Artist-in-residence is a big draw at GSAL

Friday 17 February 2017

Sculptor Ailsa Magnus brought a new dimension to art lessons when she spent a week at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) as an artist-in-residence.

Students studying art at GCSE and A-level worked with Ailsa, learning new techniques and finding out about life after art school. Ailsa studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Gray’s School of Art, followed by four years at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, and has created an impressive portfolio of public artworks in different media.

Y10 students are working with natural forms in their artwork and learned about direct casting with Ailsa, while sixth form students studying art or design technology gained an insight into the life of a professional artist, and the practicalities of creating sculpture, public artworks and working to commission.

Tom Core Y10 said: “It’s been really fun working with a real artist, I’ve picked up some new techniques that are useful for my work and learned how to create more practical things. I love art and meeting someone who does it for a living is amazing.”

Ailsa said: “I’ve enjoyed it greatly, it’s important for students to see there’s a job after art college and a practical application for their studies.”

Children in Rose Court and Junior School also enjoyed sessions with Ailsa. 16 Y2 pupils visited from Rose Court and made plaster plaques by imprinting designs into clay and taking casts. Y6 pupils used the same techniques to create their plaster tiles, and had a presentation from Ailsa on some of the public art she has produced.

Head of art at GSAL, Stewart Kelly, said: “Students take so much from Ailsa’s visits, gaining a deeper understanding of how an artist works, while seeing her portfolio and the creative process gives realism to the work they do in school.”

Photo – Ailsa Magnus shows a ‘plaster glove’ to Y10 students Tom Core, Tanya Fisher, Emily Ridings and Alex Kahn

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