November on the platform Indiegogo.  My goal is to raise £500.  So far the campaign has done well and I am so pleased and thankful for the support people have shown.  All the contributions make a difference, making it possible to make the works I envisioned.  I hope the show will give evidence to this fact.


Establishing the solo exhibition

Working towards my show I have established a number of ideas and works I wish to create.  This was further considered when writing my exhibition proposal.  My aim for the exhibition is to showcase the works I have made over the 6-month residency. The time has given me the opportunity to develop my practice while the exhibition itself has allowed me to be more ambitious with the works, giving me greater freedom to develop all aspects of the exhibition.

I plan to install a number of sculptural and wall based works. Each piece to be exhibited is made through a process of studying, extracting and deconstructing a selection of very small plasticine forms. Through this process-based practice, each sculpture, drawing and print reveals a snippet of information about the original object. The work functions best as a series of elements and collections, the dialogue amongst the works allows connections to be made, generating an understanding and awareness in the viewer of the original object and their relation to it. One of the main sculptural works focuses on the process of deconstruction, separating an image into layers of information, which then allows the possibility to construct new arrangements.

While I am very much in the process of making I am finding it hard to think about the other aspects of my practice, such as contextualizing it and pushing and developing the ideas.  I think this is understandable given the stage I am at with regards to the residency and the forth-coming show.  But in some ways I wish I were more able to consider these things, as I’m sure this would strengthen the work.  One other concern I have is maintaining and ensuring the quality of the work is high while I push to produce quite a number of works.  I hope that the works do not suffer because of my ambition to create all of these works.

I think this experience is really pushing me, the residency allows me to see how much I can really achieve and tests my dedication to my practice. When I’m not at work I am spending all of my time in the studio, often working late into the evening. This way of working is not something I can maintain on a regular basis but as I am working up to my solo show I wish to put as much of my time into the works as I can.  When the show is up I will know I did the best I could.

If you want to see what has been happening in the studio check out my Tumblr blog here: http://naomiharwin.tumblr.com/









Help fund my first Solo Exhibition.

Graduate Residency artist at Airspace Gallery in Stoke-On-Trent.

Today I have launched my crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo to raise funds to support the production of work and cost of materials and advertising for my first solo show.

Check out the campaign here and share.


Naomi Harwin


In the window

As part of the Graduate Residency Alice and myself had the opportunity to put together an interim exhibition in Airspace’s window space.  This allowing us to pilot some initial ideas and works, while also letting the people of Stoke-On-Trent know what kind of work the graduate residents are making.  Giving a taster of what is to come from our solo exhibitions.

We had one day set aside to install the work.   As part of the process we had already written proposals for the show, so we had a good idea of how the work would look and be placed within the window.  But of course these things can always change when the work is physical in the space.

Working with the confines of the window, Alice, Glen and myself installed the work in stages, bringing in our most prominent pieces first to gage the initial positioning.  For my work this meant bringing in the painted boards.  Once these were in place I could play with the set up of the painting and print to ensure an engaging dialogue amongst the works.  Throughout the install we continued to consider how our pieces worked alongside each other, to ensure that the entire window was balanced.

Although the install took most of the day the process was much quicker than I had expected.  I am used to trying our numerous arrangements and positions until I have found the one that works best with the space.  Currently my practice works in collections of pieces that form a dialogue about an object and so the engagement between the works is an important part to be considered during the set up.  However, this time perhaps due to the limits of the space or the feedback and dialogue with Alice and Glen, I didn’t have to try out lots of arrangements.  First the boards were positioned; this determined the paintings location, which in turn decided where the print would sit; each step determining the next action.

It was great to work through a process that didn’t feel familiar, allowing new methods into my practice.

Events and activities 

As well as putting together the window show, over the last few weeks there have been some fantastic openings and events.

Artist and the City

Artist and the City had it opening event. The collaborative exhibition between Airspace Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery aimed to explore the situation for artist in Stoke-On-Trent, it’s past and present.  The exhibitions starting point focused on the work of four artists, George Cartlidge, John Currie, Grete Marks and Terry Shave and their close connection to the area.  Four contemporary artists with connections to Stoke-On-Trent were then paired with one of the initial artists from Stoke’s ‘history’ and commissioned to respond with new artworks.  On display alongside the selected works from the Museum’s collection these new artwork were marriage well with those of the older artists.  At times it wasn’t immediately obvious that some works were two separate artists from two different times.

The exhibition then continued at Airspace Gallery where the four contemporary artists created works that imagined what the city might look like in the future.  The ‘Artcity’ a site for artistic endeavors, where artist can live, work and prosper.  These artists included David Bethell, Adam James, Carla Wright and Sophie Bard. The show continues till 13th December 2014.

KULES Ex-factory

As part of a newly commissioned residency programme ‘KULES’, for the past few months five artist have been living, working and teaching in the area while in residence in a disused 3000 square metre site, an old Olympus Engineering building on college road.  At the being of November was the opening event of their exhibition.  The works took advantage of the space of the building and utilized the many rooms of varying sizes and aesthetic.   When entering the building the first work you were immersed in was Leslie Deere’s Laserdome sound piece on the ground floor.  The space dark and filled with pillars and fluctuating sound, I found myself absorbed in the environment.  It felt as though time had slowed and I was able to move through the space.  I could spend a lot of time with this piece.  Towards the end of the space in an area out of the dark were works by Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson.

Moving upstairs, within the large space were a selection of works by Doyle and Mallinson, Chloe Cooper, and the two micro residency artists Sarah Thorley and Corey Whyte.  Chloe’s works seen within the space acts as props for her video narrative.  These props positioned throughout the building allow the viewer to engage and connect with the space and the story that unravels in her video work.  Exploring the rooms to follow you find the work of Leigh Clarke, a series of hanging screenprints on book blinding paper, a selection of paintings and a number of the original busts.  The work using images of a defaced mass manufacture chalkware Syrian bust.

The works were exciting and engaging and demonstrated what can be done with disused building such as Olympus.  The event included music by a live band as well as a performance by Leigh Clarke.  The event then continued at Airspace gallery.

Hush Hush

I also recently attended one of B-arts Hush Hush cinema events with the appetite volunteers.  We were invited to dress up as either punk or disco and found ourselves in different scenarios, in one room was an audition for a punk band in another was a disco dancing class, another was bingo for the elderly and the last was a telekinesis meeting, each giving a clue to the film.  We were immersed in the scenarios and after a number of situations played out we were then invited to take out seats for the film.  As it played out we could see where our clue had come from.  The film was ‘Whatever happened to Harold Smith’, great film and a dynamic event.

Problem solving

As I begin to consider my solo exhibition I have been looking into different ways of funding the production of work.  I have learnt a lot from researching into the different forms of funding and the time it take to organize. Some of these things would have more helpful at the start of the residency, allowing sufficient time, but I am learning from these mistakes and observations, which will help me in future projects.

But, I have got some exciting ideas for works, it is just a matter of finding the time and funds to make as much of the work as I can.  I hope to make my solo show a fantastic exhibition.

To see the developments of my studio work head to my tumblr blog at : www.naomiharwin.tumblr.com


I have now spent just over two months here in Stoke-On-Trent as part of my Graduate Residency.  And again my weeks have been filled with exciting activities along side my own developments in the studio. Here is what I have been up to over the past month, apologies for the length.

In the studio

Spending the majority of my time in the studio, the work seems to be progressing in an interesting direction with some exciting potential. I have numerous ideas on the go and quite a few I am hoping to soon materialize.

I have found that making work on this residency at Airspace, my process feels much freer, being the most enjoyable experience of making work I have found so far.  This I would assume comes partly from the new found freedom having left education, where deadlines can sometimes halt or get in the way of the works natural flow.  And this flow is something I have definitely felt over the past few months.  The process of making has felt much more fluid and engaging.

While the studio space itself has allowed me to consider creating much larger works, through this the pieces are becoming more spatial. Now the studio is starting to get busier as the works are increasing in size and quantity.

Studio documentation – www.naomiharwin.tumblr.com


Beneath the pavement

At the end of September I attended an event that was held to present the proposals and ideas generated as part of the Beneath the Pavement programme. Appetite and the City Centre Partnership commissioned Airspace Gallery to design a programme that worked with artists to find spaces and opportunities in the city centre for creative practitioners. They also aimed to identifying gaps in the city, considering how it might work differently and the opportunities available.

The presentation took place in three locations; the event started out in the town hall in a space I would assume is used as a courtroom. Here we were given an overview of the ideas behind the programme and the significance of its potential.  The importance and value of artists within society was discussed, highlighting the different ways artists can engage with and help regenerate communities not limited to site-specific commissioned sculptures.

From here we moved on to a green space. Along the walk we shared Chumbrellas, one of the ideas generated as part of Beneath the Pavement. The Chumbrella offers temporary shared shelter, encouraging a small act of kindness and social engagement with strangers.

At the green space we were presented with some of the proposals, amongst a herb garden.  We explored the ideas and discussed them with the artists.  Before moving on to the next location we were able to take away a herb from the bed, mine was an apple mint plant, which is now thriving on my window sill.

The final location was a café space where we were presented with the remaining proposals.  Here we were able to discuss the ideas and potential for such projects.  The whole event highlighted how Stoke-On-Trent can prevent losing its identity and build a thriving city through the assistance of artists.  The Beneath the Pavements proposals were generated in a very short space of time, but the programme illuminated the potential should significant time and money be invested into the city’s development.



On the same day as Beneath the Pavement a launch took place for Artcity a programme developed by a consortium of Stoke-on-Trent arts organisations, funded by Esmée Fairbain Foundation.  Artcity is a five-year project, which aims to turn vacant buildings and disused spaces in the city into temporary theatres, galleries, studios and cinemas.  The launch was held at B-arts’ new building on Hartshill road and included a large scope of works; sound pieces, performances, paintings, photography, sculptures, installations and spoken word.  The event had a great sense of energy and excitement for what is to come.  The atmosphere was really encouraging and emphasized the feeling that Stoke-On-Trent is developing a significant arts culture.


A trip to Manchester

While I am living in Stoke-On-Trent this time here offers me the opportunity to visit the cities in the area, which I have yet to explore.  I became aware that Manchester was holding its art fair, The Manchester Contemporary and this seemed the perfect time to visit the city.  With around 18 galleries showing, the art fair was reasonable small but had a great selection of emerging artist.  It was an excellent chance to find new galleries located within the area as well as across the UK.  It was also nice to see familiar works, those of Jost Münster and Jo Addison represented by Tinype Gallery, London.

For the rest of the day both Alice and myself were then able to explore the city and visit the Manchester Art Gallery.  It was clear that there was a lot to explore and discover and a day trip would not cover it.  But we were able to get a feel of the place and I will be sure to take another trip to the city.


In the window interim show preparations

As part of the residency we get the chance to put together a small show with the works with have developed so far.  This interim show is presented in Airspace’s Window space, and aims to allow people to get a taster of the kind of works being produced in studio 1 as well as offering us the opportunity to test out our ideas.

Due to the time scale between the exhibition turn around in the gallery, the window space is only available for a short time and so both Alice and myself are exhibiting together.   While considering the works we will show, we have also been thinking about how our works might come together.  Working in a shared studio, it has come to light that although our practices are quite different, visually our work shares a number of qualities, both incorporate a quality of drawing and the repetitive use of shapes and images, while there is a certain quietness and subtlety which comes through the muted colours and limited pallet.  There is also a spatial element that is developing in both practices.

We were able to test out some ideas for the window when we went to visit the Kules residency at Olympus engineering. The project includes the artists; Leigh Clarke, Chloe Cooper, Leslie Deere and Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson.  The huge warehouse space offered the opportunity to test large works.  The Kules residency will culminate in an exhibition at Olympus, I am really looking forward to this exhibition, on from 8th-29th November.


A trip to Frieze and SUNDAY

Alice, myself and Kornelia a studio artist at Airspace were nominated by the gallery to take part in Turning Point West Midland’s trip to Frieze art fair. Turning Point a network for the visual arts in the West Midlands organized our trip to London where we met other artists and explored both SUNDAY Art Fair and Frieze.  And as part of our trip the Contemporary Arts Society also gave us a tour of both fairs. As I have been to Frieze once before and was an intern for SUNDAY Art Fair last year I was familiar with both fairs, however, the tours offered a much more insightfully experience.  At SUNDAY, Rob Tufnell one of its organizer spoke to us about the origins of the fair and its aims, as well as his own gallery and the artist he was currently showing.  A few other gallery directors spoke to us about the artists they were showing.   It was extremely fascinating to hear how the galleries spoke about and represented each artist.

At Frieze Art Fair our tour included visiting a selection of the stalls and listening to the directors speak about their artists.  Some spoke at length, describing in detail the artist ideas and works, while other spoke more briefly, selecting a key area of the artist’s interests. After our tour we were free to roam the fair, which I felt, was much needed after the group tours.  Walking through the stalls I could explore the works that caught my eye. As always there was a lot to see and a great buzzy about the place, with performances happening throughout the day.  The trip with Turning point was a great opportunity to explore both fairs in London.


Soup Kitchen

More recently I attended one of Airspace Gallery’s Artist Soup Kitchen events.  Susan Jones, who was until recently the Director of a-n came and spoke to a small group of us about the importance of artist-led activities, the value of artist within communities and paying artists.  Throughout the talk we were able to write our thoughts and highlight points discussed on the tablecloth.  These contributions will come together in a book along with the soup recipes. After Susan highlighted on some extremely thought provoking points, we were then served a delicious soup made by Anna Francis. The talk then continued and others began to contribute to the discussion.  It was great to hear what the other artist had to say on the topic and some point really stuck with me, making me rethink a few things.  I felt I was not able to contribute as much as the others, having just graduated and only just beginning to find my feet as an artist, but it was great to hear the experiences of the other artists.  The Soup Kitchen was great format for discussion and the soup was excellent!

So these are some of the things I have been getting up to on my residency at Airspace Gallery this month.  Check my blog at : naomiharwin.tumblr.com if you would like to see my studio work.