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Veterans' Sculpture Workshops, Llanelli

Watercolor Brush 8

Weekly collaborative sculpture workshop beginning on Tuesday the 31st of October at 10:30am – 12:30

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Unit 4, The Palms

96 Queen Victoria Road

Llanelli

SA15 2TH

With funding from the Veterans Foundation, our Sculpture Workshop aims to bring creativity and community to Veterans, giving an opportunity to learn new skills and make new connections in a community setting as we create a collaborative sculpture led by artist and veteran Joe Wilson. Our project aims to promote and develop self-confidence and self-esteem and also provides a space to chat and relax with peers whilst learning and developing new creative practices in a safe and supportive environment.

At the end of the 8 weeks, participants will have produced a sculpture with support from Joe, and throughout will have the space and time to relax and bond over mutual experiences.

As mentioned, this project will be led by Joe Wilson. Joe is a former Royal Marine and has attended our veterans’ creative workshops and retreats for the last four years.

During this time, he has also completed a first-class BA (hons) degree in ceramics at Carmarthen School of Art. Joe is now a sculptor and leads creative workshops for Radiate Arts. Through his time spent on retreats and developing his own creative practice Joe is well-equipped to lead the group in this project. Regarding his creative practice and how this has helped him with his personal well-being, Joe had this to say:

“I’m delivering a sculpture course which has been co-designed and led by the veterans who are taking part. Having fun, making things that are good quality is important because this is about people showing what they make to their friends and family and being proud of it. I'm going to be using all my skills that I’ve built up over the years so we can produce something that everybody will find quite interesting and rewarding.” “The mindfulness benefits of art are wrapped in the bringing of people together, in a project which takes your attention enough to stop you thinking too much, but also has enough in it to occupy yourself.”

As a ceramicist, Joe enjoys pushing his materials in exciting ways. We spoke to Joe about his sculpture ‘Pigasus On Boarback’ and his feelings around the work.

There is this emphasis of humour in the work. This megalith, this big pile of clay is topped with a piglet. It has prosthetic arms and the whole thing is being controlled by this piglet. For me as a builder and as a ceramicist, the most impressive thing is the size; to have this six-foot figure sat astride a wild boar on such a megalithic scale and all the narratives I was able to include within it. There is also the story created by the gaps and crevices and the different colour strengths that come directly from the clay itself as well. With this work I really pushed it as far as I could possibly go and I’m very proud of myself, both from an engineering viewpoint but also as it works as a sculpture and the concepts behind it. This piece is made up of three sculptures that form the whole work, there is another one which is of a two-faced jester who holds a stick and a gun behind his back, which symbolises the hidden feelings behind the smiles someone may put on.

The jester’s intentions are left unclear, but he oversees the boar and there’s this tension behind his motives left unresolved. The jester also wears his mother’s slippers and a very baggy sock, which adds a level of humour but at the same time it talks about how we never know where someone is coming from in life, and I think there’s a sweetness to that. What it is that turns someone into what they are. The boar in the work is female, you can see its breasts underneath, and she is standing on a wolf’s skull which is this metaphor for the prey overcoming the predator. It speaks about the power and strength of the female. There are so many other inclusions in the sculpture that have all their own connotations, such as wings which a lot of people can read into. So, there are many ways to interpret the work and all the details that went into it.

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