Working across sculpture and drawing, Anna is currently exploring Cornish materiality and man-made geology through experimental ceramics. She is interested in deep time, ‘thingness’, the Anthropocene, intertidal zones, ‘vibrant matter’, and how humans understand themselves in relation to the nonhuman world.
“Many structures in our society are invested in not allowing people to see their full potential,” she says. “The more people who feel confident to make real the amazing things that they conjure up in their heads, the better.”
What degree or MA did you do, where and when did you complete? Tell us a bit about your story so far…
I graduated this year from Fine Art BA(Hons) at Falmouth University after completing an Art and Design Foundation at Oxford Brookes in 2019. I did actually start a degree in Natural Sciences before that but (thankfully!) decided to change paths and pursue art instead!
Tell us about your art practice
My work revolves around gathering materials from the landscape, particularly from intertidal zones – liminal spaces where materials seem to exist between the human and nonhuman. At the moment I am making experimental ceramics from these, creating strange, tangled fusions that play with our expectations of geology. I also often explore similar ideas of landscape, deep time, geology, material agency and liminal spaces through drawing and writing.
Tell us about the studio where you work
I have been lucky enough to move into a studio that was set up recently by a previous group of Cultivator Graduates. The Quarry House Collective – a group of four artists who graduated from Falmouth Fine Art in 2020 – established their own studio in an outbuilding at a quarry in Mabe Burnthouse. They offered me a space in the studio just before I graduated so I was able to move straight in after university and it’s been such a wonderful place to work.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working primarily on a series of experimental ceramics. I started exploring ceramics part-way through my third year at Falmouth, and it worked so well within my practice that it feels only right to continue where my degree show left off. As I’m quite new to the field I have enlisted the expertise of local experimental ceramicist Rosanna Martin (with the help of the Cultivator Skills Development Grant) to further my technical abilities, material experimentation and critical engagement with the craft.
What help have you had through Cultivator so far?
The Graduate Start-Up Programme has offered me such a variety of support. There are regular workshops covering all manner of skills such as poetry, networking, marketing, self-confidence, and finance, to name just a few. I also have a Creative Business Advisor with whom I meet approximately once a month, and again these sessions can range from a quick check-in to developing a funding proposal – whatever it is I need at the time! As well as this practical support, the financial support that Cultivator offers is also absolutely invaluable; as well as funding the ceramics tuition with Rosanna Martin, Cultivator is also currently paying for my studio rent for six months.
What would you say about the Cultivator support so far?
In many ways Cultivator really picked up where university left off, offering a new group of like-minded peers, one to one meetings and regular teaching. Losing this kind of support network is often one of the hardest parts of leaving university, so I’ve found being part of the Graduate Start-Up Programme has been invaluable in the transition between university and ‘real life’. The business skills support has been particularly useful as this was something I was relatively inexperienced with coming into the programme, and now feels like the perfect time to start getting to grips with it.
What drives you?
I would say my primary driving force is curiosity. Art offers up a rare space in which to follow interests wherever they lead you, regardless of which discipline they would usually otherwise be assigned to. I love being able to draw on knowledge from fields such as astronomy, cartography, taxonomy and geology, finding unexpected through-threads and exploring what happens when they’re pulled together.
What is next?
At the moment my main focus is on a couple of exhibitions I have coming up in 2023. There’s the Cultivator Graduate showcase that will be taking place in March and I’ve also been asked to be part of a show opening at Newlyn Art Gallery in February, so that’s also a big focus.