Curious Gallery Winter 2015-16 show


Does making help creative thinking?

An exhibition of 27 selected artists’ maquettes
and models.

Images above (from left to right): Anne Cresswell, Claire Tindale, Naomi Greeves


Ben Browton / Anika Carpenter / Nicholas Cheeseman / Anne Cresswell / Rachel Dodson / Eldi Dundee / Miranda Ellis /
Elaine Fisher / Naomi Greeves / Rupert Hartley / Harriet Hill / Charlie Hurcombe / John King / Jessica Knight / Valerie Large / Amy Leung / Penny Maltby / Vanessa Marr / Judy Martin / Emma Pratt / Jim Roseveare / Katherine Sullivan /
Yvette Sullivan + Caelli Brooker / Caroline Testa / Claire Tindale / Alice Walter / Poppy Whatmore


Ben Browton

Ben Browton trained at Goldsmiths College, London (BA Hons Fine Art) 1982-85. He has exhibited in the UK and Europe. He has also worked as a performer, writer and composer. His current practice is called the TOXIC project, which he began in 2008 after an extended period away from making.  Ben chose to make work only in orange and black and all titles are preceded by the word TOXIC. This work embraces objects, drawing, screen printing, digital printing, signpainting, musical composition, costume and installations.

"I often use maquettes as my first point of making from drawing. This allows me to experiment with materials, dimensions and proportions. I also call them prototypes, in that they are the first manifestation of an idea towards production. For this process I use jigs and templates, and take regular photographs during the putting together in order to document the stages of construction."

Lives and works in Hastings.

Anika Carpenter

Anika Carpenter received a Fine Art degree from Bath School of Art & Design in 1997 and an MA from Kingston University in 2010. She works with pastels, paint, model-making and sculpture. Her subject is the relationship of objects and forms to the mind, their ability to both hold on to and muddle memories.

Anika had a solo show at the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery in 2009 and at the Towner Gallery Café in 2013. In 2014, she was awarded an a-n New Collaborators Bursary to spend a year working with Canadian writer Erin Soros.

"I want to develop ways of exhibiting my drawings that draw viewers into an image and away from the gallery. Previously I have embedded one work within another, using peepholes to capture a viewer’s gaze. At present I am developing environments/sculptures, within which I can place my drawings. Maquettes allow me test out these structures; to see how the light will fall, how it may be to move around them, and to assess how placing one image inside another might affect the reading of a work."

Lives and works in Brighton.

Nicholas Cheeseman

Nicholas Cheeseman graduated a year ago from Chelsea College of Arts MA Fine Art course. He works both two and three dimensionally. Nicholas has just been awarded a four month residency at the Muse Gallery in London.

"Ever since I was a small child making things with my hands provided me with piece of mind. When I am producing work as an adult it is only when I physically begin playing with materials or images that I am able to make decisions about potential ways to refine and resolve the ideas that I am exploring. There is a clarity of thought and confidence when in the act of producing work that is difficult to obtain at any other time. All of the three dimensional work that I produce is a result of this process of thinking whilst physically producing objects. These maquettes are typical of this approach."

Lives and works in East London.

Anne Cresswell 

Anne Cresswell works primarily in textiles and sculpture. She has previously worked in book publishing and libraries while studying art and has recently completed an MA in Fine Art at Leeds University.

"Found imagery offers a starting point to spark off ideas for a new construction process. Handmade textiles provide the skin or bond to hold the disparate elements together. The threads used to construct the makeshift structures are cheap and throwaway, as are the parts. Knitting and sewing relate as material processes to natural cycles of growth and decay – they can be used to build things incrementally and organically but could also very easily unravel. Contained within the tiny structures that are built inside and around a matchbox are the seeds for a larger work."

Lives and works in Manchester.

Rachel Dodson

Rachel Dodson has recently graduated from a BA in Fine Art at UCA Canterbury. Her practice attempts to bridge a relationship between sculptural forms and painterly devices through the construction of installations. These installations are both dependent and resistant to the space they inhabit. They often consist of smaller works that are staged within the installation that attempt to draw the viewers’ attention into details, as well as allowing the viewer to move around the space. This encourages attention and distraction to come into play.

"I often create small scale works or maquettes in order play with shape, form and space before making a large installation. I like to work with a variety of media to play with textures and colour. This is because I am very interested by the fact that varying scale can dramatically affect the viewers relationship to the work. The smaller sculptures attempt to draw in the viewer’s curiosity by inviting them to explore the model-like spaces with their mind, rather than large physical pieces that relate to the body."

Lives and works in Rochester, Kent.

Eldi Dundee

Eldi Dundee is a visual artist whose practice spans multiple forms and media: painting, sculpture, drawing, print, textiles, assemblage, installation, video, photography, text and performance. She grew up in NY, studied Human Ecology in Maine and Acting & Performance in London. More recently, she studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw (Central St Martins/UAL) as an undergraduate student, and University of East London as a post-grad. She is currently an MA Fine Art student at Chelsea College of Art and Design (UAL).

"I'm a kinesthetic learner and find that I think best by doing, and working with my hands in 3D, feeling/touching the materials and seeing how malleable they are or how structurally supportive they can be, and it's much more interesting for me than 2D. I  use maquettes to plan larger projects that have yet to materialise."

Lives and works in London.

Miranda Ellis

Miranda Ellis studied figurative sculpture and painting in London, 3D design in Brighton, mould making at Brighton University and glass casting at Liquid Glass. She is currently doing an Advanced Glass workshop in Westminster and works from her studio in Brighton. Miranda has exhibited at Brighton's Open House and Artwave festivals for many years, as well as Sussex Prairie and the Two Horse gallery/studio on Brighton seafront, which she set up with Hebe Vernon Morris (Director at bip-Art).

"The process is the most exciting  part for me. Ater the  drawing, the  making allows a  free fall of ideas,  improvising whilst considering  the  requirements of  the glass process."

Lives and works in Brighton.

Elaine Fisher

Elaine Fisher is a former museum curator and archaeology student exploring fine art as a context in which to undertake a without-bounds study of the human world.  She is interested in the phenomenal and questions, through artistic research, the certainty and exactitude of an already ordered-classed, material world.  Elaine exploits the material, form, meanings and relationships encountered in place, considering them against established knowledge systems, asking audiences to consider the uncertainty of assemblage as an alternate strategy for coming to know a forever changing, relational world.

"I use making to think through the properties and possibilities of collected material and to recreate forms and relationships that cannot be physically removed from site.  I also use making to distract the pursuit of the mind.  A bit like walking, thinking/making exerts just enough mental activity to occupy and therefore relax the mind.  I find it helps against over-thinking, allowing time for thoughts to settle in their original, simple form.  I often use repetition and labour (eg. burnishing) to lengthen the benefits of this process."

Lives and works in Cheltenham.

Naomi Greeves

Naomi Greeves has recently graduated with a BA (Hons) in Drawing and Applied Arts from UWE, Bristol, where she is now employed as the Junior Fellow for the Drawing and Print BA. Naomi continues to develop her practise, taking inspiration from architectural forms and ideals: the artist is interested in the way that we construct and engage with the spaces we inhabit. She has exhibited in a number of exhibitions across Bristol and more recently in Bath.

"Making has become an integral part of my working process: it is my starting point. These small structures can be very quick to make and (very much like drawing) can be used as a tool to generate initial ideas for a body of work. I use making in conduction with drawing, where one process informs and references the other. The forms I make are inspired by architectural models: they are basic in construction and often include materials used on building sites."

Lives and works in Bristol.

Rupert Hartley

Rupert Hartley's practice combines a conceptual approach with a focus on the built environment. He studied an MA Art in Architecture at the University of East London (1995-96) and for several years following this worked on publicly sited art projects and research before establishing his studio practice in London. His studio works include drawing, digital print, model making, photography, painting and found objects and through a combination of these he constructs both pictorial and sculptural works.

"Bound up in my work are many rituals of making – I work in series and use process to explore the potential of materials in different ways. The processes I employ prompt thoughts in their rhythm and connection to the material or medium I am using. Through making work I question how our experiences are constructed and mediated, how we connect to the objects and environments in our daily lives."

Lives and works in London.

Harriet Hill

Harriet Hill gained a BA Fine Art from Cardiff in 1987. Exhibiting nationally since 2003, she established a reputation as a leading contemporary felt-maker. Completing an MFA Textiles, with distinction, at Goldsmiths in 2007, her practise shifted, reaffirming her focus on sculpture and spatial installation. Harriet exhibits regularly through exhibitions and residencies: spending time in a place, creating work. She earns a living working in art fabrication and prop-making.

"My work has a strong element of drawing whether as linear sculpture or in defining a physical space. When I draw on paper I very quickly move to making models and maquettes, working through ideas as material and physical form. These works are sketches but often become the finished piece; playing with scale and the notion of the diminutive artwork."

Lives and works in London.

Charlie Hurcombe

Since graduating with an MA in Fine Art from UCE in 1998 (following a Fine BA Hons at Falmouth) Charlie Hurcombe has exhibited constantly in solo and group exhibitions as well as participating in a wide range of practice and production based residencies.

Charlie Hurcombe’s practice is centred upon the manufacture of sculptural forms often utilising fabrication and construction, where methods of assembly are made visible. References throughout are promoted towards manufacturing, production and the ‘hand-made’. Often the seeming simple act of transforming 2D flat sheet material into 3D volumetric form is part of the creative process.

[about the selected maquette, part of a series] "Each 'Cardboard Baroque' maquette consists of three singular units assembled to make a sculptural structure. Their construction acted not only as a means of exploring the potential form and structure of subsequent aluminium units but also acted as a rehearsal towards an understanding of the final methods of assembly. The use of readily available cardboard (itself being free, having been recycled from everyday packaging) not only served as a sheet material to act as a substitute for the final aluminium sheet but also one which could be easily cut and easily assembled using inexpensive masking tape and pva glue."

Lives and works in Worcester.

John King

John King trained at St Martins in the late 60s by the then ‘New Generation’ of British Sculptors (Caro et al), alongside Gilbert and George and Richard Long. John has had a career as an art educator as well as art practitioner. He is now practising full time and exhibiting internationally.

"Direct interaction with materials and processes gives rise to these maquettes. They are made by filling surgical gloves with plaster and manipulating them into shape whilst they set. The forms are then added to or carved and finished with an airbrush. It would not be possible to draw such forms. They are deliberately suggestive and some are incendiary, appearing benign but suggestively sexual. Sculptors routinely use form but are often reluctant to own up to the sexuality of their image. These pose the question; how much is in the eye of the beholder and what does this tell you about yourself?"

Lives and works in London.

Jessica Knight

Jessica Knight trained at City & Guilds of London Art School. On graduating from her MA in Fine Art in 2013 she spent six weeks assisting a sculptor in Jamaica on a commissioned bronze of Olympic athlete Usain Bolt. She then worked as a costume designer-maker for theatres such as The Royal Court ('Primetime'). Jessica combines her knowledge of traditional sculpting techniques with her self-taught dressmaking skills to make what she calls 'cloth sculptures'. Jessica's newest work, 'Journeys' was exhibited in Bethnal Green in November 2015 as part of a fundraiser event, 'Art For Freedom', hosted by the Red Light Campaign, an anti-human trafficking organisation with whom Jessica has previously collaborated. 'Journeys' is the first in a planned series of textile sculptures exploring specific garments that encapsulate strong or conflicted cultural identities.

"I like to combine the fashion atelier technique of toile-making with the traditional techniques of sculpture when working in clay and cloth to translate a sketch or an idea into 3D form. It is not only an extremely fast way of seeing an idea realised, but it is malleable. The clay can be pushed around until I'm satisfied and the calico can be cut, pinned and stitched until the shape is just right. I can also draw or paint directly onto the calico and clay to check colours / print ideas. The most important part of this process is that it allows for experimentation, and for new ideas to be born during this stage. If something comes to me that varies hugely from the initial idea, I try to finish one idea and quickly knock up the next idea whilst it's still fresh."

Lives and works in Brighton.

Valerie Large

Valerie Large studied painting and then sculpture at St Martin’s School of Art and is a member of Barbican Arts Group Trust. She works as a sculptor using fibre and recycled paper and has exhibited locally and internationally. Valerie's recent studio practise has moved into installation.

"I generally create work by making small scale pieces from paper first as I do not find I can imagine the structure of a piece before I make it. I have an idea, but can’t see it in my mind’s eye. My works are often chance-based and respect the intrinsic quality of the materials. Making a small scale maquette helps to promote the immediacy of finding and producing new structures in a short space of time."

Lives and works in London.

Amy Leung

Amy Leung graduated from Camberwell in 2014. Now based in a studio in West Norwood, her current practice involves making objects and installations out of ceramics, wood, printings, casting and mark-making. She is interested in making objects as approximations or souvenirs of bigger things.

Amy Leung is also part of a peer-led group called AltMFA, exploring alternative ways of continuing an art education, coming together for crits, lectures and shows.

"Making as a tool for thought is particularly important in my work where objects take centre place. Making and playing with both raw materials and found objects are an important stage where I find things and ideas move quickly. Making loose, quick impressions and painted shapes trying out different forms and working instinctively and tangentally all result in a kind of thinking through making. I am interested in using light materials like ply, paper, clay, paint and printing – materials that can be molded and made into without too much force. Smaller scale making also helps to realise bigger pieces whilst holding value as objects and arrangements in themselves."

Lives and works in London.

Penny Maltby

Penny Maltby is a third-year student at Oxford Brookes University (BA Creative Arts). Her first degree was in Hotel and Catering and, having worked in the catering industry for many years, she always held a small space for creativity, specialising in textiles and embroidery in her spare time. Pursuing an art degree is now allowing her to broaden her skills and material investigations. Her work is often concerned with the relationship between hand labour/ intensive making in everyday objects or products and how this relates to our perceptions of value.

"Thinking through making is at the core of my practice. Using a wide range of materials and processes enables me to visualise the possibilities, to touch and to feel, to test the boundaries and the inherent characteristics and qualities of the materials. I use the 3D sampling/maquettes as many use their sketchbook, quickly realising and testing my ideas, expressing them in a tangible form. The act of making allows me a deep connection to the subject matter currently under investigation or to the material itself."

Lives and works in Oxford.

Vanessa Marr

As a graphic designer and lecturer, Vanessa Marr's work is underpinned by visual design theory and processes yet embraces an intuitive and physical approach that facilitates self-authorship. She is particularly interested in the domestic and feminine origins of fairy tales and the role of these narratives in everyday life. Her artwork references traditional ‘women’s work’ and stimulates her imagination through the reflective and contemplative thinking that hand sewing inspires.

"The trouble with most ideas is that they work in my head as concept, but once physical quickly evolve into a series of ‘problems' to be resolved – that is when it gets exciting! Thinking with my hands has the same purpose as a sketchbook but without the bound, flat constraints. The intended outcome is loose and often unresolved, the pressure to achieve is lifted; no works of art here, just exploring. As ideas evolve I often apply the form of the book, with background in book design this is form I’m familiar with but feel free within."

Lives in Bexhill-on-Sea and works in Hastings.

Judy Martin

Judy Martin attended Maidstone College of Art (1969-1972), and then Reading University for a postgraduate degree (1972-74) – primarily studying painting and printmaking. Since then she has pursued her work independently, and since establishing a permanent home in Brighton, she has exhibited most years as part of the Brighton Festival's 'Artists Open Houses'. Judy has enjoyed a career in publishing, adult teaching and mental health – all of which have used her knowledge and skills as an artist.

"For the past few years I have wanted to produce 3D work developing themes expressed in my paintings. After a couple of attempts at near-life size figure sculptures, I reverted to working on a small scale, using simple materials such as cardboard, papier mache and air-drying clay - painted and/or collaged with fabric. This has been a useful way of exploring the visual representation and encountering some of the technical difficulties of 3D making - weight, balance, stability."

Lives and works in Brighton.

Emma Pratt

Emma Pratt is a visual artist who works mainly with sculpture, drawing and collage.

Selected exhibitions include Reclaimed: The Second Life of Sculpture, The Briggait, Glasgow (part of Glasgow International), The Usher, Galleri Gro, Jakobstad, Finland (2015); Everything Is Vague Until You Make It Precise, The Hospital for Dazed Art, The Briggait, Glasgow (2014); No Heroics, Please, The Crypt Gallery, London (2013); All Streets Lead to Somewhere Else, MyAtelier, Rome (2011).

Alongside her individual practice Emma works with artists Anneli Holmstrom & Kadie Salmon as part of Captain Lightfoot.

"I make a lot of little models out of cardboard, plaster, paper and wax. I find making maquettes a quick and manageable way to feel around an idea, visualise it and seek out possible construction methods. Often I think they are best kept as works in themselves as I cannot see the added benefit of re-making them (sometimes the models communicate everything in themselves although I have not exhibited them as yet). The thing I like most about making these models is that I often, indeed and nearly always, do not understand what I have made. The more models that I make, I begin to see certain forms and hints constantly emerging and suddenly find that I have somehow created my own set of symbols and that ideas emerge. After works are made I can begin to analysis and work out what is happening, looking for areas were things overlap and coincide."

Lives and works in Edinburgh.

Jim Roseveare

Jim Roseveare originally trained in Photography at the London College of Communication (BA Hons 1998).  Since graduating, his practice now includes a variety of media; installation, sculpture, video and photography.  He exhibits in the UK and Internationally with work at The Istanbul Art Fair, The Saatchi Gallery and most recently at Farley Farm House.

"I make maquettes to envisage spatial dynamics and scale.  It enables me to consider practical issues such as materials, construction and lighting.  The physical process of making maquettes is key to defining the thinking behind my work."


Lives and works in St Leonards-on-Sea.

Katherine Sullivan

Kathering Sullivan studied for a BA in Sculpture at Wolverhampton University and followed this with an MA in Art in Architecture in East London. Since graduating, she has moved around the UK and Ireland following artist's residency and fellowship opportunities. Katherine Sullivan is a sculptor whose work explores the question of identity and the way we portray this in the world, through the forms of our clothing and our architecture. She often initiates residencies in heritage sites where she explores her clothing/architecture theme through various periods in history.

"Much of my work is large scale and fabricated in metal. Shaping ideas through maquette-making is an essential element of my working process. I am able to scrutinise scale, proportion and the choice of materials and colours in a 3 dimentional form and I constantly refer to the maquette whilst creating the large-scale work. Making in this way allows the subconscious mind to reveal profound creative responses to the initial artistic idea. It allows creative 'magic' to happen."

Lives and works in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

Yvette Sullivan + Caelli Brooker

A collaborative maquette from Yvette Sullivan and Caelli Jo Brooker.

Yvette Sullivan is a graduate of the MA Artist Teachers & Contemporary Practices programme at Goldsmiths, and is a practicing Artist Teacher working in secondary education in Sussex. She uses practice as research to investigate and map journeys along paths of multiple identities, combining arts theory, practice, teaching and learning. Lives and works in Newhaven, East Sussex.

Caelli Brooker's professional background is in commercial design, creative pedagogy and the cultural and creative industries. Having previously worked as an arts administrator, curator and artist-run gallery director, she maintains a design and visual arts practice while working as a Lecturer in Visual Communication and Design at the University of Newcastle. Lives and works in Newcastle, NSW Australia.

"We are interested in collaboration, and how creative thinking can be shared, visualised and mapped through processes of making. Using the Deleuzo-Guattarian rhizome as a metaphor to explore the non-hierarchical, and interwoven potential of shared experience, we have explored ways to model, make and document thoughts, values, processes and priorities for creative collaboration.

The exhibited maquette draws on work produced during ‘Mapping Collaboration’, an experimental event in which a central gallery space was dedicated to the participatory building of a rhizomatic structure - creating a visualisation of collaborative values, that documented and informed collaborative thinking and encounters through its very making."

Caroline Testa

Caroline Testa obtained a BA in Technical Arts and Special Effects from Wimbledon School of Art, specialising in figurative sculpture. She worked as a Junior Sculptor at Madame Tussaud's and in the industry before teaching as a Lecturer on the Props and Special Effects course at Northbrook, Worthing, and Central School of Speech and Drama. Caroline work as a Theatre Artist with a strong interest in Puppetry and Performance. She toured with Dans La Poche, 'La Sybille' during the summer and performed with Fidaa Ataya - a puppeteer and playback performer in Brighton, and worked with puppeteer Christopher Leith.

"I make models and maquettes to understand movement and weight. Using armatures means I can move pieces to explore positioning. By sculpting in clay, moulding and casting gives me the opportunity to experiment with a variety of materials. Puppet heads need to be lightweight and durable. Working quickly, I often use wire, masking tape and clay to quickly 'draw in space'. The rabbit maquettes were explorative thoughts. I think therefore I make and I make therefore I think. These models then develop into tableaus and stories, movements then characters and performances."

Lives in Plumpton, works in Worthing and London.


Claire Tindale

Claire Tindale is a contemporary visual artist who uses media and format most appropriate to the ideas and concepts being explored. She is also an educator with experience across academic, healthcare and community contexts. Recent projects have utilised the miniature, 1/12th scale model as a mechanism to explore and visualise contraction in connection with mental, physical or psychological concerns. This is a feature of a new installation currently being developed for Hospital Records at CFCCA, Manchester in December 2015. An Axisweb artist and CGA (Castlefield Gallery Associate) member, Claire has work included in the Tate Special Collection.

"The act of making helps to translate abstract ideas into tangible forms. By doing so this enables a process of problem solving both in terms of practical considerations and conceptual reasoning. It facilitates the answering of questions, such as ‘will that structure be stable?’ or ‘is that spatial composition effective?’. For the purposes of planning an installation the process of making assists in mapping out the designated space and visualising the work within it. In addition to this, new possibilities are suggested and further ideas generated."

Lives and works in Manchester.

Alice Walter

Alice Walter graduated from Brighton University in 2014, having studied Fine Art Painting. She has exhibited at Interview Room 11 in Edinburgh and Airspace Gallery in Stoke-on-trent, as well as in London and Brighton. Earlier this year she completed a six-month residency at Airspace Gallery ending in a solo exhibition.

"Often homesick when away from their studio, my works seem to feel most comfortable when climbing around and befriending one another. Works adorn furniture or each other as jewellery or imps, though not as ‘decoration’ but instead its verb, falling somewhere in between creatures and ornaments. Being familial, they occasionally mimic each other in form, though the studio ecology that has emerged means their making does not prioritise itself towards a finished work, but of seeing how things are seen; how a context or compartment is the aesthetic narration to the artwork, rather than vice versa."

Lives in Hastings and works in Bexhill-on-Sea.

Poppy Whatmore

Artwork achievements include an AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) award (2010-2012), the Aesthetica Art Prize (2013); nomination for Adrian Carruthers Studio Award (2012), and commendation for SculptureShock, Royal British Sculptors (2012). Selected exhibitions include 'Academy Now' (Bologna, Italy); 'New Contempories 2011-2012' (works chosen for Saatchi Gallery’s Public Collection); 'Academy Now' (2013), 'Collyer Bristow Gallery' (2013); 'Exchange Project' (A.P.T, London) funded by Arts Council  (2013) and 'London Art Fair' (Limoncello Gallery stand, 2013). Solos shows include 'Wounds of the City' (Underground Car Park, Glasgow) and 'Slip into the World' (Good Job Gallery, Bermondsey, London), both in 2014.

"My methodological approach includes assemblage, a technique employed to reconfigure conventional forms into surprising and playful arrangements, portraying the flaws of the human condition. Making as a tool for thought is implemented in a scaled-down form where I can experiment with incongruous configurations of objects and raw materials. Before exercising large-scale projects, models allow me to examine alternative arrangements and composition re-examining the nature, experience and reading of an object."

Lives and works in London.

Rather than showing finished work, this is an exhibition of three-dimensional ‘sketches’, models and maquettes, made as part of the artists’ creative thinking process – either a kind of ‘making’ used purely as a thinking tool and/or as an aid to making actual work.

We received over 100 entries in response to our 'call for artists' to submit their maquettes and models. The result is a selection of 27 pieces that shows a broad range of practices, materials and techniques.

The selected artists come from all over the UK (and even Australia), and whilst most have studied art, they have varied backgrounds and approaches to making work. Some of the artists are still studying, some are mid-career, and some have been practising for decades.