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Student exhibition: Beverley Williams - The Open College of the Arts

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Student exhibition: Beverley Williams

OCA Textiles Student Beverley Williams will be culminating her studies with an upcoming exhibition Linking the Circle at The Battle of Britain memorial in Kent. Beverley has studied with OCA for 10 years.

‘Linking the Circle’ marks an interesting journey into investigations using recycled aluminium. Creating new and innovative tools to process the unpredictable metal, Bev Williams uses her textile knowledge and expertise to join the thin pieces of aluminium, creating artworks to pay homage to her late father-in-law Bob Williams, through his WW2 RAF service and subsequent employment with the Aluminium Corporation Ltd in Dolgarrog, North Wales.

Building on from previous successful experiments with repurposed aluminium, a passion to work with this unpredictable metal was ignited. Using aluminium from drinks cans and manipulating the metal has produced some unexpected results mainly because of the unpredictability of the metal.

“I have to listen to what aluminium is saying to me, I can’t anticipate or influence what to do with the metal, I have to be sympathetic to what the metal allows me to do.”

During WW2, Lord Beaverbrook, the Minister for Aircraft Production, encouraged members of the public to donate aluminium pots and pans for the war effort, specifically to raise money to buy Spitfires. This was known as the ‘Spitfire Fund’.

An audio visual presentation will be played at the exhibition in order to showcase Bev’s findings and will result in an unusual and interesting experience for the visitor, where they will be able to challenge the way they think about this industrial metal.

Keeping the link to Spitfire planes Bev is now exhibiting her art in the Geoffrey Page Wing at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne, Kent. The exhibition runs from 27 – 30 October 2022 and the Memorial is open from 10.00 to 16.00 and admission is free.

This image is my main one for my exhibition advertising. It shows my aluminium work called ‘Holding Pattern’ and this was chosen as a name for the installation piece because of the connection with flying. In aviation, ‘holding pattern’ is the circular flight path (often elliptical) maintained by an aircraft awaiting permission to land. Pattern is also relevant because of the connection to patchwork. My work is draped over a Spitfire Plane at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent.

The staff at the Memorial have been fantastic whenever I have asked for permission to film or photograph my art.

The image below shows my piece in development and covering the Roundel, the RAF circular disc used as an identifying mark.

This image below shows my developmental piece on the wing of the Spitfire with another artist’s sculpture of a crashed ‘Stuka’ in the background.

And this image below again is my developmental work on the tail wing of the Spitfire.

As part of my experimenting into aluminium, the visual and the sonic properties I have also collaborated with 3rd year Music student Christopher Barchard (508294) and we have produced this collaborative video. Who would have thought that a textiles/music collaboration could be so successful!


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Posted by author: Beverley Williams

14 thoughts on “Student exhibition: Beverley Williams

  • Well done on fabulous work Bev. I particularly liked when the wind caused your work to roll over onto itself, contrasting the silver base with the coloured top and when the piece was being held up over the wing, where it became very fluid – just like a piece of fabric.

    • Thank you Sharon. As the Spitfire is located on the top of the cliff, it is usually quite breezy. I had never managed to film the work rolling in the wind before though.

  • Well done Bev. It all sounds really good. Good to see all this in print. Hope you get the visitors you deserve to your exhibition.

  • You discovered/created a new quality of aluminium: drapery, lightness( though it might be heavy in real! it seems light), fluid, colourful yet not glittering probably because it’s recycled. It shimmers when it sways like a water surface reflecting sunlight. The sound it makes when swinging corresponds to the music, irregularly and naturally. Should be skilled in connecting the metal pieces in such a way as to allow movement while joining them firmly enough to be thrown on the ground. It reminded me of El Anatsui, whom you may have referred to.

    • Hi Juni, the aluminium is surprisingly lightweight and this helps with the movement, especially in the wind.
      I was influenced by El Anatsui, and Cornelia Parker also featured in my research. The recycling element is also important to me.

    • Thank you Rebecca, I am very proud of my project. The Battle of Britain Memorial have been incredibly supportive of my work and it’s poignant to hold my degree exhibition there.

  • A beautiful piece of work Bev & a real homage to your father-in-law especially in its surroundings where you are showing it & it “fits” perfectly. Congratulations

  • This is a stunning piece of work Bev, you must be so delighted with the result. It’s a remarkable journey you have undertaken and your final body of work is a credit to your focused study and development. Well done! I love the shimmer – beautiful!!

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