Tag Archives: Final Piece

Encased In Amber



I had the chance to sneak back into Gleniffer High School yesterday evening to look for the famously lost final piece by Chelsea B (more on this later in the week). While in school, I stumbled across another long lost piece that finally showed its face, the piece above by Amber T (S3 now S4).

Amber had been avoiding the completion of this piece for months, obsessing about little parts, while other large areas remained untouched, and having to complete this piece over the summer is no mean feat either, without a Teacher looming over her, it’s hard to find the drive to sit down and complete work.

So summer had passed and pupils returned to school and I had heard that this piece had still not shown up (possibly due to incompletion, though I don’t want to start any rumours). After some pushing Amber finally brought the piece back into school and I have to say, it was worth waiting for. Amber’s style is something that I have told her I like very much, there’s a freedom and confidence to it that would make me believe that anything she draws is important. Although a little inconsistent, it does show the extent of a person’s qualities and standards. While there are issues with the bottles (something that was completed in school), the box, the crystal heart and the reflections on the perfume lid are just spectacular (completed at home).

I do have one gripe; the folded crease along the middle of the piece, but it doesn’t take away from the skill involved. It is beautifully damaged, it’s very apt for Amber. She can produce beauty from carelessness, and that’s something that will annoy her peers.

I still ask myself though, ‘If Amber can do this with putting as little effort in as she possibly can, what could she do if she tried?!’, then I scare myself and try to dwell on something else…

Quality Over Quantity


Now that it’s hit the Summer Holidays a lot of you will probably not even be reading this anymore. You’ll be switched off from school and switched on to television, or dragged off to some foreign land. While you are all enjoying this very short time of being completely responsibility free, please remember those of you that are working. Like Katherine M, many S3 pupils will be trying to complete some of the work they didn’t get finished in normal class time due to their aim for quality and detail. Most units will fit into the time allowed, though a few will have many more hours of work needed to complete.

I do understand what’s going through the heads of those pupils, as I continually work through. I do not shut off. If you let things drift away from you, especially for seven weeks, you can become rusty and then it’s a challenge to get back to the same mind state you were before you started getting lazy. Here’s some advice for all the pupils that have work to complete over the summer.

1) Shorts frequent bursts, an hour every few days works best. Work completed in one long haul can sometimes look terrible after a few days… you won’t have noticed the drop in quality due to sitting down too long with the piece and it becomes too familiar.

2) Try and get the work completed earlier rather than later. The sooner you complete the work, the better you will feel having done it. Don’t leave it to the night before returning.

3) It is not a bad thing to be slow, but remember that the stress will be greater when aiming for the absolute best you can achieve. No artwork will ever be finished, you need to decide when you have had enough. Artwork morphs and changes, you could work on a piece for the rest of your life if you wished… but don’t.

4) Lighten the mood, art does not have to be completed on a dining room table in the dark while you’re feeling depressed. Listen to music, do it in the sun, while talking with friends. All you need is your materials and a sturdy surface (a piece of board or a tray might suffice), art should be enjoyable.

5) Don’t stress and rush your work to finish it… ‘all good things comes to those who wait’.

See-Through Me



Creeping into the Summer Holidays, I thought it was the perfect time to introduce you to Heather’s (S3) final piece for her expressive intermediate unit. Painted with powder block paints, Heather had spent a lot of classroom time (as well as lunch times and after school) to get this image ‘expressive and right’. The colours are similar to those used by artist Jenny Saville, though the style is much more impressionistic. Heather was not concerned with realistic or ‘correct’, the image was more about capturing a weird moment, a moment of self reflection or thought. The right eye gives us a sense of strangeness, something abstract, peering through the hand reminding us of Peek-a-boo games or hide and seek. An image that has been used quite regularly in Japanese cinema in films like ‘The Grudge’ or ‘Shutter’.

The background is printed with polystyrene tiles, the blue halo around the portrait bringing out the blue tints in the skin, reminding us of veins showing through. It makes us realise that our skin is see-through… we are transparent, we cannot hide behind make-up and clothes… nor behind our hands.



IMG_0563This weeks featured artwork comes from Ruth (S3), who has been working on this large A2 scraper board for over 2 months. Created like a normal scraper board, Ruth had to layout the sheet, crayon in coloured shapes, paint the whole thing with black ink, scrape it and then add in the earbuds with colouring pencil afterward.

The pose (hand over ear) and the weird squirming earbuds leads us to think that there is something frightening happening. The title of ‘Phonophobia’ lets us know that the fear is related towards sound, a fear of loud noises. Not that Ruth has a fear of loud noises, but it is a very contemporary theme whenever you consider blasting car stereos, buzzing mobile phones, screaming babies and blaring surround sound television sets.

Sound has no boundries, it cannot be looked away from or hidden by other sounds, unless those sounds are louder and actually worse than the sound you’re trying to disguise. It effects us psychologically, repetitive beats and disrespectful neighbours can stress us and ruin our day. Is this what Ruth’s trying to say? I can’t be sure, but it’s a piece that does make you think.

Jordan’s Head Revisited

After spending a whole year in S4 working on your Design Unit, the last thing that you probably want to do is go back and work on your Expressive unit from the year before. This is exactly what Jordan (S4) has done. You’d be surprised how quickly your artistic skills can develop and even a single year of development can make all the difference between a ‘good’ piece of work and a ‘great’ piece of work. Jordan worked lunchtimes and during after school support to change and add to his existing final piece. Adding an interesting Life Ring frame has not only hidden some poor background printing, it has made the piece more unique with more layering and media use.


Lights Alive


S4 are currently working towards a final piece for their design unit. Building models, maquettes and plans, they are slowly but surely finding the right materials and forms to get their ideas across.


Each based on a different animal, their lights must look suitable for use in an information room in Edinburgh Zoo. Not an easy task, especially when there are so many factors including lighting effects, daytime appearance, market, public use, cost and theme to think about. The tighter the design brief, the tougher the challenge.


Cow Parade Sculptures

The final cow sculptures look amazing. Although it was more difficult teaching the pupils to make every cow individual, it was worth it. The cows got an amazing response from all who saw them. Showing them at the Gleniffer final year show, a parent offered to buy Katherine‘s ‘Super Cow’ for £60. ‘Super Cow’ ended up being one of the major attractions of the parade, although I thought they were all amazing. It is really hard to pick a favourite.