How, as an artist, designer or architect do you retain the essence of your studio practice when you outsource elements of production? How do you communicate the subtleties and nuances within these forms to others? This can be particularly challenging when engaging non-art fabricators. What, too, are their expectations in terms of communication style and content, from initial brief writing to the project’s management?
We are delighted to welcome Lucy Tomlins from the Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre to talk through the process and practicalities of working with a fabricator, how you scope out and specify a job, how these relationships work, and things to consider to ensure things run smoothly.
Lucy Tomlins is co-director of Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre (PSC), a not-for-profit arts organisation focused on providing essential opportunities, technical support and facilities to enable the advancement of sculptural practice in the UK and on promoting critical engagement and innovation in this field.
An experienced project manager, she oversees the organisation’s fabrication and technical services available to artists, architects, designers and others. She has delivered large-scale public art commissions including award winning The Smile, designed by Alison Brooks / ARUP for the London Design Festival and HTA Design LLP’s public art commission for Countryside’s East City Point scheme in Canning Town, as well as smaller commissions for gallery exhibition by earlier-career artists, such as Eva Fàbregas: Those things that your fingers can tell, Kunstverein München, Munich. In tandem with her work for PSC, Lucy maintains her own sculpture practice.
PSC offer a range of technical and fabrication support services to artists, architects, designers, galleries and others. Sculptors and those working with 3D forms are more likely to need and engage with these types of services earlier on in their careers than other artists as they experiment with different materials, modes of production and complex form making in their developing practices.
PSC recently launched the Sculpture Production Award 2019. Open to emerging artists working in 3D and based within the UK but outside of London, the Award will provide six sculptors with skills mentoring and a £1,000 production grant towards the realisation of a new work. One of the six artists will also be invited to exhibit at the Coventry Biennial 2019.
The Award is aimed at artists looking to explore the process of working with external fabricators. It is a unique opportunity for artists to realise a piece of sculpture from concept through to completion with support into this new way of working.
STEAMhouse Creative Director Ruth Claxton is one of the selectors alongside Flora Fairbairn (Independent Curator, Art Advisor and Director of Branch Arts), Ryan Gander (Artist), Helen Pheby (Head of Curatorial Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and Lucy Tomlins (Director of Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre).
Image credit: Eva Fàbregas, Shaper, 2019. Resin, steel, paint, 95 x 100 x 90 cm. Produced with the support of La Caixa foundation