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Collaborative practice

As a practitioner myself, I have become really interested in the idea of creative collaborative practice and it is something that I have been researching more and more over the past few months. Whilst I was studying myself I would have probably recoiled if anyone suggested I work with someone else as I felt a certain level of protectiveness over my ideas and used to struggle with the idea of the idea of battling out ideas with one of my peers! However, over the (fourteen!) years that have passed I have opened my eyes to the concept and actually found myself craving to have a project where skills and visions can be shared. I have now got two exciting collaborative projects lined up to complete within the next eighteen months and I really do think it will enrich my practice a great deal. I thought it would be an idea to write a few blog posts over this time to document any interesting findings, research and personal, and to maybe spark that internal discussion with students. This post will focus one collaborative group that I became of last year and find fascinating. 

LOT collaboration is made up of two jewellers, Sarah Pulvertaft and Jed green, and textile artist Beatrice Mayfield and they have recently completed their second body of work (Lot2) of collaborative art jewellery pieces where they work using the concept of ‘The Exquisite Corpse’; they each take it in turns to start a piece, and after ten days they pass it along to be added to with no discussion until the end. I really love this way of working and I’m sure you’ll agree that their pieces are stunning, with a rich diversity in texture and surface. I was very lucky to recently be involved in a Zoom discussion with the three artists (please see below for details for future artist discussions with the same organiser!) and one very interesting thing that they discussed was the level of trust required to collaborate and that they all have utmost respect and trust for each other’s practice. I also liked that it was the first person to start each piece who introduced the colour; I am starting to build up a picture of what small details will enable a collaborative project to run smoothly but also allow for creative limitations to keep the piece on track. Within our own individual work limitations are always useful as they can often allow for deeper questioning and development (such as how much can I do with one material, or one technique?) and I think it also applies to working within a group or partnership situation, perhaps even more so due to there being even more ideas and approaches to practice flowing!

It was also interesting to hear how Mayfield, being a textiles designer, felt that she occasionally struggled as she felt Green and Pulvertaft had their own shared language of metalwork and preferred to not go last. I think this honestly was really refreshing to hear and echoes what we as tutors say to our students; being honest with how you feel things are going in your work, and trying to understand why is actually a great asset to have when analysing and developing work. 

Photo Credits Rue Pigalle(Lot 2) and Retro Virus (Lot 2 2)

 (N.B: Do check out https://www.ruepigalle.ca/blog for details of future artist discussions!) 

Further information on the exhibition at Collect with Lot1; https://www.londoncraftweek.com/events/lot-1-collaboration-between-jed-green-sarah-pulvertaft-and-beatrice-mayfield-retrouvius#sthash.nP7sHPoD.dpbs

Lot2: https://www.ruepigalle.ca/blog-posts/artist-collective-7kmyn

More images at https://www.instagram.com/lotcollaboration/

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Posted by author: Faye Hall

2 thoughts on “Collaborative practice

  • This is a really interesting and insightful post into the process of collaborations across different disciplines. Its an area I have always been interested in and having participated in several successful collaborative projects as a student I expected there to be opportunities to work in this way in the future but sadly this has not been the case. I have often contemplated trying to initiate a cross cultural collaboration with other artists but opportunity has not yet presented itself. During your research did you find out how Pulvertaft, Green, and Mayfield formed their collaboration – did they know each other before the collaboration or not?

    • Hello Priscilla! Yes, I too am seeking out more collaborative projects; they are good for our practice at any point aren’t they? Yes, the trio knew each other before- they have been friends for 20 years and have that deep level of trust and respect from the get go.

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