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Craft & Material Practices graduate awarded British Art Medal Society Medal Makers Award

After winning the BAMS Student Medal Project last year, graduate Gregory Williams has impressed again with the Medal Makers Award.

Gregory Williams, graduate of Plymouth College of Art’s BA (Hons) Craft & Material Practices course, has been awarded a Medal Makers Award grant by the British Art Medal Society (BAMS).

Granted by a donation from sculptor and medallist Ron Dutton in 2020, the award is given to a UK based artist who either were set to graduate this year or have graduated within the last year and is intended to help artists continue to make medals after graduating.

Gregory won the BAMS Student Medal Project in 2020, with his piece called ‘Conversation’ which he created using bronze casting and computer-aided design (CAD) software, supported by the expert staff in the college’s Fab Lab Plymouth. The medal represented the interaction and communication between opposing forces: the calming organic against the hectic mechanic. The judges commented on Gregory's medal, highlighting the contrasting smooth and complex use of texture on both sides of the medal, remarking that it won due to the fact it was an attractive piece inspired by a good subject matter.

Medals COMPWEB

Gregory's BAMS Student Medal Project winning piece 'Conversation'

Gregory said, “The BAMS Student Medal Project was the turning point for my medal designing, it felt incredibly validating to have my design recognised and it encouraged me to include medals as a major part of my craft.”

The BAMS Medal Makers Award is intended to assist in equipping artists with the necessary tools, financing travel in order to research or to take part in placements, supporting individuals in commissioning medals and encouraging artists to network and contact organisations and studios, with financial support considered from €200 to €1000.

Applicants were asked to send in a proposal including a 200-word explanation of how they intended to spend the award funds, explaining how it would allow them to continue to make medals. Artists were also asked to send images of their work, as well as a CV and a brief statement on their plans for the future.

ID Photo Gregory Williams

Graduate Gregory Williams

“I was thrilled, and in all honesty, a little shocked to have received the BAMS Medal Makers Award. With the grant, it covers the cost of 3D printing, casting and basic materials. I’m also able to purchase tools and equipment to further develop my medals, from designing and rendering to being more hands on and producing physical pieces.”

Gregory studied BA (Hons) Craft & Material Practices (at the time called 3D Design Crafts) during the pandemic, graduating in 2020 to return this year as a volunteer in the studios at Plymouth College of Art.

“Since I’ve graduated, we’ve spent time in lockdown so I continued designing 3D pieces on my computer as well as preparing myself to work more from home without such a heavy reliance on studios being open. Now lockdown has begun to lift and the college has reopened, I have spent my time split between designing at home and making in the studios as a volunteer. My focus had once again shifted into ceramics, until this award, which allows me to spend more time on my metal pieces.”

Medal Design Bookcase

'Bookcase' medal design

“At opposite ends of the scale, my favourite ways of working are directly with my hands, and with my computer. With clay, I prefer working with slabs, creating simple forms with complex textures. I love the way that I can hold the pieces as I go, feeling it as much as looking at it. When working with metal, I prefer working with CAD, as it lets me work with such a high level of precision, with the piece decided by my imagination and not my technical skill.”

Senior Lecturer and Subject Leader of BA (Hons) Craft & Material Practices, Gayle Matthias said, “The Craft team is so pleased to hear that Gregory has built on his previous BAMS award success by becoming a recipient of the BAMS grant to help further his career in medal design. During his three years of study, Gregory discovered a passion for intricate model making through both CAD and hand carving, which he continues to put to great use.”

Gregory said, “My advice to anyone studying crafts would be to try everything. The tutors at the college really pushed us to try as much as we could to find out what worked. I desperately resisted this for a while, however, it’s only because I listened and tried something new (the BAMS Student Medal Project 2020) that I’m doing what I’m doing now. I may have tried a hundred things that didn’t work for me, but it was worth it, and actually a lot of fun.”

Keep up to date with Gregory’s work on Instagram.