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Posted 07.06.16

Graduate Shows 2016: Ten to watch

By Sarah Packer

Our annual Graduate Shows see the college transform from a vibrant workshop and studio complex into a dynamic, public showcase for new work in art, craft, design and digital media.

With 2016’s Graduate Shows open 11-24 June (see our event page for opening times), our graduating BA (Hons) students proudly present their final major projects – the culmination of years spent studying, experimenting, growing and making with us.

Below, we feature ten must-see works from our talented students – so expect bold concepts and fresh techniques across an eclectic range of mediums, both modern and traditional.

In no particular order…

1. Fern Robinson

BA (Hons) Jewellery & Silversmithing


Fern is fascinated with the human temptation to touch and play, with tactile urges playing an integral role within her jewellery. Interactive elements and contrasting materials result in vivid, fun, mixed media structures that transform the role of the wearer to active participant.

Childlike interaction mixes with post-modern aesthetic in her latest collection, ‘PLAY’. With vibrant colours, geometric forms and mazes, Fern’s work is all about creating a lasting connection between the wearer and the object.

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2. Alex Derry

BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts

Bending the rules of traditional glasswork, Alex has spent the last three years experimenting with colour and form, allowing the scientific nature of his practice to inform the resulting piece.

Playing with structures made from borosilicate (a notoriously heat resistant material), and ceramic oxides, objects more typically found in a lab are given a new lease of life in marbled hues. /

Alex Derry, BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts. Photo by Paul Mounsey Photography.

3. Aedan Jenner

BA (Hons) Animation

'All Seeing Eye'

Aedan’s work explores industry standard construction techniques used in the creation of stop motion films. Inspired by studios like Mackinnon and Saunders, Laika and Aardman, his experiments with silicone and polypropylene plastic resins have resulted in armatures, props and puppets that come together in unsettling narratives.

Aedan will be displaying one of the sets that he’s created, alongside some of his handcrafted armatures and puppets at the show. Keep an eye out for Aedan’s stop motion featurette later this year. /

'All Seeing Eye' by Aedan Jenner, BA (Hons) Animation.

4. Ella Doherty

BA (Hons) Illustration

Known for her hand-drawn, stylistic illustrations, Ella’s work comes in many forms – on paper in the form of tour posters and art prints, on leather in the form of handmade bags and on boxes in the form of packaging – demonstrating her specialism in screen-printing.

Inspired by her Irish heritage, Ella creates contemporary, ethereal works, that stretch beyond the traditional mediums of 2D illustration. /  

Screenprinted bags by Ella Doherty, BA (Hons) Illustration. Photography and gif by Jon Cooney.

5. Russell Cleave

BA (Hons) Film


Russell Cleave’s film ‘Kowel’ is a narrative drama that plays on regional stereotypes, with a deep insight into the culture of the South West of England. The film reveals the harsh reality of the area and it’s inhabitants, a contrast to the ‘dime a dozen’ films that depict overly-dramatised, stereotypical West Country characters.

Setting himself a strict manifesto to make a film using only affordable equipment, amongst Russell’s arsenal was a seven-year-old DSLR and a heap of lenses picked up in charity shops for less than £10. His method reflects the strong presence of DIY art and music in the South West, which is used as a backdrop throughout the film. /

6. Kinga Burakowska

BA (Hons) Photography

Kinga Burakowska’s photography is a form of self-expression – combining her passion for the medium with her personal life experience, she constructs images that reflect the world around her.

In Kinga’s latest project she documents her exploration of new relationships and her search for the hidden qualities that each individual possesses. Her focus on natural light and muted colour palettes result in images that evoke something that flits between a dream and a memory. /

Ethereal, self-expressive imagery by Kinga Burakowska, BA (Hons) Photography.

7. Allie Couch

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

‘Changing Perspectives

“Having a disability is a life-changing experience, but it doesn’t always have to be a negative one”. With her final graduate project, Allie Couch is challenging people's perspectives on physical disabilities through moving image.

Taking place in an abandoned market hall, the camera travels around the space to encounter fun and interactive typography that challenges the stigma associated with disability. Allie’s work highlights that many people overcome their disabilities and go on to redefine the boundaries of ability, achieving amazing things.

Allie collaborated with film graduates Round One Films Ltd and social enterprise Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) on the project. /

8. Will Roberts

BA (Hons) Game Arts

Inspired by the extensive worlds created in game and film, Will Roberts designs his own worlds through fantasy concept art. Characters delve into dragon lairs, wander icy wastelands and storm stone fortresses in his digital paintings.

'Ice Castle' by Will Roberts, BA (Hons) Game Arts.

9. Poppy-Lea Yeomans

BA (Hons) Fashion

“I was going to speak my mind but I wasn’t sure which side of my mouth you wanted to hear.” In today’s society, fashion and clothing is replaceable and temporary. Poppy-Lea looks to combat that notion with clothing that is autobiographical and confessional – an extension of the self.

The female experience and form is what drives her to produce her art, resulting in a unique exploration of textiles and unconventional methods which make up her final collection. Set to be unveiled at the Fashion Graduate Collections Show at The Red House on 21-22 June 2016, Poppy-Lea’s work is bold, illustrative and contemporary.

Bright, illustrative designs by Poppy-Lea Yeomans, BA (Hons) Fashion. Photograph by David Trickey.

10. Elena Brake

BA (Hons) Fine Art

‘The Washing Machine is Working’

Elena’s work embraces multi­media performance and installation, emphasising the beauty in the mundane with signature methods such as repetition, the distortion of time, and visual exaggerations, used to disrupt the viewer’s familiar environment.

Elena’s latest performance piece, ‘The Washing Machine Is Working’, treads the thin line between interrogation and entertainment, luring you into a false sense of security. A seemingly normal washing machine replica, has been stripped of machinery and replaced with a performer simulating the laundry cycle. Amusing, awkward, and totally surreal... /

'The Washing Machine is Working' by Elena Brake, BA (Hons) Fine Art.

See all of the fantastic work from our 500+ talented students across all levels at our Graduate Shows 2016, 11-24 June, free and open to all. See our event page for opening times.

But it's not all about third year work from our Undergraduate degree programmes. You can also see a preview of first and second year work from our students in BA (Hons) Fashion Media and Marketing.

And you can see work from our range of Pre-Degree students, spanning our Extended Diploma courses and our Foundation Diploma in Art & Design.

You can also see work from students on our Young Arts Club courses, Short Courses, Apprenticeships, and the groups of our charity partner Jeremiah's Journey.

The public can get involved too, with many pieces of art available to purchase, film screenings and live presentations running throughout the duration of the show – including our unmissable Graduate Fashion Show, which takes place at The Red House (Plymouth School of Creative Arts), on June 21 and 22.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram, with #NowYouSeeUs16.

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